One of the things that sets Hero Dogs apart is the comprehensive education we provide to the Veterans receiving a Hero Dog. We do not simply hand over the dog and a list of commands and wish them luck. We teach the Veterans everything they need to know to achieve a successful service dog partnership. We travel with the Veterans and their Hero Dogs to stores, restaurants, church, school, their homes, their place of employment, on the metro, to doctor’s appointments… everywhere they go in their daily lives. We teach them:
- how to feed, exercise, groom, play with, and care for their Hero Dogs,
- how to maintain their dogs’ health, how to recognize illness, respond to emergencies, and administer first aid,
- principles of training and behavior, their dogs’ vocabulary, how to maintain the dogs’ current skills and train new ones, and how to change unwanted behavior,
- how to read dog body language and how to communicate back to their dogs successfully,
- their rights and responsibilities as a service dog partner under the law and skills for coping with accessibility issues, and
- how to integrate a service dog into their lives, so that the entire family may experience new independence.
This training is intense and very tiring to a Veteran with physical or mental health challenges. Initially, we will train with the Veteran daily, 4-6 hours per day, for a minimum period of three weeks. Add to that an hour commute each way in Washington/Baltimore beltway traffic…
We need a solution to give the Veterans the ability to stay at Hero Dogs during their initial training, so that they can rest when they become tired, so that they do not have to drive exhausted, and so that they can spend 24 hours each day (instead of 4) in that early period bonding with their new canine partners. We have designed a fully accessible two-bedroom duplex Park Model RV which will be installed on-site at Hero Dogs.
The return on your investment in Hero Dogs buys Veterans “down time” — the ability to rest during the day, spend the night, shower, and eat breakfast or lunch in their “own space” and with their new Hero Dogs at their sides to assist them. Please help us win the $50,000 prize.
If you have already donated, THANK YOU. If you have not yet donated, please take the time right now to visit the Honoring Those Who Serve page and make your donation. No gift is too small.
We also need all of you to ask others to join you in your support of Hero Dogs. Please share this on Facebook, email it to your family, friends, and colleagues, tweet about it. Please tell everyone how they too can honor our nation’s Veterans – by restoring freedom and independence to a Veteran Hero through the gift of a Hero Dog.