sERVICE doGS FOR VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES
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 for a Service Dog
If you are a veteran 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 are dedicated to maintaining the dog’s training throughout the life of the team and can provide for the well-being of the dog, approximately $100 per month.
- You live in the USA or Canada and have stable living arrangements.
- You are able to meet the physical and emotional needs of a dog, and have an appropriate support system in place to do so if/when you are unable to yourself.
- 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.
- Also eligible are professionals working with Military organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with an Assistance Dog.
Eligibility for a Guide Dog
If you are a veteran 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 or totally blind.
- We require that each student have the ability to independently travel using their current mobility device.
- Applicants must also be physically able to work with a guide dog and also be able to care for their dog.
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