SERVICE DOGS FOR VETERANS, FIRST RESPONDERS AND ACTIVE-DUTY SERVICE MEMBERS WITH DISABILITIES 

Serving veterans, first responders, and active-duty service members faster!

We are now able to place a service dog with approved applicants in 12-months or less wait time. 

Making the decision to work with a Service Dog is a transformational event that extends into every area of a handler's life.  Because of this momentous change, it’s crucial that each of our students is teamed with a dog that best suits that person’s capability, lifestyle, mobility, personality and psychological needs.  As each applicant is accepted to our program, we carefully match them with a dog that’s right for them, and the power of their bond makes ordinary moments extraordinary. 


Eligibility: How to Determine if You Qualify for a Service Dog 

If you are a veteran, active duty servicemember, or first responder who is interested in applying for a service dog, please review the following information to determine if you meet our eligibility requirements.

  • You have served in any of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces from any era, and have received an honorable discharge or you are an active duty military member who plans to remain state-side and is able to provide command approval. 
  • You are a first responder who has a work related disability. 
  • You are visually or hearing impaired or physically disabled.  
  • You can participate in our two-week training program and will be committed to our training program and schedule.  
  • You live in the USA or Canada and have stable living arrangements. 
  • Applicants must be dedicated to meet all the physical, emotional, and training needs of the service dog, including:
    - Daily feeding, grooming, play, exercise, and relieving (bathroom) breaks.  Food, toys, and grooming supplies cost $600-$700 per year.
    - Annual veterinary examinations and vet care as needed for unexpected health issues.  It is best to plan an average of $600 per year for veterinary costs, although this will vary from year to year.
    - Identifying a local support network that can provide care for the dog in the event that you are unable to
  • Our PTSD service dog program is limited to veterans with combat-related PTSD and first-responders with work-related PTSD. 
  • America’s VetDogs has begun to trial a pilot program, accepting veterans with MST, which has a limited enrollment. 
  • Applicant’s with a PTSD diagnosis or MST are required to be in current ongoing therapy and have been under the consistent care of a Mental Health Professional for a minimum of 6 months, prior to applying. 
  • We require applicant’s with a history of substance abuse to be completely sober and abstinent from substance use for a minimum of 1 year to be eligible for our programs. 

 

Eligibility for a Guide Dog

If you are a veteran, active duty servicemember, or first responder who is interested in applying for a guide dog, please review the following information to determine if you meet our eligibility requirements.

  • We accept residents of the United States who are classified as legally blind by an ophthamologist.
  • We require that each student have the ability to independently travel using their current mobility device.  
  • Applicants must be dedicated to meet all the physical, emotional, and training needs of the guide dog, including:
    1) Daily feeding, grooming, play, exercise, and relieving (bathroom) breaks.  Food, toys, and grooming supplies cost $600-$700 per year.
    2) Annual veterinary examinations and vet care as needed for unexpected health issues.  It is best to plan an average of $600 per year for veterinary costs, although this will vary from year to year.
    3)   Identifying a local support network that can provide care for the dog in the event that you are unable to.

If an applicant has successfully completed O & M training within the past several years, we will request an O & M instructor's report.  Some exceptions to residency are considered on a case-by-case basis. 


How much does a service dog cost?

All services are provided at no cost to clients — this includes your dog, transportation to and from our campus in Smithtown, New York, instruction, and more.

If you have any questions about our programs, please reach out to the America's VetDogs Consumer Service office at 866-282-8047 or ConsumerServices@VetDogs.org.

Service Dog

A service dog is specially trained to help veterans or first-responders who have disabilities other than visual impairment and perform tasks that mitigate disabilities the handler experiences, performing these tasks while in public, the workplace or at home. Learn more about the Service Dog program, including admissions information

Service Dog for PTSD

A service dog for post traumatic stress disorder is trained to help diminish the symptoms of PTSD by providing tasks that help mitigate the handler’s disability.  A service dog for PTSD can be trained to perform nightmare interruption, extension of personal space, shaking hands to integrate with the public, calming with the ‘rest’ command, & get help which alerts a family member or loved one.  Learn more about the Service Dog for PTSD program, including admissions information, click here .
 
Our service dog for PTSD program is limited to veterans with combat-related PTSD and first-responders with work-related PTSD.  

Seizure Response Dog

Seizure response dogs are trained to perform special tasks following a seizure to assist its handler. These tasks may include getting help, or retrieving medication.  Learn more about the Seizure Response Dog program, including admissions information.


Guide Dog 

A guide dog is trained to find and follow a clear path, maneuver around obstacles, and stop at curbs. A veteran with a guide dog gains enhanced mobility and independence.  Learn more about the Guide Dog program, including admissions information.

  Facility Dog

 America's VetDogs has trained and placed Military Facility Dogs to provide animal assisted intervention to wounded soldiers and active duty personnel during their journey to     recovery  at military installations, military and VA medical centers, and VA nursing homes.  Learn more about the Military Facility Dog program.  
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Service Dog for MST

This program is a pilot program accepting a limited number of veterans with recognized Military Sexual Trauma. A service dog for MST is trained to help diminish the symptoms of MST by providing tasks that help mitigate the handler’s disability.  A service dog for MST can be trained to perform nightmare interruption, extension of personal space, shaking hands to integrate with the public, calming with the ‘rest’ command, & get help which alerts a family member or loved one. 
Learn more about the Service Dog for MST program, including admissions information.
America’s VetDogs and its related organization, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, were the first two assistance dog schools in the United States accredited by both Assistance Dogs International and the International Guide Dog Federation.