Therapetics Service Dogs of Oklahoma, an organization based in Tulsa but serving all of Oklahoma, trains Mobility Assistance Service dogs for individuals with physical disabilities as well as Psychiatric Service Dogs for military veterans diagnosed with PTSD.
It takes two years to train a service dog. The Mobility Assistance Service Dogs are trained to help with everyday chores that are made difficult by limited mobility, tasks such as opening doors, carrying a bag, picking up dropped objects or emptying the dryer. Our Psychiatric Service Dogs are trained to perform specific tasks that reduce the symptoms of PTSD. For example, the dogs are taught to turn on lights so that a veteran does not have to walk into a dark room, to sit/stay in a particular position to create a physical barrier that protects a veteran’s sense of safe space, and to alert to an approaching individual thus reducing a veteran’s state of hyper vigilance.
The cost related to caring for and training a Therapetics Service Dog is close to $15,000 per dog. Despite the costs, Therapetics places these dogs with individuals in need at no charge and provides training support to the client and service dog for the life of the partnership. To cover the cost we rely completely on private support from individuals, groups, businesses, foundations.
We are experiencing a dramatic increase in applications. We have far more individuals needing a service dog than we have available. Currently our waiting list is 2 to 4 years long and our veterans are experiencing the longest wait.
To address the critical need and reduce the amount of time one must wait for a service dog we are increasing the number of puppies coming into the training program. This year we would like to bring in a total of 20 puppies. The $20,000 in requested funding will help cover the initial veterinary costs as well as the training equipment and supplies needed when a puppy enters the program.
Therapetics Service Dogs of Oklahoma is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and donations are tax deductible. For more information visit our web site at www.therapetics.org.