Any VETERAN who has deployed and is HONORABLY discharged from the U.S. armed forces and qualified active duty service members who have received authorization from their command.
There is no cost to the Veteran. Once the Veteran graduates from our program, they will be financially responsible for the service dog.
A Northwest Battle Buddies dog can aid you in many areas of your life. The dog provides a feeling of safety, which will aid in your return to independence, creating more of a reason to keep moving forward toward a healthy life. Isolation and hyper-vigilance are extreme symptoms of PTSD. Veterans have experienced freedom and independence with a service dog by their side and go places with a dog they would never go alone. Our service dogs wake our veterans from nightmares as well as help stop panic attacks by nuzzling them to get their attention or by licking their face. Much like a medical alert dog detecting epileptic seizures or a diabetic alert dog detecting high and low blood sugar, PTSD service dogs are alerting on adrenaline when the veterans are experiencing anxiety or fear. Veterans who have impaired vision will place their service dogs on their impaired side for safety as well they become a social barrier. Some service dogs are trained to “brace“ and are used for balance. Studies show that the veteran will experience oxytocin peaks within minutes of a petting session. Oxytocin can have a powerful effect. It can lower the heart rate and blood pressure and may also lead to reduced levels of stress.
We do place service dogs with qualified active duty personnel. The service member's command must submit, in writing, approval to participate in our 5-week training program and handle a service dog while performing their duties.
We are not breed-specific. We use dogs from shelters, rescue organizations, our breeding program, and dogs that are personal surrenders. A local veterinary clinic provides a health exam and certification the dog is physically healthy and vaccinated. The criteria for a Northwest Battle Buddies dog are: sociable, confident, at least 40 pounds, and 1.5 years of age or less. Each service dog is paired with the veteran, according to the individual’s unique requirements.
Our service dogs are trained for the individuals’ particular needs, including passing the Canine Good Citizen Test and the Public Access Test.
NWBB service dogs are trained to navigate the outside world to be able to fit into any lifestyle. Each dog receives a minimum of 5 months of professional training. Upon the approval of your application, you will receive a letter of completion. The waiting period is based on the availability and the order of applicants on our waiting list. We have had applicants begin the training phase within a couple of months of completing their application.
You will be required to fill out the online application and submit your DD214 (Member 4 copy), or we can send one through the mail. Once our Veteran liaison receives your application, you will be contacted within 48 business hours. After the initial contact, the Veteran liaison will email you our checklist and supporting documents.
Northwest Battle Buddies dogs are specifically trained to navigate everyday life situations. Training will be conducted not only at the Northwest Battle Buddies professional training facility, Man’s Best Friend, but also in places such as restaurants, public transportation, shopping malls, grocery stores, theaters, airports, and anywhere the Veterans may frequent.
Once you have completed the training with Northwest Battle Buddies, you are eligible for a lifetime of training. Should you require follow-up training, our staff will arrange to work with you to address any questions or concerns you might have in a prompt and professional manner, which may include a home site visit. We recognize the sacrifices that you have made for our nation. We will do our part to see that your Northwest Battle Buddies service dog will assist you in leading an active, independent life. Our service dog teams are required to recertify on an annual basis which includes the public access test and continuing training.
The service dog’s career depends on how active you are. It is our hope that you can expect the dog will have eight to ten good working years. Once the service dog is ready to retire, the dog becomes a pet in the home, and the veteran, if they choose, is placed at the top of our list to receive their next service dog.
Our training phase is a total of 5 weeks and will take place in various locations. It is necessary to ensure that you and the dog are working well together and that you have a full understanding and knowledge of how to handle your service dog while abiding by the guidelines set forth by the ADA and Northwest Battle Buddies.