PTSD is an illness that can be very detrimental to a person’s health. The changes victims of PTSD endure can significantly impair a person’s daily life (Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 2007). According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA), people with PTSD are prone to developing other disorders such as anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug abuse issues due to not being able to get proper psychological help (2015a). Some consequences of those behaviors that may become fatal are drinking and driving, alcohol poisoning, overdosing on drugs, physical abuse towards others or self-harming. In fact, about 20% of suicides in the U.S. are comprised of veterans (Face the Facts USA, 2013). That’s 8,000 deaths estimated a year, not including the 11,000 failed suicide attempts committed (Bossarte, 2012).
But there is hope!
Got Your Six Support Dogs was developed out of the need of veterans and first-responders requesting PTSD service dogs when all other methods of treatment have failed. Due to a high demand for PTSD service dogs and low accessibility to them, Got Your Six Support Dogs fills that need by training dogs for veterans and first-responders who see this option as a last resort to surviving PTSD. The selected dogs are trained by certified trainers for approximately one year and then matched with an applicant. The pairings occur over a ten-day period. During this time the recipient also attends a daily trauma resiliency/suicide prevention course led by a licensed therapist. Because the dogs are the property of Got Your Six Support Dogs, annual certification is required as well as periodic home visits to ensure the welfare of both the recipient and service dog. The dog, training equipment, hotel stay, breakfast and lunch, training program, and trauma resiliency course are provided to the recipient at no cost.
Our pairing program this year takes place October 1st-10th, 2017. The application cut-off period for 2017 is July 15th, 2017. Accepted applicants will be notified by August 1st, 2017. Every application received after will only be considered only for subsequent years.
If you’re a veteran or first responder and would like to apply for a support dog, please contact us for an application.