Veterans Initiative

Service Dogs for Veterans with PTSD

Are you ready for an assistance dog?

With the increase in military veterans returning with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), in 2018 Canine Companions launched a pilot program to directly place service dogs with veterans with PTSD.

Dogs are trained in tasks including anxiety and nightmare interruption, turning on lights, retrieving items, and supporting their handler in crowded public situations that might provoke anxiety for individuals with PTSD.

Applicants for the PTSD program must be United States Armed Forces veterans. Currently, this program is only offered in our Northwest and South Central regions, and for any applicants living within 200 miles of our training center in Medford, New York.

Meet Chelsey Darrow, National Veteran Programs Specialist

Boy sitting with dog at presentation

Chelsey Darrow was commissioned as an intelligence officer United States Army in 2009. She was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011-2012. After returning, she was began working with Canine Companions where she learned how to train assistance dogs for people with disabilities. When Canine Companions began placing dogs with veterans with PTSD, Chelsey was more than excited to take on the task. Chelsey spent four years training service dogs to help veterans cope with their PTSD. Chelsey now serves as the veteran programs specialist and supports Canine Companions’ Veteran Initiative on a national level.

Click here to send a secure message to Chelsey.

Canine Companions for Independence has provided many assistance dogs to US war veterans across the country.

With the increase in wounded veterans who could benefit from an assistance dog, we want to do more. For a veteran making a new start putting their life back together from an injury, an assistance dog can provide the help they need to regain independence.

Canine Companions recognizes the urgent and growing need for programs that provide support to veterans with disabilities. Many of the brave men and women returning home from combat with disabling injuries experience a litany of new challenges.

Often, they face difficult transitions back to civilian life as well as uncertain futures with new disabilities. Canine Companions assistance dogs can help veterans regain independence, pride and hope. Beyond much-needed physical assistance, the love, loyalty and positivity of a canine partner can make a profound, lasting impact on someone dealing with difficult emotions that are hard to communicate.

“Just having someone with me to help do things that are difficult for me really affects my life positively.” – Charlie with his service dog Devon

Gabe Martinez with his Canine Companions Service Dog WonkaCanine Companions was the first assistance dog organization to be accredited by Assistance Dogs International, and has provided assistance dogs to over 6,000 people with disabilities.

Watch Veterans Stories >>

Learn more about the types of assistance dogs Canine Companions places >>

Read our Assistance Dog FAQs >>

Questions? Please contact us at 1-800-572-BARK (2275) or via email.

The process to receive a Canine Companions assistance dog includes multiple steps. Click the button below to find out if an assistance dogs is right for you and start the process to receive more information.