Government and service dogs

Richard AtchesonRichard Atcheson Northern USAPosts: 3,570Member
edited 21 December, 2010 in Service & Therapy Dogs
Shadow, I found this interesting: ''He's a Service Dog provided by the Dept of Veteran Affairs... '' Did they actually provide Shadow? That is great if they did. I know some of the veterans groups help fund service dogs for injured soldiers, but I hadn't heard of the government doing anything. I didn't want to hijack Brycones's thread, but I was curious about that statement. It seems the government funds all sorts of other accommodations and nobody questions their use.


  • Ellen McCarthyEllen McCarthy Locust GrovePosts: 1,008Member ✭✭
    edited 6 December, 2010
    When I started out looking for a Service Dog and being a Service Connected Disabled Vet I had to find help. The Dept of Veterans Affairs actually doesn't supply Service Dogs. If the Veteran gets approval thru the VA Red Tape then they have to go thru Assistance Dog International to secure a dog at their "own" expense. This law just went into effect last year. Dept of Veterans Affairs Guide and Service Dogs Guide Dogs What are guide dogs? Guide dogs are trained to lead the blind or vision impaired. The dog acts as a pilot to direct its owner in a straight line unless directed to turn, while avoiding obstacles in all directions. How do I get a guide dog? Blind Veterans are assessed and trained for orientation and mobility. If a guide dog is preferred, information on how to contact guide dog schools is provided. Partnership with the guide dog is provided through non-VA affiliated guide dog schools. What benefits does VA provide? Blind Veterans with working dogs are provided veterinary care and equipment through VA Prosthetics and Sensory Aids. VA does not pay for boarding, grooming, food, or any other routine expense associated with owning a dog. Service Dogs What are service dogs? A service dog is trained to help those with disabilities other than visual or hearing impairment. Service dogs typically perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a physical or hearing disability. How do I get a service dog? Each Veteran's case is reviewed and evaluated by a prescribing clinician for the following: Ability and means, including family or caregiver, to care for the dog currently and in the future Goals that are to accomplished through the use of the dog Goals that are to be accomplished through other assistive technology or therapy The Veteran will be informed of an approval or disapproval of their service dog request. Veterans approved for service dogs are referred to Assistance Dogs International-accredited agencies. There is no charge for the dog or the associated training. What benefits does VA provide? Veterans with working service dogs are provided veterinary care and equipment through VA Prosthetics and Sensory Aids. VA does not pay for boarding, grooming, food, or any other routine expense associated with owning a dog. Related Resources Assistance Dogs International* (Service Dogs) International Guide Dog Federation* (Guide Dogs) National Association of Guide Dog Users* When I started out looking to train a Service Dog thru the VA it was rough. I did get approval by my docs. I was allowed to go thru Voc Rehab since I went totally disabled at 100% during my training program 16 yrs ago. So, they pd for Shadow's adoption fee, his 1st year medical expenses only, and his harness. I had to find an ADI OT program and that was up to me to look (this was in 2004). I found a local one and the VA approved of me attending. We attended for a year till we were given the boot due to his deformed jaw (not able to pick up items which was mandatory for this school). We already passed the ADI Public Access test by their trainers 2 months before we were booted out. So, I found another program to have him certified which was a VA requirement at that time. When the Foundation For Service Dog Support (FSDS) started up a few years ago we joined and became a Canine Ambassador and certified thru their program (one of the instructors was actually the one who gave me the PT test at the ADI program). FSDS is currently working toward becoming full members of the ADI (which should be within the next few years). Our local VA knows about it and are aware of the program is in the beginning stages of becoming ADI members and this will help our local Veterans in the future. The FSDS has a puppy raising program following the ADI requirements. I was suppose to receive a new pup this month, but the one mom didn't take and the other died just before giving birth. I was going to take this pup all the way thru graduation. I'm now on the list for the next class when I should have a poodle pup by June. The dogs that graduate from FSDS are teamed up with disabled vets, police officers, etc after extensive training. The class is limited for they can give the best training for these future Service Dogs. All of the dogs are donated by the Humane Society and the public. My future Standard Poodle is being donated by one of the top hunting poodle breeders in AZ. It was an honor for them to choose me for having one of their puppies. My medical team has started the paperwork and the VA is in the process of working w/ FSDS on his training. The paperwork should take about 6 months to get approved. Even if the VA doesn't approve I'm still allowed to have a Service Dog by my medical team. I'm just trying now to see how the new system works and to let other Vets know the "red" tape is long and difficulty. Shadow Walker
  • Richard AtchesonRichard Atcheson Northern USAPosts: 3,570Member
    edited 6 December, 2010
    Well I am glad the government is helping as much as they are. It does sound like in many cases, private charities still have to bear much of the expense. Most of the programs furnish all the equipment so the equipment thing isn't much help. The vet care could be. I think most vets will do an annual physical and boosters for less than $100. However, that is peanuts compared to the costs if there are any problems. A little nit picking. A dog guide isn't an alternative to orientation and mobility training, but facilitates its use. A dog can let you know when you come to a street corner. It can help you decide when it is safe to cross. However, you must know what street it is and whether you want to cross it, turn right, turn left, or turn around and go back 20 feet and in a doorway. Of course, if you go the same place every day, the dog quickly learns the route. Our friend has told us about her first dog wanting to follow last semester's route at the beginning of each new semester.
  • cynthia greenecynthia greene Posts: 204Member
    edited 21 December, 2010
    My service dog was paid for by the VA vocational rehabilitation program's independent living services program. It was the first time the office in Oakland had done it for a dog that was not a guide or strictly mobility dog. They were hesitant. From what I've heard, they get a set amount of money for the program, no matter how many Veterans come in. I ended up doing a therapeutic internship with the service dog program in addition to the VA paying a couple thousand dollars. I say their dollars were worth it. I haven't been hospitalized since taking her home.
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