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.