VETERANS WITH DOGS (VWD) trains assistance dogs for the purposes of recognised mental health difficulties only for those who have served in the British Armed Forces.
We are committed to treating every potential equally. In order to be considered for an assistance dog, and to determine whether the PALS programme is right for you, we need to get to know each other better.
VWD has several basic pre-requisites for individuals who may be considering applying. The following questions should be given great consideration, and are designed to help you decide whether or not to apply:
- Do you have the means and resources to manage and care for a dog? This includes feeding, grooming, exercising the dog and regular visits to a veterinarian.
- Are those who live with you willing to support your relationship with an assistance dog and comply with the guidelines produced by VWD?
- Once receiving a dog, are you willing to fully engage with regular training provided by VWD?
- Bringing an assistance dog into your life is a major lifestyle change and commitment. Do you believe you are ready for this change and commitment?
How to Apply
In this section you’ll find the information you need to help decide whether to apply to VWD.
Please read the eligibility criteria, exclusions and application process before requesting a Register of Interest. We also recommend you check out the FAQ's for more answers to common questions.
In 2015, VWD revised its application process and requires that all applicants attend a PALS Meet & Greet Day prior to submitting a Full Application.
In order for VWD to accept a Register Of Interest, a Veteran must meet all of the following basic criteria:
- The applicant must be currently serving, or has previously served, in one of the British Armed Forces.
- The applicant must be aged 18 or over.
- The applicant must have a mental health diagnosis.
- The applicant must have a current or previous active therapy or treatment plan.
- The applicant must be fully committed, including attendance of residential training and ongoing regular training.
- The application must be completed by the Veteran.
There are circumstances where an application would be declined based on any of the following:
- Children in the applicant's home under the age of 5 years old.
- Another person in the home with a mental health condition or learning difficulties.
- Hospitalisation of the applicant within the last 6 months due to a mental health condition.
- The applicant's home environment not being suitable for keeping a dog.
- An existing dog/dogs in the household who are not part of the programme.
Summary of Application Process
The following summarises the processes that are used to select candidates to participate in our programme:
- Submitting a Register of Interest, which is then reviewed to determine if the basic applicant criteria is met.
- Applicants are invited to attend a PALS Meet & Greet* Day to learn more about the programme.
- Applicants are then provided with a Full Application to complete, and return with relevant supporting documentation.
- A home visit will be scheduled to assess the suitability of the prospective home environment for a dog.
- Candidates for placements or training are then determined by review.
*Attendance of PALS Meet & Greet is a pre-requisite to a full application being accepted.
If you meet the criteria then you should initially request a 'Register of Interest' form to complete and return. We will contact you to confirm receiving this and talk with you prior to arranging to attend a Meet & Greet day.
We look forward to hearing from you and we can be contacted directly if you have any further questions.