To be considered for this program, Pets Loyal 2 Vets will first need to receive the Veteran Application found below the Application tab on the main menu above. Once we receive that, we will contact those who have applied and whose full applications we have received for an interview to ensure all qualifications are met and to determine whether a Battle Buddy, Emotional Support Dog or a Service Dog would be best suited. That interview will take place at our training center with our Trainer and the Executive Director. All information obtained will be kept in the strictest of confidence and used only for the purpose of qualifying the veteran, determining the needs of the veteran, and providing the best possible match with a new service dog. See steps for this below.
Qualifying veterans must meet the minimum standards as described in MINNESOTA STATUTES 2015 197.447
197.447 VETERAN, DEFINED. The word “veteran” as used in Minnesota Statutes, except in sections 136F.28, 196.21, and 243.251,means a citizen of the United States or a resident alien who has been separated under honorable conditions from any branch of the armed forces of the United States after having served on active duty for 181 consecutive days or by reason of disability incurred while serving on active duty, or who has met the minimum active duty requirement as defined by Code of Federal Regulations, title 38, section 3.12a, or who has active military service certified under section 401, Public Law 95-202. The active military service must be certified by the United States secretary of defense as active military service and a discharge under honorable conditions must be issued by the secretary. Source: Copyright © 2015 by the Revisor of Statutes, State of Minnesota. All Rights Reserved.
In The Beginning
Once we receive your intial application, we will contact you by phone. The full application sent to you will detail exactly what information and documents we will need. These will all be held in the strictest of confidence and helps us determine support and your need for one of these dogs. We take training very serious and we need you to take attendance in these classes just as serious. If you miss two classes, you have fallen far enough behind where you cannot catch up and will need to attend Make Up Classes, or you will be dropped from the program. So if you apply, know this going into it that it is vitally important that you attend all training classes. We understand that emergencies and vacations may arise but if you want a dog from Pets Loyal 2 Vets, you need to show up. In the military if you missed morning muster, you got written up. We put a lot of time and money into these dogs and expect all participants to make all the training classes. It does you and the dog no good to be left out of training.
So if you have already applied for or are about to apply for one of our dogs, please take the time to see your VA mental health care specialist who treated you for PTSD or TBI and secure the documents listed in the full application we will send you in advance to help speed up the application process. Because our programs are exclusively for Minnesota veterans, we do not sell dogs, train dogs for anyone not enrolled in our programs, we do not take puppies or take dogs in people have abandoned or no longer want. There are over 200 rescue groups willing to take a dog and find a new home.
Our certified trainer will put extensive training time into each candidate dog so the individual needs of the veteran are met as well as ensuring the safety of the dog. Some well-intentioned organizations claim to be able to train a dog in a single week’s time. That is simply not the case and only leads to frustration, disappointment and failures down the line. These dogs take months to train to be able to do what is required of them. Training a dog over the Internet is also not a recommended procedure. All dogs will be first dog obedience Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certified before they move onto higher levels of training. We will work very closely with veterans needs matching as closely as possible the compatibility and special needs but we also take into consideration if you or family members have allergies, if there are infants or toddlers age 4 and under or if you are a fall risk. Every effort will be in place to protect individual privacy and therapeutic needs on site.
Our candidate program is unlike any others in Minnesota or in the Midwest and best of all, it’s free to qualifying veterans enrolled in our programs. We don’t charge application fees or equipment fees like other for profit organizations. All dogs will be completely up to date on all vaccinations, micro chipped with accompanying veterinary paperwork. Each dog will come with all the necessary equipment, service dog in training vest, handler identification credentials, food bowls, leashes, credentials so the veteran is not encumbered to have to spend additionally. Successful candidates are prioritized based on the immediacy of the veteran’s needs and not based on a first applied, first received basis. The easier you make it for us, the faster you start in a class.
Because Pets Loyal 2 Vets programs are unique and exclusively for Minnesota veterans, it is important that all veterans thinking about applying be first diagnosed and treated by VA Hospital professionals for PTSD, TBI injuries and any anger issues and be recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs as service connected. It is important that the foundation of how to deal with your symptoms be first evaluated and properly treated by VA Hospital or Clinic professionals either at the VA Hospital, local CBOC’s or Veteran Service Centers and that obtaining a highly trained dog not be confused with replacing clinical therapies, modalities or services.
Our programs do not discriminate whether pre or post 911 conflicts like some organizations in other states. For apartments and condos, you must have a relief area and the dog must always be on a leash and NEVER be left alone. For those who rent, we will need a letter from the landlord stating you are allowed to have a dog on the premesis.
Realizing many veterans live in buildings where a dog may not be allowed, please let us know if this is an issue with your lease or renters agreement when you apply as we cannot enter into arbitration to change this. We do not train dogs as pets. If you are coming to us, it’s because you need a dog to assist you with service connected medical problems. Remember, your dog is trained exclusively for you and is not to be used for any other purpose or for any hospital visits to comfort anyone else but you. These are therapeutic dogs trained to deal with your symptoms of PTSD. If your dog is ever used to comfort anyone else but you, the dog will be returned to Pets Loyal 2 Vets.
