Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Canines for Service Continues to Serve Our Veterans

With the mission complete in Iraq, our brave troops are returning home after serving and sacrificing so much.  Now more than ever, our service members need us. Many will continue in their military careers and many will embark on a career in the civilian world.  Many will be dealing with varying degrees of physical impairment, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. 

Serving our Veterans is a priority to Canines for Service in the Canines for Veterans (CFV) program.  Providing a quality trained and Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant service dog to assist those with physical impairment, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the foundation of the CFV program.  By the ADA, a service dog must do work or perform tasks to benefit an individual with a disability; three key words, tasks, individual and disability.  A service dog is trained to serve one individual with specific skills to help that individual mitigate their disability.  From stabilizing a person when they are walking to retrieval of items, each service dog has been trained considering the needs and variations of the disabilities trained for.  

A service dog is not a companion animal (pet)therapy animal, social or emotional support animal; these are entirely different, do not meet the intent of the ADA and have no legal rights.  Another words a companion, therapy, social or emotional animal does not by law have access to public places such as restaurants, banks, grocery stores, shopping malls, airports/airplanes[1], etc.  Those that perpetrate their pet as a service dog are in violation of the law.

There is a lot of  information about people or groups providing “service” dogs for our Veterans.  The caution to our service members is if you are truly getting a service dog that you need or are you being provided a pet disguised as something it is not. 

Veterans and family members need to do their homework.  Ask questions. 
  • ·         How is the service dog trained? 
  • ·         How long is the training for the service dog?
  • ·         What is the method of the training?
  • ·         Are the dogs trained positively or with negative methods? 
  • ·         How many hours of training does each dog have? 
  • ·         Has the service dog had routine veterinary care and is it spayed or neutered?
  • ·         Are the veterinary records provided?
  • ·         What skills does the dog do?
  • ·         Is there a fee for the service dog?
  • ·         How is the training provided to the person receiving the dog? 
  • ·         Is the person required to train the dog themselves?  
  • ·         Is there follow-up by the service dog provider? 
  • ·         What happens if there is an issue after the dog is received?   

Canines for Veterans stands ready to serve our Veterans as we have done since this program started in January 2008.   A Veteran receiving a service dog from our program can be assured they are receiving a dog trained in skills to mitigate their disability.  They will have individualized training with their service dog and have ongoing follow-up consultation and/or training.  The service dog CFV provides is ADA compliant and meets all intent of the law.  Our staff is available to answer questions before application, during the application process and after the receipt of the service dog.  

Are you a Veteran or do you know a Veteran who could benefit from a service dog? Contact us today to learn how CFV can help a Veteran regain their independence in 2012.

What are you waiting for? 

[1] Aircraft carriers act

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