its very first in-person service dog class at their campus in Smithtown, New York. Since then, the services of America’s VetDogs has expanded to provide these life changing dogs to veterans, active-duty service members and first responders with disabilities at no cost to them.
America’s VetDogs service dogs are taught specialized tasks and skills such as: rest, retrieve dropped items, positional cues to extend their handler’s personal space when in a crowded setting, counterbalance, nightmare interruption, press buttons to summon help and to open doors, seizure response, hearing dog tasks, walk alongside a wheelchair or power scooter and more. Each task and skill are a part of carefully structured programs of America’s VetDogs that includes service dogs, guide dogs, PTSD service dogs, seizure response dogs, military facility dogs, hearing dogs and service dogs for military sexual trauma. A hallmark of America's VetDogs various programs is its meticulous matching process to ensure that each student is matched with the dog that best suits a person’s mobility, personality, lifestyle, physical and emotional needs.
While some of these life-changing dogs are raised by the organization’s civilian puppy raisers, most are raised through the ‘Prison Puppy Program.’ Started in 2015, the program was created as a way for incarcerated individuals to help veterans during their time in a correctional facility. Today, 14 facilities up and down the east coast participate in the program. Select facilities prioritize involvement for incarcerated individuals who are veterans – giving them a unique opportunity to give back to a fellow veteran.
In 2016, America’s VetDogs quickly became a household name when an adorable black Labrador puppy came running out behind a curtain announcing a partnership with NBC’s TODAY Show for their first future service dog in training and our first ‘Puppy with a Purpose®’. This exclusive program acts as a fundraising, awareness and training campaign for the organization, drawing a national spotlight to its work. TODAY’s partnership became a catalyst that sparked new partnerships with professional sports teams and media outlets including: various NBC news stations across the country, New York Islanders (NHL), Washington Capitals (NHL), Atlanta United (MLS), Houston Texans (NFL), New York Mets (MLB), Nashville Soccer Club (MLS), and more.
In 2018, the America's VetDogs brand went global after announcing the placement of service dog Sully with former President George H.W. Bush. Although Sully H.W. Bush’s time with the President was short, the impact this placement had on the organization was insurmountable. While the brand reached new levels of awareness through these opportunities, the demand for our services increased, resulting in a record-breaking amount of placed service dogs with deserving veterans and first responders with disabilities, free of charge.
From 2003-2022, nearly 950 dogs have been placed with veterans, first responders, and active-duty service members with disabilities, free of charge. Nearly 950 individuals have been given their freedom back to once again live a life without boundaries. It is thanks to generous donors, partners, graduates, volunteers, and employees both current and former, that the last 20 years of accomplishments has been made possible.
Take a more detailed historical look at America’s VetDogs history , check out our newsletter, The VetDogs Sentinel .