This program is for veterans who already own a dog and want to have their pet certified as a service animal.
TYLER, Texas — CampV partnered with an experienced dog trainer to develop a program that allows veterans to train their dogs to be service animals.
The one-stop shop for East Texas veterans will begin its first service dog training at 2 p.m. on February 16 at the CampV campus at 3212 W. Front St. in Tyler. Classes continue at the same time every Wednesday for five to six weeks, depending on each dog’s progress.
Travis Gladhill, executive director of CampV, said a service dog is different than an emotional support animal. He noted that most service dog training programs keep the dog and owner separate for long periods of time, which can be detrimental to the veteran.
“During this time, the dog and owner can lose the bond they have together. It causes undue anxiety for the veteran that he will have to be separated from his animal for an unprecedented time,” Gladhill said. “We saw this and teamed up with one of the best dog trainers in the East Texas area.”
Judy Parsons, a multi-certified trainer, has partnered with CampV for the classes. Anyone wishing to register can call Parsons at 903-618-9333.
Requirements for training include a letter from the veteran’s doctor prescribing a service animal for psychiatric or physical support, the dog must be at least 1 year old, dogs must be able to perform certain commands (sit/stay, down /Stay, walk, leave and come).
According to CampV, the dog cannot be an emotional support animal. The cost is $120; however, financial assistance is available to veterans and their families through CampV.
For dogs unable to perform basic commands, CampV, also known as Community Assisting Military Personnel and Veterans, will offer this training during another class, Gladhill said.
He said classes will include private training and learning behaviors in public areas, such as B. driving on public transport or going out to eat.
“This service dog is there, as you might say, as a recipe to help this veteran or anyone with their specific daily duties. For those suffering from severe PTSD, this service animal can have that calming effect. It can kind of re-center that person and take away their anxiety,” Gladhill said. “The dog will be able to know your triggers and take you away from those triggers and lead you away to calm down and re-center.”
CampV officials will also help decide what type of breed would be best for the veteran. Gladhill encouraged people to sign up sooner rather than later as space for training is limited.
This program is for veterans who already own a dog and want to have their pet certified as a service animal. Upon completion of the course, the veteran will receive a certificate and information about their rights under the US Disability Act, Gladhill said.
“I think this is a great program that we are launching right now and we can’t wait to see where it goes,” he said.
For more information or to donate to the program, visit campvtyler.com or email [email protected].
RELATED: Smith County Hopes to Expand Veteran Services Office to CampV
RELATED: East Texas vets award Purple Heart medals