Our Mission: To help those who have served our country honorably live with dignity and independence.
America’s VetDogs® is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit
organization that serves the needs of disabled veterans from all eras who have
honorably served our country. VetDogs provides guide dogs for individuals who
are blind or have low vision; hearing dogs for those who have lost their
hearing later in life; service dogs for those with other physical disabilities;
facility dogs as part of the rehabilitation process in military and VA
hospitals, and PTSD service dogs to help mitigate the effects of PTSD in an
effort to provide the emotional and physical support needed.
In 2003, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind (VetDogs parent organization) recognized the need for an assistance dog program for veterans that would incorporate guide dogs, service dogs, and innovative training techniques. America’s VetDogs was created and incorporated to give veterans easy access to the best services possible to improve their lives.
In 2015, VetDogs expanded its programs to include first responders, including fire, police and emergency medical personnel.
All of our services are provided at no cost to veterans and first responders. Our funding comes from the generous contributions of individuals, corporations, foundations, businesses, and service and fraternal clubs.
For a person with a serious limb injury, amputation, or traumatic brain injury, a service dog can provide stability support climbing up and down stairs or getting in and out of a chair, and can be trained to retrieve specific items, e.g., medication, a wallet, or a phone. Dogs can also be trained to alert for seizure response and assist with vision and hearing needs as well as many other tasks.
We have built cooperative relationships with the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and today, we are a premier organization providing assistance dogs and training to disabled veterans and active service members. We set the standard by which the military and the VA measure assistance dog schools. We continually strive to increase the options and services for veterans to ensure that they receive all the tools they need to once again be self-reliant.
America’s VetDogs has placed physical and occupational therapy dogs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (now Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethseda). Through retrieval, bracing, and innovative tug-of-war exercises, these dogs work with soldiers as they adapt and work with their new prosthetic limbs and therapy dogs make the rounds with wounded soldiers, offering emotional support and comfort.
We have been honored with the Secretary of the Army Public Service Award, the second-highest level award given to civilians “for exceptional service that makes a substantial contribution to the accomplishment of the Army’s missions.”
America’s VetDogs is our way of honoring the sacrifice made by our men and women in uniform, and our dedication to America’s service members is stronger today than ever before. We will do our part to see that a guide or service dog will help a person live independently again.
In 2013, America's VetDogs (an affiliate of and managed by the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind) became the second assistance dog school (the Guide Dog Foundation was the first) in the United States to be certified by the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.
Accreditation reinforces the reputation in the assistance dog movement by showing that we consistently follow the highest standards for the humane and ethical treatment of our dogs, maintain educational benchmarks for trainers and apprentices, and that we have procedures in place for our consumers during the application and acceptance process, including a way for consumers to address any grievances.