What is the cost?
Patriot Rovers provides the dogs, training, equipment, and initial veterinary care at no cost to the veteran. Enrolled veterans also become part of the Patriot Rovers Pack, a network of peers and people who are here as lifelong friends. Ongoing support and camaraderie building events provide ongoing opportunities for veterans to reintegrate into their families and communities.
As we are a nonprofit corporation, we fund the program entirely through donations, grants, and sponsors, merchandise sales and fundraisers. We are proud that 91% of our dollars go directly back into the program. (see our audit posted under financials)
Where do you get the dogs for your Service Dog Program?
Patriot Rover dogs are acquired from a variety of facilities and donors, many even rescues. N.C. has one of the highest euthanasia rates in the country, and we believe dog rescue is an important contribution our organization makes to the state, many of our Emotional Support dogs are rescues.
Certified Patriot Rovers are purpose bred for training effective Dec 31st 2015
What breeds do you accept into your program?
We have found that Golden Retrievers, have the best temperament for work as service dogs. Patriot Rovers will use Labrador Retrievers on some occasions. We have a limited capacity for rescuing and housing our Rovers, so we are not able to take in every dog that is offered to us. Although we must turn away some dogs for our mission, we fully support and encourage the rescue and adoption of all homeless dogs.
How do you evaluate dogs for your program?
Patriot Rovers learns as much as we can prior to accepting a dog into our program. We review things like physical health, history, sociability with people and other animals, etc. Then one of our trainers evaluates the dog in person, to evaluate the dog’s personality, sociability, and trainability. We cannot accept dogs showing any sign of aggression or severe anxiety issues. In addition all potential Rover candidates are subject to ongoing evaluation throughout the training period. Passing the AKC Star Puppy and Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) criteria are initial indicators of a dog’s suitability for training. This is followed by training and evaluation of Public Access Standards and then direct Service Dog Task training and evaluation. Many of the tasks are standard service dog tasks but there are additional tasks required for addressing PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury conditions. There is an element of individualized task training involved to meet the unique needs of every veteran. Task skills are evaluated prior to graduation. Dogs that are unable to pass evaluations as Rover Service Dogs will be placed into loving homes as well trained family pets.
What is a Service Dog?
Since the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, service animals have been recognized and protected by both Federal and State Laws. In March, 2011, revisions to the ADA excluded all animals but dogs (and miniature horses in special provisions) as service animals; and defined Service Dogs as: “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.” Physical and mental disabilities are included in this definition. To be considered a service dog, the dog must be trained to perform tasks directly related to the person’s disability; helping the person to do something he or she could not otherwise do in terms of a daily life activity. Providing emotional support or comfort, although proven to be beneficial for people, would not be acknowledged as a trained “task” by the Department of Justice, which enforces the ADA. Calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with a trained skill, such as pawing, nudging during an anxiety attack, post blocking and medication reminders are examples of service dog tasks. Service dogs are working animals, not pets. Service dogs have legally defined public access rights, meaning they are permitted to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go. Patriot Rovers are task trained service dogs and as such fall under ADA coverage.
How does a Service Dog differ from an Emotional Support Animal or a Therapy Dog?
- A Service Dog is defined and protected by law as a dog that is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the disability of his owner. A service dog requires a great deal of specialized training; is considered an assistive device by the ADA, and is permitted to accompany his disabled owner anywhere the public is permitted. Service Dogs fall under the broader category of Assistance Dogs, which also includes Guide Dogs for the Blind, and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.
- An Emotional Support Animal is prescribed by a person’s doctor who feels that the presence of the animal will improve his disabled patient’s mental health. Little or no training is required. Similar to pets, these dogs do not have to perform tasks for their disabled owner, nor do they have public access rights.
- A Therapy Dog is a pet that has been trained to accompany his owner to visit facilities like hospitals and nursing homes for the benefit of the people living or staying there. A therapy dog is legally a pet, and does not have public access rights without the permission of a facility owner.
How does a Patriot Rovers Service Dog help a veteran with PTSD?
Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) carry the war internally when they return home. They may experience the intense feelings, fears and shock they felt during traumatic conditions of war repeatedly. These memory recollections cause a variety of psychological disabilities, such as social avoidance, anxiety, emotional overload, depression, a general sense of foreboding, etc. Veterans with PTSD may have nightmares; or experience hyper vigilance and exaggerated responses to sudden noises or other triggers. Patriot Rovers are trained for tasks that address PTSD symptoms and help veterans with PTSD return to civilian life, reintegrate into their families and communities and regain independence. This is different from a pet that might be able to tell if his owner is distressed; a service dog is trained to provide intervention and perform tasks to lessen the distress. Examples of these tasks include: licking, pawing or other behaviors to break a distressing episode; performing a sit/stay facing away from the soldier to ‘watch his back’; blocking an unwanted person from advancing too close by performing a stand/stay sideways in front of the veteran (perimeter blocking); creating a path ahead or around a corner in front of veteran; reminding the veteran to take medicine; checking a room before the veteran enters so the veteran feels “safe”; or nudging the veteran to wake from a nightmare. In some cases the dog may lean into the individual to comfort and remind the veteran he/she is there. Each veteran has different triggers and symptoms, so his or her service dog is trained for his or her specific disabilities. Patriot Rovers are trained medical alert and medical response service dogs.
Where can Service Dogs go once certified?
It is REQUIRED under federal and state laws that Certified Service Dogs be permitted to accompany their disabled owner anywhere the general public is allowed to go, including: restaurants, schools, buses, taxis, airplanes, stores, movie theatres, concerts, sporting events, doctor’s offices, etc. Service Dogs are allowed in hospital patient rooms, but are excluded from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.
Can I bring my own dog to be trained as a Service Dog?
Patriot Rover trainers spends almost a year raising, socializing and training Rover Psychiatric Service Dogs. This training in general obedience and manners, plus service dog and public access skills takes 8-12 months, or possibly longer if additional task training is needed. The acquisition of these skills distinguishes a service dog from a pet. Not all dogs have the temperament to be service dogs, and many pets lack the necessary training for service work. Patriot Rovers does not generally train personal pets as Rover Service Dogs.
How is Patriot Rovers different from other Service Dog Programs?
Patriot Rovers is different than many organizations who provide dogs to soldiers in several ways:
- The dogs are certified psychiatric service dogs, they are trained as medical alert and response dogs as well as other service tasks that the veteran needs. They are not pets or emotional or therapy support animals
- We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and 95% of the funds raised go directly into the service dog program.
- Once the dogs go through extensive training they are matched with their veteran and together the training continues. This allows the dog and veteran to create a special bond that lasts throughout their partnership.
- Ongoing training and support is provided by Patriot Rovers.
How do I donate?
There are multiple ways to contribute to Patriot Rovers. Besides donating in person when you see us at an event, you can:
-Donate online with your credit card through our secure online donor system.
-Send donations by mail to: 8001 Clinard Farms Road High Point, NC 27265
-Donate equipment (please contact us first to find out needs for packs, food, collars, etc.)
-Host a fundraising event – Submit this form