Companions for Heroes offers two types of dogs, depending on the needs and qualification of each Hero.
Complete a 1 – 2 month program, to earn the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Certification, which also includes the commands of sit and stay, bathroom outside, etc.
A Companion Dog’s primary function is providing companionship. A dog that does not work, providing only companionship as a pet, rather than usefulness by doing specific tasks. Being walked, fed, groomed and played with redirects the Hero’s focus from their troubles to that of the dog, helping the Hero regain a sense of purpose. This leads to the Hero in becoming active in his or her community.
Companion Dogs MUST be between the ages of 6 months to 5 years.
Public Access training combined with specialized task training.
A Service Dog’s primary function is to do work or perform a task or tasks for the Hero with severe disabilities and are granted public access to do so. A Service Dog can be particularly helpful to Heroes affected by physical wounds, PTSD and anxiety because the dog can be calming, especially in public situations.
Our Service Dogs are trained only for PTSD, TBI, MST, and limited mobility. We DO NOT specifically train dogs for Vision or Hearing Impairment, Diabetic and Seizure Alert, Emotional Support, and Therapy.
A Service Dog will be trained for Public Access and is required to be in training for a minimum of six to nine months. The training requirements for a Service Dog consists of a passed AKC CGC Test and a passed Public Access Test.
- The Service Dog MUST be between the ages of 1 year to 3 years.
- The Service Dog must weigh a minimum of 50 pounds and/or shoulder height must reach the handler’s knees depending on the height of the handler.
- Must pass two restaurant visits (sit down meals), two grocery store visits (15-minute minimum) and be able to walk next to a cart.
- Must be able to navigate elevator/escalator/stairs.
- Must be able to work during noise distractions (cars beeping, movies, etc.).
- Must be able to ignore food on floor or dropped in dog’s vicinity while working outside the home.
- No urinating or defecating in public unless given a specific command or signal.
- Must be able to enter a vehicle, wait until released before coming out of a vehicle, and remain under control during the ride.
- Must be able to stand appropriately for both examinations and dressage of appropriate training working tools (e.g. vest, harness, collar).
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was amended in 2011 to include “anxiety” as a list of covered services. Dogs that provide comfort to Heroes in public situations that produce anxiety and fear due to their experiences in service to our country.
Public Access for this type of Service Dog requires training with a skilled handler who can ensure the dog meets all ADA Standards. As such, with each Hero, our team will work hard to find a capable trainer with experience in this area.
The trainer will work with the Hero, one-on-one, to ensure the dog is certified to meet the ADA Standards of having public access.
This process can take anywhere from six to nine months depending on the frequency, breed and learning capabilities of both the dog and the handler. Companions for Heroes covers this cost so there is no burden to the Hero.
Currently, our budget supports Public Access Service Dogs on a case-by-case basis. For more information, please refer to our application and wait to hear from our team.