WITH DOGS came about after witnessing, and experiencing, the massive
impact that dogs had during the treatment for PTSD, and subsequent
recovery. This led to extensive research into the amelioration of
symptoms and the benefits of working with dogs for trauma-related mental
Our unique cutting edge programme has been developed from the inside-out, by those who understand the debilitating effects of mental health problems, along with animal behaviourists, experienced assistance-dog trainers, mental health professionals and practitioners.
Using modern professional dog training techniques with a proven scientific basis, we provide instruction and education, with workshops, seminars and residential activities, as part of our PALS (Partner Animal Life Skills) Programme.
We welcome Veterans who wish to improve their own independence through the use of an assistance dog, and who have recognised or seen the extraordinary effects on many aspects of our lives that our dogs can bring.
Aside from disability-specific tasks for mental health, our dogs' ability to make us laugh, unconditionally love and trust us, help us feel needed, giving us consistency in our lives, and quite often removing isolation and loneliness, are only part of what makes the bond with our dogs so special.
Bringing Veterans together enables a special sense of belonging, without people having to 'explain' or justify themselves.
Not only do we see the improvements in quality of life for our Veterans, but that of their families' too, such is the profound effect of having an Assistance Dog.
Read more of The Benefits of Dog Ownership
An Assistance Dog is trained to set standards* to perform specific tasks to compensate for a qualifying disability.
Both dog and Veterans qualify together as a partnership, by training to set minimum standards* that they must meet or exceed. These partnerships are assessed on an ongoing basis and continuing afterwards.
Our dogs undergo appropriate training, and possess specific skill-sets that mitigate the challenges of a disability relating to a mental health condition, such as PTSD.
The PALS Programme has been developed by VWD, training to the standards as specified by AD(I), whilst taking into account individual needs for mental health.
This programme is guided and supported by our own behaviourists, trainers and clinical professionals.
The PALS programme is currently available to Veterans in the UK who wish to apply.
*Standards specified by Assistance Dogs UK and Assistance Dogs International