WALNUT CREEK, CA (Nov. 11, 2023) — The Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek has announced a new program to increase the number of service dogs ready to meet the needs of Veterans experiencing PTSD, anxiety, agoraphobia, and traumatic brain injuries.
ARF’s new Service Dog Foster program invites volunteers to play an instrumental role in preparing shelter dogs for their future roles as psychiatric service dogs. ARF trains shelter-to-service dogs and Veterans together, resulting in stronger human–animal bonds and providing vocational skills to Veterans who wish to become dog trainers. This unique approach allows ARF to match Veterans and dogs more quickly, bypassing an often years-long waitlist for pre-trained service dogs offered by many service dog programs.
This immersive training, currently six months in duration, begins with approximately two months of basic obedience skills training. Under the new program, volunteers will now provide these foundation training skills to better prepare dogs for advanced psychiatric service dog training.
“In the role of Pets and Vets Foster, [volunteers] will truly transform the lives of former shelter dogs and Veterans who have given so much to our country,” said Susan Lee Vick, CEO of ARF.
Those interested in becoming a volunteer foster for ARF’s Pets and Vets program can learn more here.