Veterans Deserve Outstanding Generosity and Service (VDOGS)
VDOGS is an integrative canine-companion service program that pairs veterans suffering from PTSD and other conditions correlated with a suicide attempt, suicidal ideation, and suicide. This program pairs veterans with canine service animals trained to serve in therapeutic capacities for the health and well-being of participants.
While it may be easy to spot one of our heroes and sheroes that is an amputee, is disfigured, or has other "visible wounds", it is virtually impossible to spot our brave warriors suffering from the emotional residue of deployment. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma, depression, and anxiety, are the "invisible wounds".
Each day in America nearly 202 veterans commit suicide because they have not received the care they need for mental and emotional wellness. PTSD, traumatic brain injury (T.B.I), night terrors, and depression are treatable and feelings of hopelessness leading to suicide are utterly preventable. There is a critical need for an effective solution beyond the limitations of prescription medication and psychiatric therapy. Pairing highly-trained dogs to identify symptoms of PTSD service, and/or emotional support with a disabled veteran is proven to alleviate the mental torment our heroes suffer and lead to a happier and healthier life.
To date, the foundation has paired 202 dogs with military veterans in need.
How Our VDOGS Process Works
Our program is available to Military Disabled Veterans and Gold Star Families only.
We provide veterans with a service dog and handler training free to US Military Veterans. The funding is secured from donations and grants.
The service dog placement process intake is done yearly by inviting the applicants to an Orientation that is typically done in February of each year. This process includes:
Some of the tasks our dogs are trained for:
Service Dog Categories
TDK9F has developed two categories of Service Dogs.
PTSD/TBI Service Dogs
These dogs are psychiatric service dogs.
Dog Tasks: The following are some tasks that a psychiatric service dog can perform: waking from night terrors, calming/redirecting the owner, providing a buffer area between owner and a crowd, turning on a light in a dark room, checking rooms or house for intruders before entry, providing comfort for the owner in public situations, balance assistance, medication reminder, and locating lost objects and vehicles.
Specialty Service Dogs
These dogs are trained to assist a person with varied disabilities such as PTSD and limited mobility or PTSD, and loss of balance. The team may take longer to train.
Dog Tasks: In addition to PTSD/TBI-related tasks, the service dog may be specially trained to help one or more of the following conditions:
Mobility—Mobility Dogs' most common behaviors are retrievals, which range from picking up dropped objects to searching for and bringing back named objects. They also provide assistance in rising, and turning lights on and off.
Veterans currently have a dog
If the veteran currently has his own dog, the Kennel Master begins by temperament testing the dog’s suitability for service. If the veteran does not have a suitable pet dog or his pet dog is tested as not suitable for service, then the TDK9F Kennel Master will help the client find a suitable dog from our inventory.
Once tested as suitable, the dog will be trained in basic commands at our facility. Once tested as suitable, the dog and his owner begin a one-on-one training plan that includes:
- Training techniques and use of equipment
- Advance obedience
- Advanced dog behaviors to interrupt or redirect the veteran’s response to PTSD triggers, help
- Refocus the veteran to real-time, reduce anxiety, etc.
- Daily care of the dog
- Social interaction with the dog in public – "pet or not to pet", etc.
- Consideration of others regarding the dog being in public – allergic or afraid of a dog
The goal is for the Client to be as self-sufficient as possible and for the Dog to be well mannered and proficient at essential behaviors by the end of the program. Certification takes place approximately 6-12 months after the client and his dog becomes a Top Dog K9 Team.
Apply For a Service Dog
If you are a veteran, we invite you to apply to receive a trained service dog under the VDOGS program.