Service Dogs for Veterans
Our Service Dogs for Veterans Programs match highly skilled Service Dogs with United States veterans from any conflict who:
- Have a permanent physical disability*;
- Are deaf or who have profound hearing loss*;
- Have MS or other progressive conditions*;
- Have diagnosed combat-related post-traumatic stress
*These disabilities do not need to be combat related.
What do NEADS Dogs do for veterans?
Service Dogs for Veterans with a Physical Disability
Service Dogs assist veterans with a physical disability by performing tasks to assist their partner. They accompany their partners wherever they go. Service Dogs can help with all kinds of tasks, including the following:
- Retrieve objects from tables, counters, floors
- Turn light switches on and off
- Push elevator/automatic door buttons
- Stand and brace for stability during a transfer
- Barking on command for help
- Get a cordless phone in an emergency
Hearing Dogs for Veterans with Hearing Loss
Hearing Dogs are specifically trained to help veterans who are deaf or have hearing loss. Hearing Dogs alert their partners to sounds around the home and in public, including the following:
- A knock at the door
- A smoke detector
- An alarm clock
- A cell phone ringing
- The sound of their partner's name being called
- Keys being dropped
Service Dogs for Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD)*
The Trauma Assistance Dog program (TAD) is designed for OIF/OEF/OND veterans with diagnosed combat-related post-traumatic stress. These dogs help with:
- Overcoming fear of public places
- Coping with anxiety triggers
- Reintegration into a civilian setting
- Developing feelings of being safe
- Overcoming sleep issues
- Coping with flashbacks
- Turning light switches on and off
- Providing boundary assistance in trigger situations
- Providing therapeutic support through tactical exercises
*Program requirements include regular travel to NEADS campus in Princeton, MA for the first year of the program.
Service Dogs are provided to qualifying veterans at no cost.
In May of 2006, NEADS was invited to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C. to give a presentation about the many skills and tasks that our dogs could offer to combat veterans. NEADS was the first Service Dog organization to be invited to Walter Reed for this purpose. In addition to hospital staff and administrators, many servicemen and women who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan (and were at Walter Reed being treated for injuries) were in attendance at the meeting. Our presentation drew a great deal of interest and enthusiasm.
NEADS immediately recognized that the growing population of wounded veterans required a program that was specially designed to meet their needs, and NEADS formed the Canines for Combat Veterans (CCV) program, which is today known as Service Dogs for Veterans (SDV).
The Service Dogs for Veterans program pairs highly trained NEADS dogs with qualified veterans of our armed services who could benefit from canine assistance.
Since 2006, NEADS has placed more than 100 dogs with veterans at no cost.
“[I] went from fighting on the battlefield, to laying in a bed and having people take care of [me], back to being independent and doing everything on [my] own…”
Chris Strickland, Age 22, Corporal, U.S. Army, regarding his Service Dog, Ruthie.