National Service Dogs’ Skilled Companion Dog for Veterans Program was launched in 2011. The dogs are used to assist veterans suffering from long-term post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Although NSD is the first accredited service dog training school in Canada to launch a program of this kind, the model is widely used in the US, and there are many reports that Skilled Companion Dogs speed recovery from PTSD and help reduce reliance on medication. As the pioneer of the Certified Service Dog for Autism Program, NSD has once again shown innovation with launching this program.
- Promote Integration and Activity: Having the responsibility of another being that is a consistent caring companion helps build ties to the future. The dogs are active and force the veteran to get out and exercise. The care of the dog also brings routine back into their life.
- Suppress Hyper Vigilance: Hyper vigilance creates constant tension and paranoia. Veterans often require more personal space than the average individual. The dogs are trained to create a physical barrier that keeps the public at a comfortable distance.
- Provide Reality Affirmation and Redirection: The dogs are trained to recognize the veteran’s anxious behaviour and physically redirect them to more positive activities i.e. petting the dog. In addition, for those experiencing nightmares or flashbacks, the dogs can provide vitally important reality affirmation with their persistent nudges and calm disposition. Often the fact that the dog is not reacting allows the veteran to feel safe in their environment.
NSD receives no government funding and relies entirely on donations from the general public, corporate sponsors, fundraising events, and community supporters.
Clients are not obligated to fundraise, and fundraising efforts are in no way tied to when and if they receive their Skilled Companion Dog; however, many of them assist by asking for donations from friends and family or hosting their own fundraiser. NSD also has many third party fund raisers that host events in support of our working dog teams.
The actual direct cost of the Skilled Companion Dog to the client is an application fee of $25 and an equipment fee upon receiving the dog. All food and veterinary costs are born by the recipient once the dog has been placed with the veteran.
The timing of a Skilled Companion Dog placement is determined by chronological position on the waiting list and the availability of the right dog for the veteran’s needs and situation, and is in no way tied to fundraising efforts.
Please contact Tamara at email@example.com or 519-623-4188, ext. 18 to discuss receiving an application.
Sponsor a Skilled Companion Dog Team
Title Sponsorship: $10,000