Four Paws Two Hearts for Veterans
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects the access rights of a person with a Service Dog and does allow for a person in need to train their own dog if they meet the requirements outlined in the law. We will provide professional guidance, support, and funding to help make this possible for qualified veterans in need. We invite them to apply with a dog they already have or we will select a specially talented rescue dog for them through our partnership with the Kentucky Humane Society. Through this program, we will continue the mission of our company: Helping dogs in need help people in need.
Each veteran will attend a 60 minute private class and a 90 minute group class each week to work towards their Public Access Exam - the final exam for a working service dog team. We divide our participants into two classes - Phase 1 for basic manners and obedience, and Phase 2 for service dog tasks and public access work. Each veteran will be matched with one of our trainers as a training mentor and be given unlimited phone and email support in addition to class time as they work towards their goals.
By committing to training their own dog, participating veterans can get started right away without sitting on a waiting list for years. They will also be armed with the necessary knowledge to train their next dog when it is time to retire the one trained in this program. We find that teams who train together tend to become stronger and have a deeper appreciation and understanding of one another as they navigate the world together.
Professional dog trainers who believe in the importance of this program are collectively volunteering up to 40 hours a week of their time. We are building this as a pilot program that we plan to run for a minimum of 12 months to serve disabled veterans in the Louisville area. After our first year, we will call on our national network of service dog trainers to start new chapters of this program that would help serve veterans nationwide.
Funded by Louisville, KY (January 2016)