American Humane’s Pups4Patriots™ program finds dogs in search of forever homes and trains them to be lifesaving service dogs for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress or Traumatic Brain Injury. All dogs are trained according to American Humane’s new service dog standards – an approach developed by a Scientific Advisory Committee of scientists, veteran experts, mental health professionals, animal welfare specialists, veterinarians, dog trainers and other key advocates. These standards are designed to maximize the efficacy of the service dog as a treatment method for veterans with PTS and TBI. American Humane offers exceptionally trained service dogs to veterans in need, at no cost to the veteran, and oversees intensive hands-on training sessions to cultivate the important connection between the veteran and his or her new service dog. Creating a welcoming environment conducive to this bonding process is crucial to the success of our program.
For many brave members of our nation’s armed forces, coming home as a civilian is only the beginning of another daunting battle. The invisible wounds of war, including PTS and TBI, can cause debilitating symptoms in veterans, leading to depression, social isolation and, far too often, suicide.
Research shows that specially trained PTS service dogs can reduce stress and anxiety levels, mitigate depression, ease social reintegration, provide comfort and restore confidence in affected veterans. However, there are many obstacles standing in the way of veterans in need of service dogs: waiting lists are long and the process is expensive, with intensive compulsory training costing upwards of $30,000 per service dog.
American Humane is committed to harnessing the healing power of the human-animal bond to put more healing leashes into the hands of more veterans in need. Through Pups4Patriots, we find dogs in search of forever homes and train them to be lifesaving service dogs. In addition, we award grants to veterans requiring financial assistance to obtain and care for a service dog, and provide them with insight and institutional support as they navigate the daunting application process for service dogs.
Our program is made possible through the generous support of donors.
National Standards for PTS Service Dogs
The absence of any nationally accepted standards for the training of PTS service dogs further adds to the obstacles veterans face in obtaining the qualified, lifesaving animals they so desperately need.
In addition, some PTS veterans report being denied access to commercial venues, such as restaurants and airline flights, due to confusion about the permissible use of PTS service dogs. American Humane is leading an ambitious effort not only to create the first national training standards for these animals, but to define and develop best practices and protocols for training and use of PTS service dogs, which will protect the rights of veterans and their canine counterparts.