Grantor Name: Uniformed Services University’s FY22 Wounded Warrior Service Dog Program (WWSDP)
Program Name: Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program
Grant Amount: $150,000
Recipient Name: Soldier’s Best Friend
Overview of Use of Funds: Good Works Grant Writing is elated to congratulate our client, Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF), for being awarded a $150,000 Wounded Warrior Service Dog Program (WWSPD) grant from the Uniformed Services University. WWSDP funding will support SBF’s 2022-23 Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program for 20 Arizona military veterans who are living with the disabilities of combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Participating veterans work with SBF’s professional trainers until their matched canine qualifies for service or therapeutic companion dog status – a process that takes a minimum of six months. By reducing PTS/TBI symptoms, SBF provides veterans a path to regain a sense of security, productivity, and self-sufficiency.
Overview of Grant Objective/Impact: Serving as a parallel support plan to each veteran’s medical treatment, Soldier’s Best Friend’s Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program aims to lessen veteran participants’ symptoms of PTS/TBI and improve their quality of life, helping veterans survive and thrive after life-altering trauma. SBF’s seasoned staff and trainers guide each team through three types of training, all three of which are geared toward teaching the team the skills needed to qualify as a service or therapeutic companion dog and align with Assistance Dogs International (ADI) standards: Obedience, Public Outings, and Specific Task Assistance. SBF has helped a veteran/dog team master as many as 14 tasks; the number and type of tasks depend on the veteran’s individual needs and the team’s willingness to commit to extra training. The tasks chosen by the veterans are defined by the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners’ “Service Dog Tasks for Psychiatric Disabilities” manual. Upon successful completion of all milestones, graduate teams are encouraged to return to group classes for the life of their canine partner, to include re-qualification after two years. A $150,000 WWSDP grant from the Uniformed Services University will help Soldier’s Best Friend’s 2022-2023 programming to improve the quality of life of 20 total Arizona veterans impacted by service-related PTS/TBI.