THE VICD SERVICE DOG PROGRAM
VICD, a Division of BC & Alberta Guide Dogs, endeavours to help people with Operational Stress Injuries (OSI), such as Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD).
Too often the trauma of service or the workplace leaves Veterans and First Responders with deep scars that make life challenging, if not impossible. At VICD, our goal is to offer families a reprieve from the suffering.
VICD matches recipients with a Service Dog that meets all of the Assistance Dogs International (ADI) standards and has specific additional traits that demonstrate suitability for the work. Together they embark on a unique 52-Week Healthy Community Living Program that helps transition the recipient back into their communities, providing them with renewed purpose, confidence and unconditional support.
Our PTSD Service Dogs provide a living, breathing lifeline to the outside world. While each bond is unique, the objective remains the same: to empower Veterans and First Responders with the tools to reclaim their place in the community and rebuild their lives.
THE 52-WEEK HEALTHY COMMUNITY LIVING PROGRAM
We train both client and dog as one unified team, creating a powerful bond based on trust and mutual service.
They attend twice-weekly training sessions over the course of one year, guided by professional trainers and a mental health clinical practitioner. This training is a reward-based core skills program that helps our clients achieve their goals, while also culminating in the successful graduation of a fully certified PTSD Service Dog Team under Assistance Dogs International and the Guide and Service Dog Acts of British Columbia and Alberta.
The bond created through each team is life altering. Our dogs learn to be emotionally tuned to their person and their unique triggers. They’re able to wake clients from nightmares, ground them during a hyper-aroused state, and support them unconditionally through the stresses and trauma of everyday life.
Consistent connection is at the heart of our program, which is why once our clients’ graduate from our program, they enter into a continued Graduate Aftercare and Education program with VICD for the life of their certification. We also encourage graduates to consider sharing their experience with new teams through our mentorship program.
Graduates express that their PTSD Service Dogs give them confidence to reintegrate into society, and more importantly, to interact in healthy ways with their family, friends and the communities where they live.
Who Qualifies for our Service Dogs and Program
Our applicants must have psychological injuries and trauma-related injuries as designated in the DSM-V caused by performance of their occupation as a Veteran or First Responder.
HOW TO APPLY TO THE VICD SERVICE DOG PROGRAM
Our applicants must meet the criteria as set by the Aanderson Prescriber Guidelines (PDF, 4.4MB) and have documentation from a regulated mental health professional stating how those criteria are met.
Please submit completed applications to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to 7061 Ladner Trunk Road, Delta BC, V4K 3N3 – Attn: VICD Service Dog Program
If you are a professional making a referral, please consult the guidelines to see if this type of intervention is appropriate for your patient, and to assess their readiness for a Service Dog. Your recommendation must be on your official letterhead.