Heartland Hounds for Heroes Strives to Make a Difference
The program will start with a litter of Labrador puppies from a foundation dog donated by a reputable breeder or purchased from a reputable breeder specifically for this organization.
The purpose of this strategy is to ensure the optimal temperament and health of the Hounds that will enter the program. This strategy will also ensure that the program trainers have full control of all training, situations, socialization, and veterinary care of the puppies from birth to graduation.
The dogs will be trained over a period of no less than 12 months to assure that the dog will be able to recognize, react to, and engage the Hero having a PTSD episode.
Naturally, not every dog is going to graduate the course. These dogs will have learned basic obedience skills, obtained their Canine Good Citizen certification, and will be able to be adopted by vetted families for a tax-deductible donation to the program, or sponsorship of a future puppy. If the family chooses to sponsor a future puppy this will be done in writing to protect the financial interest of the family due to its nature as a tax-deductible event, as well as protection of the Hounds for Heroes entity.
Any dog adopted will require a contract in order to protect the well-being of the dog for the entirety of its life.
Initially the training will be performed by 2 head trainers and the founder (Jacob Hood). These will be full-time positions for these members. We hope to be able to have more full-time positions as donations, gifts and sponsorships grow.
When the trainers have determined the Hound is ready, and the Hound has passed all necessary tests to be certified as a service dog. The Hounds for Heroes program will reach out to the first people on the waiting list provided by the VA Behavioral Health affiliates or similar organizations. These dogs will require a prescription in order to be placed.
Once the Heroes arrive to be paired with their Hound, both Hound and Hero will attend a two-week course. This will allow the partnership to develop by working together setting expectations for each partner (Hound and Hero). The Hero will learn what the Hound is trained to do, and allow the staff evaluate the partnership and cohesion of the pair.
After the Hero takes possession of the Hound, the organization will follow-up with the Hero at minimum every quarter via skype (or similar platform) or in person. This will ensure that the Hound is being taken care of properly (trust but verify). The follow-up will also give the Hero a chance to give feedback to the organization on how the Hound is preforming and what needs to be improved upon.
I have been in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corp. for 20 years; I have a deep passion for both dogs and my fellow Service Members. This vision has been a dream of mine for years and I am acting on it. I want to make a difference in the lives of my “brothers and sisters” living with this condition. I want to continue to serve in a meaningful capacity that will have an impact on those who need it most.