Frequently Asked Questions
A service dog is any guide dog, signal dog, or other dog individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. A person has a disability, according to federal or state law, if the person has a condition which interferes with a major life activity.
Service animals do not require licensing or certification to qualify as service animals. Some state or local governments may require licensing or registration; however, the lack thereof does not strip the disabled person of protections afforded service dogs under the law.
Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability has difficulty performing for themselves. Guide dogs are just one type of service animal, used by individuals who are visually impaired. Many people are familiar with these dogs, but there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities as well. In fact, service dogs can assist the disabled with almost any disability; everything from phobias to diabetes, from seizures to mobility and communication.
What help will a service dog be in a veteran's life? What can a veteran expect from their service dog? A service dog can be an amazing, life- altering companion. They are typically loyal, helpful, insightful, intuitive and affectionate. A Service Dog will help the veteran live more independently. The bond between a person and their service dog is one of mutual respect and trust. A dog is a social animal and will become a member of their family. This special connection of respect, love, and trust is what makes the partnership work.
- How do I know if I qualify or can have a Service Dog?
To qualify for a service dog (and to have ones rights protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act in legal issues), you must first have a qualifying disability. A disability is defined, as per state and federal disability law, as a condition which significantly interferes with a major life activity. For Project purposes, you will need paperwork from a competent Medical Authority stating you would benefit from a trained Service Dog.
- If I am a Veteran, does that mean your organization will help me?
If you are a combat wounded, disabled, or injured veteran, who can benefit from the use of a service dog, then we would love to talk to you. We specialize in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and stability issues resulting from combat after September 10th, 2001. Even if you are combat injured from another conflict, such as Viet Nam, Panama, Haiti, or the previous wars in Iraq, we may be able to help.
- Does your organization only help Active Duty Marines in Wounded Warrior units?
No. We help ANY ACTIVE DUTY, RESERVIST, RETIRED, OR VETERAN SERVICE MEMBER, REGARDLESS OF RANK, UNIT OR BRANCH OF SERVICE, who is combat wounded, disabled, or injured and would benefit from a service dog.
There are no costs to the Veteran for the Service Dog Training and Certification. We do this to help the Veteran, as we too are Combat wounded, disabled, or injured veterans who have had service dogs positively affect our lives. We are currently raising money to be able to assist with any cost a Veteran might have when outfitting for and emergency veterinary care of a service dog.
The Veteran is responsible for the costs of veterinary care, feeding, housing, and properly equipping the service animal. Some these specifics costs can include food, the cost of spaying or neutering, dog vests (shabs), collars and leashes. As the Project's financial condition improves, the Project hopes to be able to financially assist those Veterans who may not be able to cover the costs on their own.
- If other organizations have long wait periods and can charge the veterans upwards of $30,000 in some cases for a Service Dog and training, how does this group do it for free?
Our organization is currently staffed by volunteers who are able to do this as a full-time job. We are veterans ourselves and know how important this is to be able to change a Veteran's life in a positive way, at no cost to the veteran for the training. We are beginning the process of raising money to cover our expenses and, in the future, to enable the Project to assist with any cost a Veteran might have while participating in the Project.
- I have a family pet already, can he/she be trained as a Service Dog for me?
Your family pet can be tested for compatibility as a Service Dog and if it passes the screening tests, and if the dog can provide the services required, then yes. Please remember that all dogs do not have the spark, drive, or temperament to be a service dog. They may make amazing pets, but not all dogs can pass the Certification requirements that the Project requires.
- I do not have a dog, and really want a certain breed type as my Service Dog, can you help me?
Yes, we can. We can discuss what dog breed would be best for you and then do our best to find the compatible dog that suits your needs. We work with over a dozen dog rescue organizations from across the country and can find a dog that would work with your goals pertaining to your specific service dog requirements.
- How long does the training take to get Certified?
That depends on the veteran and the service dog in-training. It can take 6 months or much less, depending on the abilities of each veteran, the dog, and time dedicated to training. Slower training and fewer classes attended can mean longer times to get through the phases of training.
- What type of training does your organization do?
We tailor each training plan to the Veteran and their dog and what the final goals of the Service Dog team are. Our basic training matrix works in a four part process, ranging from Basic Obedience classes in Phase 1 to personalized Individual Needs Training (Specialized Service Dog Training) in the final segment of training.
- What type of breeds does your organization use?
We have no breed restrictions in our organization. We have dogs ranging from purebred Labradors, German Shepherd Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Golden Retrievers to mixed breed mutts (some of our favorites) in our training classes. The breeding doesn't make the dog, the dog's drive to serve and be a great working partner is what makes them be able to succeed as a Service Dog.
- How can I help or donate?
PLEASE CONTACT US ON OUR CONTACT PAGE AND WE CAN SET IT UP!