Veterans and NEADS Service Dogs Engaged in Life Changing Partnerships
NEADS Service Dog Programs pairs accepted veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who have physical disabilities or hearing loss with its highly trained Service Dogs. The NEADS Trauma Assistance Dog program (TAD) has been designed for veterans with service-related post -traumatic stress. The application process for each program is outlined below. All of the NEADS programs for veterans are provided free of charge, thanks to the support of private donors and federal and state grants. We do ask each veteran for a copy of his/her DD214. When a veteran has completed training, the veteran and NEADS Service dog are an ADI certified Service Dog team.
Service Dog Program for Veterans with Physical Disabilities
This program is open to veterans from any service or time period. The injury or disabling condition does not need to be service connected. Veterans can apply through our on-line application at www.neads.org. An application can also be mailed to a veteran. Submitted applications are reviewed and each veteran will be contacted by the NEADS Program Development Administrator regarding the status of the application. For veterans who meet initial program criteria, individual interviews are scheduled on our NEADS campus. The veteran will have the opportunity to learn about the program, be personally evaluated, and work with a demonstration Service dog. For veterans accepted into the program, he/she can anticipate that the waiting period for a Service dog is between 6 – 12 months. Once matched with a NEADS Service dog, veterans will attend a 2 week, campus based training program at NEADS in Princeton, MA. They will stay at the new and fully accessible Kathy Foreman Client House and all of their meals will be provided by the Blue Star Mothers. (Please note, NEADS dogs are not trained to assist with balance issues; provide seizure or low-blood sugar alerts; or assist with psychiatric diagnoses.)
Hearing Dog Program for Veterans with Hearing Loss
The Hearing dog program is open to veterans from any service or time period and the hearing loss does not need to be service connected. The application and interviewing process is the same as the one outlined above. The training period for this program is 8 days long. Veterans will also stay on campus at the Kathy Foreman Client House and all meals are provided by the Blue Star Mothers.
Trauma Assistance Dog Program (Currently not accepting new applicants)
Currently, this program is open to all veterans with service-related PTSD. We ask interested veterans to directly contact the NEADS Veteran Services Specialist, Tyler Vincent. Veterans that meet the initial criteria will be invited to attend one of our open houses. When NEADS is ready to organize for a new class, we will contact the veteran and begin the application process. Eligibility requirements include but are not limited to: service related PTSD; no other major psychiatric diagnoses; 1 year of sobriety and/or substance abuse free; in individual therapy at least twice a month for six months or longer; living independently; and not actively suicidal or contending with active anger management issues. The veteran must commit to attending a series of follow-up meetings for the first year after training. The training for this program is 2 weeks long and again, veterans will stay at the Kathy Foreman Client House and all meals are provided by the Blue Star Mothers.
Veteran Services Specialist