Partners in Independence
Valor Service Dogs is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization that helps post-9/11 wounded veterans regain their independence, return to civilian life, and maintain successful partnerships through the training and placing of mobility assistance and PTSD service dogs. In addition to aiding their veterans in community reintegration, both physically and psychologically, Valor Service Dogs brings awareness and education to the general public on service dogs, their training, and the laws that allow service dogs to be active members of society.
What makes us different?
The Director of Training was one of only four government-contracted service dog training instructors in the nation while working at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. This experience brings best in class training and a unique understanding of military hospitals, physical therapy and the recovery process to Valor Service Dogs. Additionally, she is married to a combat wounded veteran with complete and permanent physical disabilities, which allows her to truly relate with and understand the real life challenges facing these wounded veterans and their families.
Meeting the Unmet Needs
There is a growing demand for service dogs and the spectrum of injuries is vast. Service dog organizations need to be adapting and growing with the many types of injuries that service members are coming home with. The Tampa VA Polytrauma Center is serving veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Valor Service Dogs will be able to provide support for the many veterans being treated at this center. Currently, there are no organizations in the Tampa area that offer service dogs that facilitate the transition from military to civilian and home life for wounded vets through both physical and physiological support.
In terms of psychological support, these service dogs also act as family support animals to help reintegrate the veteran into home life. These dogs become a conversation topic that the veteran can not only be proud and comfortable to discuss, but also a positive contribution that the veteran "brings home". Finally, there is a great need to bring awareness and education to the general public on service dogs and their tasks, requirements, and laws. These are still not understood by the general public and many businesses, and can often create stressful situations for both the dog and the veteran.