Frequently Asked Questions
How can I learn if I'm eligible and how do I apply for a quide or service dog?
This may well be the number one question we get asked at Vets Helping Heroes. We are a fund raising orgainization only and have nothing to do with the application process at the programs through which we sponsor dogs. Please download our fact sheet to learn more about what type of dog is best for you and how you can get started on your search. We've included a list of programs we can recommend but your search need not be limited to that list. There are countless training programs all over the country. Keep in mind, the right program for you does not have to be located close to you. This is a very important decision and location should not be the primary consideration.
To jump straight to a few of the programs we support please visit Southeastern Guide Dogs, K9 Navigators and Freedom Service Dogs or search for a program. There are more links available on our links page. MOST IMPORTANTLY: DO YOUR HOMEWORK TO FIND THE RIGHT PROGRAM FOR YOU AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE REPUTABLE!
I would like to donate a dog (or dogs) to a veteran. What should I do?
At this time I'm afraid we can't take the very generous offers we often receive from those wishing to give us puppies and dogs to be used in the training programs we sponsor. These programs either specially breed their dogs or use rescued shelter dogs, of which there is no shortage. Additionally, the liklihood of one of our programs being located within a practical distance is remote.
We strongly recommend that you search for programs in your area. If it's important to you that your special gift be used to benefit active-duty or retired military, make sure you clarify that when speaking with any program you contact.
Are any costs associated with the care of an assistance dog covered by VHH?
VHH only covers the cost of preparing the dogs to be placed with their new owners. However, recently the VA announced that all VA Certified service dogs qualify for unlimited health insurance. That means all vets bills for qualifying dogs will be covered. You can read more here and other places around the web.
Do you hire dog trainers?
Unfortunately, no. We don't do any of the dog training ourselves and aren't kept privy to the hiring needs of the programs we support.
What kind of volunteer opportunities are there with Vets Helping Heroes?
We are a newly formed organization and, as such we are not currently in a position to support an extensive volunteer staff. If you are interested in helping out as we grow, please sign up for our mailing list to be notified when volunteer opportunities become available. We greatly appreciate your interest and willingness to help.
Our primary need at present is to raise funds for dogs. If you are able to do so, contributions are therefore the most significant manner in which you can be of immediate help. You can spread the word about our organization. We would be happy to send you brochures that you can hand out to anyone you think might be interested in learning more.
I would like to raise or train service dogs. Can I help your organization in this way?
If you have an interest in becoming involved in the training or raising a future assistance dogs we recommend you contact Southeastern Guide Dogs, K9 Navigators or Canine Companions for Independence for puppy-raising oppertunities all over the country. You could also try to search for other programs that might have the need for puppy raisers.
What becomes of the dogs after they retire?
Service dogs work 24 hours, seven days per week. As a result, and in consideration of the hard and dedicated work that these dogs put in on behalf of their owners, they are usually retired by the age of 10 or 11 years. At that time, the disabled individual may receive a new service dog, but may chose to keep the original dog for the remainder of its life since the bond between the disabled person and the dog - and the entire family - is generally very strong.
When the government bill to provide funds for veterans to receive service dogs is enacted, will Vets Helping Heroes no longer need private donations?
Not at all. At this time most of the money provided by the government bill is being applied toward research. The funds allocated to provide for a very small percent of the current need has been put on hold. Private donations are very much needed in order for us to continue our mission of providing a professionally trained assistance dog prepared by a qualified instructor to all qualifying veterans and active-duty military personnel.