# dogsformentalhealth

If you are thinking about whether an assistance dog could benefit you in managing your mental health difficulties there are important factors to consider before making an application.

It's essential to understand that having an assistance dog can be life-changing, but it requires careful consideration and significant lifestyle adjustments.

Firstly, it's important to recognise that an assistance dog is not a substitute for treatment or therapy. Our approach at Veterans With Dogs is a recovery-oriented model that complements other care providers' treatments.

While our dogs are capable of many things, they are not a magical solution to mental health problems. It's crucial to assess if your lifestyle and living arrangements are suitable for having a medium-sized dog. You must be prepared to take on the responsibilities of caring for and maintaining the health of the dog. Additionally, you must be willing to have the dog accompany you everywhere, not just as a pet but as a working partner. This will also signify that you have a disability.

It's important to acknowledge that the journey with an assistance dog requires hard work and a significant time commitment. However, you don't need to be a dog trainer already. We provide support and training throughout the programme and even after qualification. Your commitment lies in investing the necessary time and effort to practice the skills and exercises taught by us and your trainer. By doing so, you and your assistance dog can progress as a partnership. It's also worth noting that there are other Veterans on similar journeys - as well as those who have already qualified as partnerships - who will offer support and camaraderie.

Remember, the bond with an assistance dog must be strong and unwavering. While the process may present personal challenges, you won't face them alone. We are here to support you every step of the way, providing guidance, training, and a community of like-minded individuals.

If you are ready to make a commitment and embrace the responsibilities of having an assistance dog, we encourage you to explore the possibilities further and consider making an application.

VETERANS WITH DOGS has a comprehensive application process.

Before we begin, we first exchange basic information to determine eligibility and whether the PALS™ programme would be appropriate for you.

At each step of the application process, experienced VWD staff review an applicant’s need and suitability to determine whether or not the programme will benefit the applicant in an appropriate manner.

We recommend that potential applicants read the FAQ's and check their eligibility before completing a 'Register of Interest'

Who do we help?

We offer services to veterans of the UK Armed Forces, non-operational reservists and former members of the Merchant Navy. They will be domiciled in the UK and registered with a UK GP and have issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.
We provide assistance dogs, training and related services for Veterans from every service and conflict, focusing on those with complex mental health issues related to their military service.

Who are we not able to help?

Veterans who currently:
  • Have difficulties that severely affect their relationships with others
  • Are experiencing severe psychotic symptoms
  • Are at high risk, whether it be self-harm, feeling suicidal or at risk of causing harm to others
  • Are experiencing a mental or physical health crisis
We do not provide urgent or crisis services, hospital services or any assessment and treatment under the Mental Health Act.
If you are in a crisis and need urgent help, please contact your GP, Samaritans on 116 123, or dial 999.