Today’s warriors return from the front lines with complex challenges; many grapple with physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD. In these cases, a well-trained service dog is invaluable, increasing veterans’ independence and helping them adjust to civilian life. Hero Dogs raises, trains, and provides exceptional service dogs to DC-area veterans and first responders. This intensive process takes three years to complete: from raising the puppies (supported by 100+ volunteers) to providing intensive service training (conducted over 6-8 months by professional trainers) to placing and supporting the new veteran/service dog team...all provided without charge. Each dog is trained to meet its owner’s needs – whether learning to open doors, helping with balance, or seeking assistance in emergencies. Hero Dogs also trains facility dogs for placement in hospitals, clinics, and schools. An investment here means independence, confidence … and companionship.
With its kennel volunteer program halted to reduce the number of people in the facility, Hero Dogs hired additional staff to care for dogs. There are fewer puppies to raise and train and the most recent litter was not exposed to the same level of socialization as would normally be the case. Therapy dog work, community outreach events, and major fundraising events have been cancelled. For the first time, Hero Dogs staff trainers have pre-recorded training lessons and conducted virtual check-ins with puppy raisers to monitor progress.