Our Companion Dog program is program designed for Veterans who don’t need or desire a fully trained PTSD Service Dog, but stand to benefit greatly from a well-trained, four-legged battle buddy and companion, particularly when home alone or at night. This companion dog program will span approximately 8 weeks and 75 training hours, graduating with the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate. It does NOT, however, provide the privileges reserved for Service Dogs and you must comply with all rules and expectations applicable to a pet family dog.Apply Now
K9s on The Front Line provides their services to military Veterans with PTSD and/or TBI whose invisible wounds are connected to having served in combat or military conflict zones. Our team has first-hand knowledge of the effects of PTSD and better yet, our trainers are the best of the best – active or retired police or military K9 handlers with many years of real world experience, and a full understanding of the battles that brought you to us.
Once we receive your application and review it, our team will contact you and make sure we fully understand your specific situation.
We will then meet you to discuss further details and have any questions answered. You are also welcome to visit one of our ongoing Veteran classes.
We will then explore what temperament, size and type of dog you desire and need. Our team will then find the best possible K9 candidate for you, with your input.
Both programs feature classes of 4-6 Veterans that are held once a week for two hours, at varying locations, and strive to accommodate everyone’s schedule. You are required to keep a training log and record a minimum of 2 training hours daily, in addition to providing enough exercise.
K9sOTFL is committed to our growing family of Veterans and our trainers are available for any follow-up you may need. We encourage you to help others and sustain the program.Apply now
Our Veterans, In Their Own Words.
Before I got Clara, I was struggling with life after three deployments as a combat medic. Crushing guilt about soldiers I had lost in combat slowly turned into a vicious cycle of anger, alcohol and depression. I lost all sense of purpose and was truly without hope. Initially, I was not happy about my family connecting me to K9sOTFL. I did not want to be a walking billboard telling the world that I was broken. Then I noticed how Clara just seemed to know what I needed to ground me and keep me in the moment. Soon I was going out to stores again and I even smiled. We both worked hard and graduated. Clara has saved my life in many ways and she is like a fellow soldier that now has my six and gives me the confidence to move forward and be successful. K9sOTFL has given me so much of my life back and asked for nothing in return. They are always right behind me, so I can stop running and avoiding, and instead become healthier and happier every day.
I am proud to report as of right now I have made Dean’s list twice consecutively now with a GPA of 3.6. I have never done this well in school and I do believe much of that focus and ability is in major part from all your help and support, as well as the day to day support I get from my service dog. Theo has helped me through some very difficult times in the past couple of years and has been a constant light in my day. He and you have really proven that it just takes one step and one friend to help make a brother’s or sister’s life easier to manage. I am now entering my third year in the civilian world and I don’t think I would have made it this far without you.
US Marine Corps
I was mentally sliding downhill and not willing to lose everything. Building a bond and relationship with Max as my battle buddy has taught me how to reconnect socially and emotionally, and to feel less isolated. With every success I feel a sense of pride and achievement, because I taught him and he taught me how to get there. Having a service dog seems intimidating at times, like it's broadcasting my mental state for the world to see and maybe judge. The world doesn't matter, though. Max is the one that has my back no matter what. I think he's the best risk I've ever taken. Thank you K9s on The Front Line, you changed my life.
For years I stayed by myself, it was my comfort zone, but it led to isolation and serious depression. Angel has given me the reason for getting out of bed. Her unconditional love has given me hope. When I first met K9sOTFL, I really didn’t know if I could be around that many new people and I remember looking for the exits. From the beginning everyone has been warm, loving and caring. This kindness was hard for me to process. Each week of the course gave me more confidence, each week I felt more connected to the K9sOTFL family and it was great to be with other veterans. Angel becoming a service dog has given me a sense of pride. I look forward to getting out of bed now. K9sOTFL’s program has given me the ability to significantly decrease the medications I had been taken for many years.
Having Magnum in my life has given me my freedom back and lets me be in control of my life instead of my PTSD. I am now able to travel, enjoying time with my family, and I am emotionally available to my children again. Even after the program ended for me, K9sOTFL has stood by me and my family on a moment’s notice. Unexpected problems got solved, great advice has been given, and personal tragedy was overcome thanks in part to my K9sOTFL family. I can always count on them, thank you.
Thank you Team K9sOTFL for giving me this lifesaving opportunity. Leo and I have become a heck of a team; my Battle Buddy keeps standing watch. He has become a part of me and an extension of me. Leo has helped me better myself and my life. I have seen such a change in he and myself, I feel like a part of me is missing when he is not by my side. This is a precious gift and has helped me in so many ways, more than most people realize and that many will never understand. To my Brothers and Sisters who know exactly know what I am talking about, don’t be afraid to reach out.
When I reached out to K9s on The Front Line I had lost all hope, not realizing that only one week later I would be introduced to my new best friend Goose. After receiving Goose, I noticed instantaneous change, and for the first time in ages I had something to think about other than my PTSD related anxieties. I had someone watching my back from all the worries that would overcome my daily life tasks. This dog has not just improved my life but my family’s well-being, too. I have little to no crowd issues when he’s by my side and he can sense when I’m having a bad day. Living is something I can now enjoy with my family, instead of being overwhelmed by guilt and regret. Thank you K9sOTFL!
