The America’s VetDogs Mission
To help those who have served our country honorably live with dignity and independence.
- America’s VetDogs® is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that serves the needs of disabled veterans from all eras who have honorably served our country. VetDogs provide guide dogs for individuals who are blind or have low vision; hearing dogs for those who have lost their hearing later in life; service dogs for those with other physical disabilities; facility dogs as part of the rehabilitation process in military and VA hospitals, and PTSD service dogs to help mitigate the effects of PTSD in an effort to provide the emotional and physical support needed.
- In 2015, VetDogs expanded its programs to include first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel.
- America’s VetDogs® began in 2003 as a project of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind to consolidate and increase our outreach to veterans of all eras. In 2006, it became a separate 501(c)(3) corporation.
- In 2013, America's VetDogs became the second assistance dog school in the United States to be certified by the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International, the two international regulatory bodies that certify guide and service dog schools on a voluntary basis. (The Guide Dog Foundation was the first.)
- It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog; however, there is never a charge to the veteran. All of our funding comes from the generous contributions of individuals, corporations, foundations, businesses, and service and fraternal clubs.
- Approximately 80 percent of the funds America’s VetDogs raises go toward program services. We receive no regular government funding and rely on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, businesses, and service and fraternal clubs.
- For a veteran with a serious limb injury, amputation, or traumatic brain injury, a service dog can provide stability support climbing up and down stairs or getting in and out of a chair, and can be trained to fetch and retrieve specific items, e.g., medication, a wallet, or a phone. For veterans with seizure disorder, dogs can be trained to alert for seizure response.
- VetDogs trained and provided to the U.S. Army the first-ever military therapy dogs to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan; eight dogs in total served as combat operational stress control dogs. The dogs served as icebreakers and communications links between troops and care providers, and through physical interactions such as playing fetch or simple petting, provided emotional comfort for service members as they dealt with combat and home front issues.
- America’s VetDogs has placed physical and occupational therapy dogs military medical centers to work with service members recovering from amputations or other injuries. Through retrieval, bracing, and innovative tug-of-war exercises, these dogs work with service members as they adapt and work with their new prosthetic limbs. Specialized facility dogs have been placed at several VA medical centers throughout the country. Therapy dogs make the rounds with wounded service members, offering emotional support and comfort.
- As of December 2016, VetDogs had placed more than 400 assistance dogs with disabled veterans, including guide and service dogs, combat stress control dogs, and specialized therapy dogs.
- America’s VetDogs has been recognized by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance as an accredited charity that meet’s their “Standards for Charity Accountability.”
How to help
All of our services are provided at no cost to veterans, the military, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. America's VetDogs® relies on voluntary contributions from individual donors, corporations, foundations, and service organizations to fund its efforts. With your help, we continue to answer the call for our nation's heroes.
Here's what you can do:
- Spread the word to veterans about our services.
- Make a financial contribution and/or encourage your employer, club or congregation to contribute or raise funds.
- Sponsor a class or a veteran/dog team.
- Honor a beloved pet or service animal as a “Noble Animal Friend.”
- Invite a VetDogs speaker to your next meeting or event.
- Include America's VetDogs® in your bequest, legacies and planned gifts.
- Make a donation in memory or honor of your fallen comrades, friends, or loved ones.
Visit us at www.VetDogs.org.