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Military Initiative

Pups4Patriots: Service Dogs for Veterans and First Responders Application

For our first responders and veterans, the work after the line of duty is often only the beginning of another daunting battle.

American Humane’s Pups4Patriots™ program finds dogs in search of forever homes and trains them to be lifesaving service dogs for veterans and first responders with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). All dogs are trained according to American Humane’s service dog guidelines – an approach informed by a Scientific Advisory Committee of scientists, veteran experts, mental health professionals, animal welfare specialists, veterinarians, dog trainers and other key advocates. These guidelines help maximize the efficacy of the service dog as a treatment method for veterans and first responders with PTS and TBI. American Humane offers exceptionally trained service dogs to veterans and first responders in need, at no cost to them, and oversees intensive hands-on training sessions to cultivate the important connection between the two. Creating a welcoming environment conducive to this bonding process is crucial to the success of our program.

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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. Additionally, more than 80 percent of first responders experience traumatic events on the job and because they face challenging and dangerous situations, first responders are at a high risk of developing PTS as a work-related injury or condition.

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 and first responders. However, there are many obstacles standing in the way of our heroes 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 and first responders in need. Through

Pups4Patriots, we find dogs in search of forever homes and train them to be lifesaving service dogs.

Our program is made possible through the generous support of donors.

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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.

News & Updates

A Heartfelt Thank You to Coleman Natural Foods

American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, is honoring those who have served in the U.S. military and encourages all Americans to give thanks for the nation’s troops on this Veterans Day. To date, American Humane Pups4PatriotsTM has provided 207 life-saving service dogs to U.S. veterans in need of support through its Pups4Patriots Program supported by Coleman Natural Foods. For…
November 7, 2023

Together for the Holidays

Thanksgiving has arrived, a special day in which all Americans gather to give thanks. And this holiday season, many veterans will be thankful to have a new lifesaving service dog by their side. In the past year, American Humane helped provide another dozen U.S. veterans struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress or Traumatic Brain Injury with free, highly trained service dogs through…
Savannah Young / November 17, 2022