Company 2 Heroes is a unique service dog training program specializing in guide/assisted self-training of service dogs for veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and other physical injuries. Company 2 Heroes – Veteran Service Dog Training Program will provide:
- Cost-free weekly training at various levels to certify dog to meet the federal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Gear and equipment required for service dog training and presentation
- Recertification every year
- Program will conduct follow ups over the life cycle of the K9 Team to ensure program is in compliance with various grant and state requirements
QUALIFICATIONS: To be considered for training for a Service Dog in the program you must meet the following criteria:
- S. Veteran who served in any branch of the uniformed services in any era and have been released from all service and reserve obligations; and
- All participating Veterans must provide proof of military service by presenting a copy of their DD-214 with “honorable” discharge as proof of military service or letter from your command showing you are within 90 days of pending discharge and in process of transitioning out; and
NOTE: We wish to leave no veteran behind and believe this program is designed to help our most vulnerable veterans. For those veterans who were improperly separated by the military under an “other-than-honorable” discharge (OTH or bad paper) due to undiagnosed or untreated PTS, TBI or other mental health issue as result of their service, we will review your application on a case-by-case basis. In these cases the veteran must have sought, initiated, or received either emergency, inpatient, residential or outpatient care at the VA or a Vet Center.
- All veterans either “honorable or “other than honorable” in the program must have a VA acknowledged disability for PTS, TBI or MST that is either diagnosed, rated and/or being treated. In all cases, ALL VETERANS must submit a completed form from their current Provider/Physician that endorses this program/service dog as beneficial to their treatment; and
NOTE: Veteran must have no other underlying diagnosis that would jeopardize their safety, the safety of the dog, staff or the public.
- Must live in a permanent residence (out of hospital or off base) and be able to provide a stable, safe environment for our dog which includes love, exercise, medical care and food; and
- Must be willing to attend weekly training classes with your dog and be willing to become more independent as you work with your highly-trained service dog.
- Must be willing to stay in contact with routine check-ins. We may email you periodically, as certain grant programs may require this kind of feedback.
If you are bringing a dog in for assessment you will have to meet the following criteria:
- Dog is no older than 5 years of age (some exceptions made due to breed longevity)
- Dog has no evidence of aggressive behavior towards people or other animals
- Dog is current on Rabies and all required vaccines
- Dog has no major medical disorders or issues
- Dog is a spayed female or neutered male
- Dog can pass a behavior and extensive temperament testing and evaluation
PLEASE NOTE: Owning a service dog and enrolling in this training program is a substantial commitment, you should expect to:
- Attend weekly training and follow-up with a trainer via phone or email – weekly with questions or concerns.
- Attend re-certification session every year.
- Provide for your dog’s health needs, including monthly heartworm preventive, flea/tick preventive, annual veterinary examination and necessary vaccinations, grooming and emergency veterinary care.
- Provide a copy of your dog’s updated medical records to Company 2 Heroes at your yearly re-certification.
If you meet the above criteria and your Provider/Physician feels a service dog may assist you in your recovery, please download the APPLICATION here, complete it and return it to Company 2 Heroes, Veteran Service Dog Training Program at Info@Company2Heroes.org or online at www.Company2Heroes.org/application
WHAT TO EXPECT Application Process:
- Please read the Application Information carefully; sign and remit the signature page (below).
- Please complete and submit the application, with required forms (DD-214, Provider/ Physician Health Reference Form and Veterinarian Reference Form)
- Please note that your completed application does not guarantee your enrollment in the program. Assessment of your dog and or a suitable rescue/donation dog will be required. In addition, careful consideration is made of both your ability to benefit from, and care for, a specially trained serviced dog. Once completed we will review your application and contact you for further evaluation of your needs/requirements and to assess your dog or if applicable find an appropriate dog for you to train.
- Please have your health care provider (psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor or therapist) complete the Provider/Physician Health Reference Form. We may need to contact your health care provider to obtain his or her professional medical opinion of how you would benefit from having a service dog. This discussion is completely confidential. Your health care provider may require that you sign a waiver in order for s/he to speak with us. Please be sure to speak with your provider about this at the time you request your reference. The Provider/Physician Health Reference Form is a required form to finalize your application process, but does not need to be included immediately with the application questionnaire if you need more time to get it completed.
- If you are planning on enrolling your personal dog, please have your Veterinarian complete the Veterinarian Reference Form included at the end of the application. This is a required form to finalize your application process, but does not need to be included immediately with the application questionnaire if you need more time to get it completed.
