Companions for Heroes offer two types of dogs, depending on the needs and qualification of each hero.
Companion Dogs – 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 to provide comfort or emotional support. They help the hero coping with psychological trauma because they require the hero to focus on the dog’s needs. 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.
Service Dogs – 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. A Service Dog can also be trained to guide heroes who are blind, alert heroes who are deaf, pull a wheelchair, alert and protect a hero who is having a seizure, remind a hero with mental illness to take prescribed medications and many other tasks.
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 one to six 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.