Service Dogs For Veterans with Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
Veterans with Military Sexual Trauma (MST) receive custom-trained service animals at no cost with lifetime support.
Although military service is only for a short time, the mental and physical traumas suffered by Veterans can last a lifetime. Every Veteran goes through a unique healing process. Some veterans find it challenging every day. It is estimated that 1 out 5 suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among the nearly 2.7 million Americans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. MST causes symptoms that make daily living difficult.
Service dogs provide immense support for Veterans to improve their quality of life. PAVE exists to assist more Veterans in obtaining the benefits of service dogs. Our customized training and life-long support make a real and lasting difference in the lives and careers of Veterans. Are you a Veteran looking to regain independence? Contact us today.
Is a PAVE Service Dog Right for Me?
Veteran with psychological or physical disabilities may experience a variety of chronic and complex symptoms, including anxiety, social difficulties, depression, and nightmares. Veterans with disabilities can have their PAVE service dogs perform specialized tasks that improve their quality of life. PAVE service dogs have been proven to provide support to Veterans in a variety of ways, from making basic tasks easier to providing critical support to those who face significant challenges.
- Wake Veterans from nightmares
- Sleep quality and quantity can be improved
- Increase your independence
- Positive social interactions can be increased
- Lower symptoms of PTSD/MST, anxiety, and depression
- Reduce your need for medication
- Enhance the Veteran's quality of life and positive outlook
- For everyday tasks, physical assistance
- Reduce hypervigilance
Hear From Our Veterans
Alex was severely injured by an IED while serving in Afghanistan. Since returning home, his PAVE service dog, Troy, provides support for him and his wife Kim. It takes just one look at Troy and Alex to see the powerful bond created between the pair.
~ Alex and Troy
John suffered from debilitating nightmares for decades. They robbed him of his independence and will to live. Just as John thought nothing would alleviate the suffering, PAVE matched him with his service dog, Truman.
~ John and Truman
Tiffany’s life was torn apart by PTSD. In her darkest moments, she barely got three hours of sleep. PAVE facilitated 1:1 training and customized placement with service dog, Sage, to help Tiffany regain her life. Her message for all Veterans is, “Don’t quit! Don’t give up!”
~ Tiffany and Sage
Our Basic Criteria for a Service Dog
- You became disabled while serving your country (doesn't need to be combat-related).
- Have a clinical diagnosis of PTSD, MST, TBI, or need for certain physical help.
- You are currently receiving support from a provider.
- Can attend the training camp in Portland Metro, Oregon. You will be responsible for your transportation and accommodation.
- Live in California, Idaho, Oregon, or Washington.
- Can meet the physical, mental, and emotional needs of a dog.
- Have been honorably discharged.
Please note that PAVE does not place service dogs for legally blind, hearing impaired, or medical alert dogs (seizure, diabetic alert for example). Please see ADI for organizations that specialize in these areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Service Dogs for Veterans
PAVE’s mission is to train and provide service dogs for our Veterans suffering from psychological and/or physical disabilities.
PAVE does not place service dogs for legally blind, hearing impaired, or medical alert dogs (seizure, diabetic alert, for example). Please see ADI for organizations that specialize in these areas.
Yes, PAVE is an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International. This premier international organization establishes and promotes standards of excellence in all areas of assistance dog acquisition, training, and partnership. Only three organizations in Oregon are currently accredited members.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, PAVE is funded by private donations, corporate donations, foundation funding, and grants.
It costs PAVE around $42,000 per dog, which includes lifelong follow-up training and support.
Approximately 90 cents of every dollar is spent on program expenses.
PAVE provides the service dog, the training, and ongoing support at no charge, along with the initial supply of equipment and supplies valued at over $1,500.
It takes approximately 1.5 – 2 years to train a service dog.
PAVE works with Guide Dogs for the Blind, selected breeders, and rescues/shelters.
PAVE primarily trains Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, or Lab/Golden crosses.
These breeds have consistently been successful in service dog work regarding aptitude, temperament, and work ethic.
As soon as the dogs join our program!
PAVE dogs are trained by certified, professional dog trainers specializing in service dogs. They use positive reinforcement methods.
PAVE assistance dogs are trained to the specific disability needs of the individual Veteran. Examples of tasks they perform depend on the Veteran's specific needs but may include:
- Turn lights on/off
- Open or close doors
- Retrieve items
- Nightmare interruption
- Redirect Veterans during a PTSD episode
- Provide DPT (Deep Pressure Therapy) and grounding
No, PAVE does not train or certify dogs already owned by the Veteran. Assistance Dogs International lists some organizations that offer that kind of training.
The initial required qualifications are:
- Honorable discharge.
- Licensed health professional ongoing support appropriate for the mental and/or physical disabilities.
- Housing and financial stability to provide for the well-being of the service dog.
Have another Question?
Email the PAVE team at [email protected], and we’ll answer all your questions about service dogs for Veterans.
At Paws Assisting Veterans (PAVE), we are wholeheartedly dedicated to providing Veterans with the support they need and deserve. As a nonprofit service dog organization we provide service dogs free of charge for Veterans with lifetime support. The trained tasks completed by service dogs through our comprehensive training program empower Veterans to live an independent, fulfilling life.
Apply for a PAVE Service Dog
Are you ready to regain your independence?
Our team is ready to support you through the PAVE process from application to training camp with your new companion and service dog. Dedicated to facilitating your new and better life, we provide tailored training and lifelong support with access to professional advice from our specialist dog trainers. There is no charge for your service dog, training, or ongoing support.
Start your journey with PAVE by completing the simple contact form.
We look forward to speaking with you.