Service Dog Information
Thank you for your interest in PTSD Service Dogs.
As the nation’s largest funder of Animal Assisted Therapy for PTSD we recognize the positive benefits that many have found in having a PTSD service dog. That said, we do not train or administer the dogs ourselves and have no ability to provide dogs directly.
We do, however, respectfully offer the following background, advice and guidance as you carefully consider, in consultation with your mental health team, whether or not a service dog may be the right choice for you.
1. Work with your Mental Health Team: Your Psychiatrist, Psychologist and mental health team are the best advisors as to whether a service dog may be appropriate and helpful in your specific case.
2.Manage Expectations: If your mental health team should determine that a service dog may be appropriate you need to know that, given the current demand for service dogs, there is not enough national capacity for the provision of high quality service dogs. A service dog represents an 8-10 year commitment, not only from the user, but from the agency providing the dog and client services.
3. Are you able to provide long-term care of your service dog? Service dog handlers are responsible for the normal costs related to day-to-day care of their dogs, including, but not limited to, food, veterinary care, grooming and equipment. These costs range between $1500 – $2000 per year.
4. Do your research: At the present time Wounded Warriors Canada has chosen to fund and partner with the following service dog providers:
a. National Service Dogs: (Ontario, Alberta, BC)
b. Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs: (Vancouver Island)
c. Paws Fur Thought: (NS based, National Program)
Any dogs provided under Wounded Warriors Canada funding are trained and provided to the veteran at no cost, however the veteran will be required to provide for the normal costs as noted above.
You may have heard of the current service dog study being conducted by Veterans Affairs Canada. VAC has completed the recruitment phase for this study. Wounded Warriors Canada is proud take 1/3 of all the dogs in the study are funded by Wounded Warriors Canada
You may not be aware that at present there is no Canadian National Standard for PTSD service dogs in the country. Only two provinces, Alberta and British Columbia, have adopted a Provincial Standard opting to establish the guidelines of ADI (Assistance Dogs International http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org) as the Provincial Standard.
As a stakeholder with voting status on the Canadian General Standards Board, tasked with establishing national stands, Wounded Warriors Canada is hopeful that a National Standard will be established sometime in the near future. In the interim, we will work with the standards that are in place and encourage all service dog providers to work towards the highest possible standards in order to be assured that our Veterans received service dogs that are of benefit to them.
Philip C. Ralph, CD
National Program Director
Wounded Warriors Canada