Frequently Asked Questions
Please read carefully before filling out an application.
Do I have to be a veteran to apply?
Veterans or those in the Warrior Transition Battalion are eligible to apply.
Do I have to live in Colorado Springs, CO to apply?
We recommend that applicants live in Colorado Springs or surrounding areas so they can easily travel to our training partner’s facility and participate in public access practice sessions. Participants will be required to participate in 1-2 sessions per week as part of our training program for the 18 months to 2 years it takes to complete the program. We have found that those who live outside of the area struggle to attend training regularly.
What type of service dogs do you train?
We train for those diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, and some mobility issues.
How much does it cost to get a dog from you?
There is a $25 application fee to apply. Once accepted into the program and paired with a dog, clients will be expected to pay a non-refundable program fee of $460. Victory Service Dogs will pay for the service or support dog training to be completed after the basic obedience classes are complete. VSD asks clients who are financially able to help cover the cost of adopting a dog when possible. Clients are responsible for the daily care of the animal.
If I don’t get accepted, will you refund my $25 application fee?
The $25 application fee is nonrefundable, that fee helps offset the cost of processing your application.
How long does it take to get my dog?
Once we have successfully completed the interview process, we will begin looking for a match for you. We will work hard to find the right fit for your lifestyle and individual needs, but cannot guarantee how long that will take due to the many factors that can affect this process. If you have specific breed requirements, the wait time may be longer.
What do you mean the dog will remain the property of Victory Service Dogs until graduation?
Dogs placed by Victory Service Dogs will remain the property of Victory Service Dogs, they will be considered “foster dogs” while the veteran completes the training program. It is a lot of work and sometimes quite expensive to find a dog we feel is capable of service work. If the veteran is unable to complete the program, the dog will be returned to Victory Service Dogs and reassigned to another veteran. When the veteran completes the program, part of the graduation ceremony will include signing over ownership of the dog to the veteran.
If I have my own dog, can I still apply?
Applicants with their own dogs may apply. VSD will temperament test the dog to see if we feel it would make a good service candidate. If the dog is a good candidate, the training will begin. If the dog is not a good candidate, VSD will discuss options with the candidate. Our goal at Victory Service Dogs is not to have applicants rehome their dogs if they are not service dog candidates, we want to keep dogs in their homes. There are also applicants that may need a dog with a few special skills and not necessarily a fully trained service dog, which will be identified during the interview process.
Should I adopt a puppy?
Victory Service Dogs tries to pair young adult dogs ages 1-4 yrs with veterans when possible. There are a lot of aspects that affect whether a dog will make a good service dog or not, some of which are not known until the dog is closer to adulthood. We generally will not recommend adopting a puppy in most cases.
Do I need service dog or just a skilled companion dog?
A service dog is an assistance trained dog for an individual with disabilities. That individual would be unable to function in certain areas of life without the help of the service dog. Some people may not need a dog to take everywhere, but rather a well trained dog that has been trained to do a few tasks to help the veteran at home and in settings where dogs are allowed. Victory Service Dogs can help with both service dogs and skilled companion dogs.
Does my whole family or any roommates need to attend the interview?
Spouses, partners, roommates or anyone living in the home are encouraged to attend the interview. We don’t recommend bringing children along to the interview since we discuss sensitive topics, however they are welcome and encouraged to attend the training classes. The more involved the family and/or support system is in the process, the more everyone will be on the same page and the more successful your dog will be.
Does Victory Service Dogs guarantee that my dog or a dog placed in my home will be able to be a service dog with full access rights after the temperament test?
No, there is no guarantee with behavior and living beings. Our temperament test gives us an idea of who the dog is in a single moment of time. The test gives us an idea of how the dog handles stress, their recovery time, novel stimuli, and sociability skills. Many aspects of both the environment and the genetic make-up of the dog can affect behavior. There is no perfect dog, each one is an individual with their own interests, quirks, and personalities. We will work with the clients as needed on unwanted behaviors that surface throughout the training and after graduation.
Do I need to recertify with my dog after graduation?
Yes, dog and handler teams will need to recertify every 3 years by passing the public access test. The public access test will be a part of the graduation process and demonstrates the dog and handler’s ability to cope in a variety of public situations.