- We will notify you when your application is received and we will begin reviewing it. We get back to everyone who has submitted an application within two weeks. At that time we will coordinate a time to meet with you and your dog (if applicable), to conduct an interview with you, so that we can clarify any information on your application that we may need and answer any questions you may have.
- You can expect there to be a waiting period between the time we inform you that your application has been approved and your training class start date, perhaps longer if you require a dog.
Training and having a service dog is a life-changing experience and can be empowering. But it comes with myriad of responsibilities and challenges. It involves ongoing hard work and commitment, and can involve considerable frustration. Before you apply for our program, we ask you to reflect carefully on the ways a dog will impact your life as you consider the following considerations:
Home Environment/Community – A service dog will not only enter your life, but also the lives of your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Think about those you come in contact with on a daily basis. Are they “dog people”? Will they help the process of adapting to, and living with, a service dog?
Also look at what kind of space do you live in? How and where will you provide? What public places do you visit frequently? Do you ride public transportation?
Privacy – How public are you about your disability? While some disabilities are apparent, others are not visible to the general public. The presence of a service dog will signal immediately that you have a disability. Some strangers will ask you about it, and others will look or stare. How will you react? Americans, by and large, love dogs. This is a great thing, and will mean that you and your service dog will be welcomed by many — but on the downside, you can count on being stopped in the street, in the office, in the lobby of apartment buildings — everywhere — with comments and questions about you and your dog. A service dog can help you in these environments, and you have a legal right to have a service animal with you at all times, but you can expect to be challenged about that right from time to time. Consider seriously how you would respond to this kind of attention.
Be Realistic – What, specifically, do you imagine a service dog doing for you? How can the dog really help in terms of the way your disability affects your life? Think carefully about realistic goals.
Exercising Your Dog Every Day – You will need to make sure you provide at least one hour of off-leash outdoor exercise for your dog each day, regardless of inclement weather. How physically active are you? Do you have access to a dog park, field, beach or another area where you can allow the dog to play? What are your thoughts about having to go outside on days you feel tired or depressed? We feel strongly that service dogs must have time to run and play off-leash and that you must be serious about the emotional and physical health of your dog.
We will contact you to let you know the dates of the next available training class. If the dates we establish do not work for you, we will be happy to work with you or give you priority for the next training class. You must demonstrate a desire to fit the weekly Friday training schedule into your life. We understand there may be long-standing work, medical or family commitments around which you must schedule your training, but it is imperative you make every effort to attend or make up all training. If you and your dog are to become a certified service dog team, your skills must be maintained. Once you and your dog are home, you must continue to work every day, devoting time to fine tune and build your working relationship.
Once you graduate from Advanced Level Training and are certified as a service dog team, you must agree to annual recertification of your dog thereafter. You will not be given a service dog vest or official identification card until you and your K9 partner can pass the initial certification exam together. We also desire to keep in touch and maintain ongoing feedback from you as to how you are doing and get suggestions on training that we should include in future courses.
Privacy of Information
Company 2 Heroes respects the privacy of its applicants and recipients and all information is kept confidential, although aggregate information may be submitted to appropriate state/federal agencies.
Company 2 Heroes conducts its business and acceptance process in a manner that will not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, the presence of mental or physical disability, sexual preference, life expectancy, or whether the individual is a disabled veteran or veteran of any era. It is our policy to treat everyone who comes in contact with the organization with respect and dignity at all times.
Any Veteran/Volunteer who has a grievance concerning Company 2 Heroes practices has the right to file a complaint according to procedures outlined in this policy. Grievances may include, but are not limited to, a perception of violation of rights; quality of service; discrimination based on category of race, age, disability, etc. or other matter. Complainants are treated respectfully at all times, regardless of the nature of their complaint. They will not be discriminated against, harassed, intimidated, or suffer any reprisal as a result of filing a complaint or participating in an investigation of a complaint. Affected parties should attempt to resolve the problem informally as soon as possible. If a solution cannot be reached, the person may present a formal complaint, in writing, to the Executive Director. Formal complaints and responses to them will be documented and kept on file. All complaints are handled in a timely manner. As a goal, we try to resolve a complaint within 5 working days from the time of its initiation. If an extension of the time limit becomes necessary, all involved parties will be notified.
At no time will Company 2 Heroes require Veterans to participate in fundraising or marketing activities. Your participation in fundraising activities is completely voluntary.