The urgent needs of military veterans and first responders with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) provided a beacon for Helping Paws to broaden its mission to meet this need. In a few short years, Helping Paws service dogs have helped veterans and first responders affected by trauma lead more fulfilling lives.

If you are a veteran or first responder with PTSD who is interested in applying for a service dog and you meet our Eligibility Requirements, please start the application process by completing a Letter of Interest.

Eligibility Requirements Application Process Letter of Interest 

How can an Assistance Dog help a veteran or first responder with PTSD?

  • By acting as a barrier in crowds, allowing the veteran the choice to maintain personal space or boundaries
  • By waking or reorienting the veteran when he or she has nightmares or flashbacks
  • By turning on a light in a dark room
  • By entering a room before the veteran enters to relieve the veteran’s hypervigilance<
  • By bringing the veteran a phone to talk to someone about anxiety
  • By ‘speaking’ on command to either draw attention to a veteran or act as a deterrent if the veteran is feeling threatened
  • By helping reduce anxiety by touching and being close to the veteran
  • By being a trusted companion and providing unconditional love every minute of every day

Are you eligible to receive a Helping Paws Assistance Dog? You must be

  • A veteran or first responder with a diagnosis of PTSD
  • A resident within Minnesota or the bordering areas of the surrounding states
  • Financially able to take full responsibility for a dog, including but not limited to dog food and veterinary care. Costs such as annual vaccinations, additional veterinary needs, dog food and dog toys may cost upwards of $1,000 per year.
  • Able to attend the Team Training course held at the Helping Paws Training Center in Hopkins, MN
  • Willing to participate in follow-up training
  • Able to provide a stable home environment

Meet some of our recent veteran and first responder graduates.