Honoring America’s Warriors, exclusive in Oklahoma, provides assistance dogs, training, equipment, and veterinary care to qualifying service-connected disabled veterans at no cost. The program is funded through grants by the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and donations. Veterans must complete the online application, include a DD214 or equivalent and a memo from their physical or mental health doctor. The memo must state a need for a service dog. Once the application is received, a formal interview is set up. The formal and home interview is utilized to discuss training and learn more about the veteran’s needs and home life.
A service dog is specifically trained to perform work or tasks for individuals with a disability. A dog could perform hundreds of tasks such as picking up objects, opening doors, alerting them for medical conditions, mobility assistance, waking individuals up from nightmares, and many more. Protecting someone, giving emotional support, or being a companion do not qualify a dog as a service animal. We tailor the training for the exact requirements or needs requested by the veteran.
Studies have shown that dogs provide positive health benefits, increase fitness, lower stress, and improve happiness. Service dogs encompass all of these abilities, combined with training to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities.
The program begins with eight-week-old puppies, typically Labrador Retrievers, who are partnered with a puppy foster and trainer for up to eight weeks of training. The puppy is taught simple commands such as bathroom breaks, leash control, entering and exiting doorways.
The puppy is then partnered with an eligible veteran, and the service dog team begins bonding and training. Trainers use “train the trainer” concept to enable a greater bond with the veteran and service dog. Teams train at our facility several days a week for the first few months and then gradually move to once a week as determined by trainers. While training will last the life of the dog, the formal training aspects can last up to two years, depending on some tasks.
The program and teamwork work best when starting with an eight-week-old puppy; however, some exceptions may be considered. Don’t hesitate to contact us before you purchase or if you have questions about training your dog to be a service dog. The optimum concept is for applicants to own their homes and have a fenced yard. However, exceptions can be discussed.
Service dogs fall under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
All training sessions are accomplished at Honoring America’s Warriors HQ located at 4149 Highline Blvd STE 280 OKC, Oklahoma 73108. Training will be Monday through Friday from 1030 to 1200 or by appointment. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us utilizing the Contact Us link at the top of the page.