Service Dogs of Virginia operates out of Charlottesville, VA. They train dogs to act as a support and serve as a tool to assist in therapy for people living with PTSD, autism, and more. At any given time, they have volunteers and trainers working with puppies, adolescent dogs, and dogs who are close to placement. The trainers find that some dogs have personalities geared more toward work as PTSD or autism assistance dogs, and some toward work as assist or medic alert dogs.
But finding the right placement for the dogs is only one piece of the puzzle. The dogs also need to be placed with people who are ready for them. Staff, volunteers, and clients of Service Dogs of Virginia all stress the importance of putting yourself in the best possible position for a dog to make an impact before being paired up. The people who receive dogs, especially for things like PTSD and autism, put in hours of therapy and try to grow in other ways to make sure they’re in that position.
Together they form a beautiful relationship where the dog and the person both count on each other.