FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is a service dog?
A.) Service dogs perform at least 3 tasks for a handler who has a disability. They can legally accompany their handler everywhere except for military bases or sterile environments.
Q: Can my dog become a service dog?
A: It's possible, but unlikely. Service dog work is very taxing for dogs, so they must have the correct attributes and rigorous training in order to succeed. It's best to start while the dog is still young. For those reasons, dogs accustomed to being treated like "pets" are likely to have a hard time with the training
Q: What is PTSD?
A: PTSD is a disorder caused by the involvement in or exposure to a traumatic event. In a normal situation, the brain will switch the body from "survival mode" to a state of restoration, but PTSD is when that switch never occurs, leaving the survivor in a constant state of emergency.
Q: What do I have to do to get a service dog?
A: You can apply here, and we'll be sure to review your application. We like to be thorough, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to fill it out completely. You can check back regarding the status of you application as often as you like.
Q: How long does the application process take?
A: It depends on when you apply. Dogs can take anywhere from around a year to eighteen months, and we train each dog specifically for each survivor. If we already have a dog that would be a good fit for you, you'll know sooner rather than later if you've been accepted into the program. However, if we're in the beginning stages of training, it may take a little longer. We ask survivors to keep an open mind when applying, as a lot of the selection process depends on the personalities of the dogs we have in training. If you continue to check in with us, we will keep your application active and may contact you in the future when we have a dog that's a good fit for you.
Q: What is a companion dog?
A: Companion dogs provide a general sense of comfort to their handler but has very few legal rights in comparison to a service dog. They are well trained, but they don't perform specific tasks.
Q: What is a therapy dog?
A: Therapy dogs belong to a handler with no disability, so instead of performing specific tasks, they go anywhere they may be of comfort upon request, like a hospital. Even though therapy dogs do not perform specific tasks, they must be extremely well-behaved in order to conduct visits. Learn more about our therapy dog program here.
Q: What do service dogs from Freedom K9 do?
A: Collectively, our dogs perform tasks designed to interrupt the reinforcing cycle of PTSD in the limbic system, such as alerting their handler to oncoming panic attacks and interrupting night terrors. Unlike many organizations, we train each dog individually for each specific person, so these tasks all look different depending on the survivor the dog is paired with. Each survivor needs individual help in order to heal; therefore, each of our dogs is trained in a unique way.
Q: I have other animals. Does that inhibit me from getting a service dog?
A: Assuming none of the other animals in your house are aggressive, not at all! In order to successfully train a service dog for a mixed-animal home life, though, the Freedom K9 Project just needs to know about each animal.
Q: Can a service dog help me?
A: Absolutely! Service dogs have been proven to greatly reduce symptoms of, if not completely heal a person from, PTSD. That being said, the handler has to actively participate in the healing process in order to see results. Owning a service dog makes you a part of a unique, hard-working team seeking real healing; it's not a snap-your-fingers type of "cure."