Partnering veterans with shelter dogs in Safe Humane’s Court Case Dog™ Program, VALOR uses the human-animal bond to help veterans achieve emotional healing. Veterans gain a sense of efficacy as they socialize and train these animals who have survived abuse and neglect. Current research estimates that 22 veterans in the US commit suicide every day; 1 shelter animal is put down every 8 seconds. Lives could be saved by pairing veterans with devoted companion animals.
While other groups provide disabled veterans with service dogs, many veterans do not qualify, do not apply because of a stigma, are unable to obtain assistance with the cost (as high as $40,000), or simply do not need all the services of such highly trained dogs. VALOR uses training of rescued shelter dogs to enhance self-worth of veterans and provide companionship to members of that larger population who could greatly benefit from emotional healing.
VALOR will thoughtfully match 5 veterans with 5 rescued dogs from the Court Case Dog Program. The veterans and dogs will study in a customized 8-week training curriculum with input from a social work professional. Each veteran who graduates will have the opportunity to foster or adopt his/her dog. VALOR makes rehabilitation a two-way street, giving the rescued dogs socialization and skills to adapt to life outside the shelter,and providing the veterans who work with the dogs a sense of worth and well-being, dog training career skills, and camaraderie with other veterans.
VALOR will conduct four 8-week training sessions during a calendar year. The veterans will also have the opportunity to continue on to more advanced training classes and continue to volunteer with Safe Humane. The veterans will also be exposed to the job opportunities that exist in animal welfare.