Shepherds for Lost Sheep, Inc. is committed to the training of Service Dogs that will enhance the lives of Veterans and mitigate the wounds of war.
While we focus primarily on the Psychiatric Service Dogs, we rarely find a veteran without a physical need as well. Therefore, we train our dogs to the individual veterans needs whether it is PTSD mitigation, traumatic brain injury (TBI) mitigation, or a mobility problem.
Post Traumatic Syndrome is real and though the wounds are not always visible, they can be debilitating. The vast majority of service dog programs that are in the community for Veterans tend to be geared for those suffering physical injuries and do not have a Psychiatric Service Dog component. In our search to find help with PTSD, our mission came into focus.
To breed, raise and train high quality German Shepherd Dogs and/or identify suitable rescue dog candidates for the express purpose of being used as Psychiatric Service Dogs by Veterans. Our goal is to provide all services free of charge to those Veterans with Post Traumatic Syndrome, TBI, or mobility problems, who will benefit from a service K-9 partner.
We offer follow up training to the K-9’s of the Veteran handlers, invite you to become part of a tightly knit community of Veteran Psychiatric Service Dog Handlers and will educate and advocate for Veterans on Psychiatric Service Dog usage and applicable state and federal laws. Our intent is to partner with community organizations and quality breeders to identify dogs with the proper temperament and train-ability. This includes rescue groups and shelters, provided the dog has the proper drive and temperament for such work. We will commit ourselves to the dog’s health with vaccinations, spay and neutering as well as training and socializing the dogs to become certified Service Dogs for Veterans.
Training will begin with basic level socialization and carry through to advanced obedience and certification of the dog. This training will ensure that the dog is fit and ready for K9 service. The goal of the Psychiatric Service Dog is to provide the Veteran with a 24 hour constant, reassuring, K-9 partner to help mitigate their symptoms. Once placed with the individual Veteran, these dogs will help to keep the Veteran focused, help them reenter life by mitigating their condition and give them something other than their symptoms.
Through word of mouth, advertisement in our community and the surrounding communities, as well as partnering with other Veteran support groups and organizations, we will be able to offer the Veteran a way to become independent again, giving them back their ability to do things they once could only in a slightly different manner. Through the partnerships we form with other organizations and the communities, we will take all prospective families, and Veterans and submit them to an extensive application process by which we will gather as much information possible from the Veteran, family members, doctors and other health professionals so that we may make an educated and reasonable determination for each individual Veteran’s needs. Once a determination is made, the process of connecting the Veteran with their dog will begin. The bonding process is critical to the welfare of the Veteran and the dog.
Through training, education, and working with both the Veteran and dog at once, a permanent bond for the dog and Veteran will be attained. A final goal is to grow the organization into a viable and sustainable organization by which we will be able to offer another option for employment. The majority of Veterans that will return from the battlefields or traumatic events will have great difficulty re-entering the work force within our community. Offering the Veterans a way to give back to their communities and their families by gaining employment caring for and training our service dogs for other Veterans in need is another component that we feel we can bridge the gap that is currently present. Creating and sustaining a network of support avenues for the Veterans will be created through bringing the Veterans and their Psychiatric Service Dogs together on a quarterly basis. Outreach to our Veterans is a continual need. It doesn’t simply end once the Veteran and the dog are paired. Offering a network of support through similar experiences and commonalities, the Veterans will begin to form relationships with one another, there-by increasing the success rate in adapting and re-integrating back into society.