To qualify, you must be able to meet the yellow highlighted areas below.
- Served honorable for at least 181 days of active duty
- Reside within Minnesota holding a Minnesota resident ID or live within the Wisconsin counties of Pierce or St. Croix Counties.
- Honorably discharged or medically discharged due to PTSD or TBI or related injuries
- Diagnosed by VA Doctors with 10% or higher rating for PTSD or TBI and approved by your doctors that a service dog would be beneficial for your recovery
- Have completed a VA treatment/therapy program for PTSD or TBI, such as PTSR, PPH, PET, EMDR or CBT
- You must also have a stable single place of residence and not be moving around or on the road much of the time.
- All qualifying veterans will be thoroughly screened to ensure compatibility and paired with a service dog using positive re-enforcement protocols and provided free of charge to veterans accepted into this program. Understand, that submitting an application does not automatically guarantee placement of a new companion or act as automatic acceptance into our programs. You must be able to show you can care and provide for a new companion dog, have completed a VA sponsored therapy program and have a therapeutic need ok’d by your VA doctor. We do not accept verbal or e-mail requests for one of our service dogs. Only completed applications will be considered.
Note: We do not just find a dog from a rescue group and give it to a veteran. All dogs we consider for training will be carefully screened and then trained based upon the specific needs of the veteran so this is a customized training program. Rescued dogs also make very good therapeutic companions and there are many waiting for a new home with a loving and caring veteran. If you need a dog and cannot wait for one, there are over 200 rescue groups in Minnesota that would be glad to assist you. Chuck & Dons, Petco and Petsmart stores hold dog adoption fairs nearly every weekend with 5-8 rescue groups attending. If you have a dog you no longer can care for, please contact a rescue group near you as they are always looking for new pets to adopt out to families.
What is the process for applying for a dog
We receive many applications from veterans who are being treated for PTSD, TBI or MST. But sometimes, the applications are submitted prematurely. Hopefully we can explain the process here so veterans and their therapists or doctors wanting to know what those steps are will have clear information.
- If you are being treated for depression or anxiety that is related to a specific event in the military which is the cause of your PTSD, but the PTSD or TBI has not yet been recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) you are still too early in the process and will need to go to your County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO) first to have them submit the proper application to the DVA on your behalf. The CVSO will explain that process to you. We do not have anything to do with that.
- To qualify for enrollment into our programs, your PTSD or TBI injuries must be service connected and you must have already received a disability rating and benefits letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) for PTSD and or TBI related injuries as diagnosed and treated by VA Doctors, VA therapists, or CBOC social doctors. This (DVA) letter will state that you have received a disability rating of 10% or higher for PTSD, TBI or MST and be service connected to qualify for a dog.
- If you have this, then the next step would be to fill out the two page on-line application. http://petsloyal2vets.org/companions/
- Once we receive this initial application, we will contact you for a short phone interview. Upon completion, we will e-mail you the full 12-page application which must be completed and all original pages US Mailed back to our office. If this is returned incomplete, your application will not be accepted and will be delayed.
- Once we receive your “completed packet”, we will contact you to come in for a two-hour interview where we get to know you and how we can help in training a dog for your specific needs and you get to know us and ask questions.
- Once that is completed, we determine the type of dog for you. It is important that the dog and you make a connection, otherwise, it may not work. Depending on the type of dog you will need, if you are unable to assist in the training right away, it could take from 8 weeks to 2 years to get a dog for you.
- We then determine the type of dog, size, age and type of training that will best suit your needs.
- Depending on if the veteran can take a dog right away or later on will determine how fast we can start the training and get a dog into your hands.
A dog from us is only for the veteran on the application and is not to be used for any other person. We do not sell or re-purpose dogs either like for profit operations. We will only train dogs for DVA qualified veterans enrolled in our programs and all services and dogs are free of charge to that vet. Please understand, we have strict guidelines for a reason. By compiling the documents you will need ahead of time will speed up the process for you on our end.
All information in this and other forms are kept in the strictest of confidence. If your VA determination letter does not rate you 10% or higher for service connected PTSD, TBI or MST then this application is premature for you. Remember, you must be service connected and possess a Veterans Affairs ID card. If you have any other symptoms you are being treated for but you are not DVA recognized for PTSD, TBI or MST then this program is not for you and you should consult with your doctors on the best treatments available.
If you are a Veteran who has been diagnosed with and treated for military related PTSD, or Traumatic Brain Injury where a companion, therapy or PSD partner would aid in your recovery and or rehabilitation and are in need of a new service dog, please use the application on the Veterans Application page. This is not a “pet dog” adoption service. Pets Loyal 2 Vets is a specific needs service exclusively for disabled Minnesota veterans who have qualified and are enrolled in our programs. We train service dogs, not pet dogs or family dogs.
Once we receive your application, it will be carefully reviewed and if qualifications are met, we will place your name on our waiting list and call you for an interview. Please only click submit one time on the Veterans Application page. Please make sure you or your therapist understands the differences between a Battle Buddy, Companion Dog, A Therapy Dog and a Service Dog before they provide a letter for you. Click this link to read more on the differences of each dog and approximate training times.