Veterans Initiative

Veterans may often face difficult transitions back to civilian life and may feel uncertain about their futures with new disabilities. Canine Companions service dogs – provided to them free of charge – empower veterans to regain physical independence, pride and hope.

Our expertly trained service dogs can perform physical tasks to enhance independence, including retrieving dropped items, opening doors, picking up prosthetics and alerting a veteran with hearing loss to important sounds in their environment.

Beyond much-needed physical assistance, the love, loyalty and positivity of a canine partner can make a profound, lasting impact on veterans facing difficult emotions that are hard to communicate.

Canine Companions has provided hundreds of service dogs to U.S. war veterans across the country.

Canine Companions has provided hundreds of service dogs to U.S. war veterans across the country.

Service Dogs for Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

With the increase in military veterans returning with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Canine Companions launched a program in 2018 to directly place service dogs with veterans with PTSD.

Our service dogs are trained to identify each veteran’s unique stressors and perform tasks that directly disrupt escalation of symptoms, enhancing their quality of life. Tasks may be performed for anxiety, hypervigilance and generalized fear. The service dog supports their handler in crowded public situations by creating barriers and distance that might provoke anxiety for an individual with PTSD. Additional tasks, such as nightmare interruption, turning on lights and retrieving items, are taught to support each veteran’s daily life.

Canine Companions is the first service dog organization to be accredited by Assistance Dogs International, and has provided service dogs to over 8,000 people with disabilities.

Watch Veterans Stories >>

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

Read our Service Dog FAQs >>

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

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

“Just having someone with me to help do things that are difficult for me really affects my life positively.”

Veteran standing with his Canine Companions service dog


Canine Companions is proud to introduce our groundbreaking CanineAlert System, a patented wearable technology designed to provide essential support to veterans living with PTSD. Developed in-house, this device collaborates with specially trained service dogs to assist veterans living with PTSD.

Learn more about how this cutting-edge solution provides an additional layer of support beyond traditional training methods.

Dog Collar with the CanineAlertTM device
Portrait photo of James Dugan

Jim Dugan is the Canine Companions Veteran Programs Manager. His primary role is to assist you and be your greatest advocate. He served active duty as a U.S. Army K9 handler for eight years. Following military service, he worked in law enforcement and the service dog industry for the remainder of his career. If you have questions, challenges with the application process, or if you are considering if a service dog is right for you, he is here to help. Contact Jim by completing the Contact Us form, or calling him at (707) 297-3682.