The information you provide in the Service Dog Application is reviewed and you will be contacted for any clarifications and follow-up actions. There will be several phone and/or e-mail conversations with you to ensure your application package is complete and to address any questions you may have. VMF requires a current, up-to-date medical history to include current medications, treatment plans, and evidence of compliance with treatment, etc. VMF has board-certified health care professionals as members of our veteran-canine placement committee and they will communicate with your health care team to help determine if a service dog is appropriate for you. You will need to ensure a signed “release form” is on file with your health care team to ensure they will accept VMF inquiries to confirm your patient status and to discuss your condition(s) with your doctors, nurses and other members of your healthcare team. Once your application package and preliminary interviews are complete, VMF will arrange a visit, generally over a weekend, for you to travel to VMF’s Canine Training and Veteran Support Center in Northern Virginia. This weekend visit consists primarily of two critical meetings of a couple hours duration each that occur on separate days during the weekend. The first meeting is with the medical professionals on the veteran-canine placement team to review your medical history and current medications, and to discuss your disability. This meeting is intended to ensure VMF knows all it needs to in order to determine if VMF’s services can help you.
- The second meeting is with VMF’s assistance dogs in training team – both humans and canines in our large spacious training center. You will meet the assistance dogs in training that have completed their initial advance training and are eligible for Veteran-matching .You will have time to play and interact with these dogs and ask any questions of our Canine team about each individual ADIT.
- This weekend visit is all about “fit” and establishing a working relationship.
- Do we think we can help you?
- Do we have a dog suitable for your needs?
- Do you like us?
- Can you work with us?
- Are you able to comply with VMF’s training requirements?
- Are you committed to taking good care of a service dog?
- Are you prepared for the changes that will occur by bringing a dog into your life/family/home?
- Are you ready to move forward?
After your weekend visit with VMF and if the Veteran-Canine teams and you, the Veteran, agree we can work together then we take the next steps in your journey with VMF to acquire a Service dog. Members of our Veteran-canine placement team will work with you to schedule a visit to your home and local community. VMF’s Director of Canine Operations will be in contact with you to discuss specifics about your challenges and the skills that your matched ADIT will be working on during their Veteran specific training. Again, we need to know about you and your lifestyle in order to tailor the designated dog’s training to your specific situation and needs.