Veteran with Service Dog

NSD’s Service Dog for PTSD Program was launched in 2011. The dogs are used to assist individuals 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 Service 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 individual 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. Individuals 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 individual’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 individual to feel safe in their environment.
Service Dogs are valued at $30,000 over their eight to ten year working life; however, each dog is provided free of charge to approved clients.

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 Service 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 Service Dog to the client is an application fee of $50 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 individual.

Currently, an individual may wait up to 12 months from time of approval to receive a Service Dog.

The timing of a Service Dog placement is determined by chronological position on the waiting list and the availability of the right dog for the individual’s needs and situation, and is in no way tied to fundraising efforts.

To help ensure the success of each team, we have designed an intensive application process to assist with the placement and matching of our dogs. Each applicant is screened to ensure they meet our application criteria. Upon confirmation of this, an application is sent to the applicant to be completed and submitted along with multiple reference letters from individuals involved in the applicant’s life. If successful, an in-home interview is conducted with a NSD dog to meet the applicant, learn more about their lifestyle, and discuss further questions and concerns. Final acceptance is determined following the in-home interview; applicants may be disqualified at any time during the application process.
National Service Dogs is currently accepting application requests from individuals aged 21 and over, with a diagnosis of PTSD, within a two hour radius of our Cambridge training centre; some restrictions may apply.

Please contact Tamara at tamara@nsd.on.ca or 519-623-4188, ext. 18 to discuss receiving an application.

Please contact Tamara at tamara@nsd.on.ca or 519-623-4188, ext. 18 for more information.

Sponsor a Service Dog Team
Title Sponsorship: $30,000
Contact: laura@nsd.on.ca