It may sound over the top, but in some ways, it is a matter of life and death. I’ve been to the edge with my thoughts. Dawson helps to center me, or find a place where I am not as numb. He is trained to sense my trigger situations and settle me down. In stores, he will sit behind me to provide the additional personal space I need in lines. Dawson is just a fun partner and he keeps it light.
US Air Force
This organization is amazing. I graduated and it really does make a difference. No more panic attacks that sent me to the ER. I can leave the house without fear or hesitation. Rebel made my life become a lot better, I don’t know what I would have done without K9sOTFL.
I am a Vietnam Vet and spent two tours in Nam. I have struggled for many years with PTSD, and was planning on being one of the 22 Veterans per day who choose to end it rather than keep living it. I was taking pills to go to bed and taking pills to get through the day. I found K9sOTFL and after only 12 weeks with my dog I don’t take pills anymore. I look forward to getting up each day and I don’t have nightmare anymore. Thank you K9sOTFL for giving me a new life. God bless you all.
They gave me a new best friend and gave me my life back. If I am down and my mind is in a bad spot, she knows. She lifts me up and makes it feel okay... like I’m allowed to have a bad day and she’ll still be right there with me.
I graduated from the K9sOTFL program just before Christmas, and I take less anxiety medicine every day. I don’t even bring an emergency stash with me when I leave the house. I get into my truck and feel calmer knowing Paddy is with me. We completed this program together and I would be in a much darker place without him.
Prior to having JB, my life was pretty lonely. I didn't leave the house except to go to my VA appointments. I have not felt much connection to the world around me for the last 10 years. Since my retirement, my health had been in a constant downward spiral. Getting my health, focus and motivation back had only been a dream, until I connected with K9sOTFL…...I was blown away! I felt like the universe was saying ‘Paul you asked for this, you need this, so here you go, the rest is up to you’. I was ready for things to change, to get my life back and so much more. I am eternally grateful for finding K9sOTFL and completing their amazing program, and making new friends for life. This program is making a huge difference in the lives of Veterans.
To qualify for our program, you:
No, our program is entirely funded by charitable and private donations and completely free of charge for you. However, you must be able to financially afford having a dog. This includes veterinary care, dog food and other routine miscellaneous expenses.
We do our best to match the appropriate dog temperament to each individual Veteran. However, every dog needs daily exercise – tired dogs make for happy handlers. At a minimum, you must be able to walk your dog for at least one mile, twice a day. K9s on The Front Line’s Service Dogs are not designed for physical impairments – if this is what you are searching for please reach out to us and we will work with you to find an organization that can help you.
The Service Dog program will have you log at least 240 training hours and 60 public access hours, over a period of 5-6 months. During that time you need to attend weekly, supervised training sessions, every week. Missed training sessions must be made up. You need to have at least two hours of daily training at home, and record these home sessions in a log.
The companion dog program is similar in structure, but substantially shorter, with approximately 75 training ours over an 8-week period.
K9s on The Front Line assumes no financial responsibility for the animal provided to the Veteran. Although we are involved with the matching and procurement of a suitable K9 for each Veteran, it is imperative that each Veteran, and their family, understand that there is a financial commitment to caring for your dog.
Your K9 partner will be YOUR Service Dog but will undoubtably become a part of your family. Family members are not advised to feed the dog, exercise the dog, or train the dog. This is your job as the dog’s handler, and it cannot be delegated. The training philosophy and methodology you will learn is based on hundreds of combined years of our police K9 handlers’ street experience. If these basic responsibilities are passed on to others in your family, the K9 does not know who he is working for. If you want the program to work for you, you must trust the process!
The first few weeks can be tough – we won’t lie to you! When your patience wears thin, think about how your dog must be feeling. They are in a brand-new place with brand new people. They could be your best friend immediately or they might be slow to trust and slow to open up. Either situation is fine! Dogs are emotionally intelligent creatures with feelings and insecurities of their own. Every Veteran who has completed our program has joked about wanting to quit at some point in their first few weeks. This program is a two-way street; your dog wants you to be his partner, not his dictator. Allow your dog to be imperfect, to make mistakes. Allow your dog to have an off-day – they are certainly going to allow this for you. Rarely, we have had the circumstance that dog and Veteran just weren’t a good match and we work with them to find another dog.
We consider Veterans with an existing dog to be trained as their future Service Dog, in select circumstances only, and after passing a number of tests for suitability by our police K9 trainers. In our experience, most existing pet/family dogs do not qualify as a suitable Service K9 candidate. In such cases, some Veterans added a Service Dog to their household, and everything worked out very well. This is handled on a case by case basis as adding another pet to a household adds a dynamic that cannot always be foreseen.
If the Companion Dog program sounds like the right fit for you or your loved one, click below to download our checklist and application. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.Apply Now
Need to get in touch? Fill out our contact form with your name and information, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.