Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs

Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs

Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs (VMSD) is a not-for-profit, charitable organization that trains dogs to help veterans, military members and children who have autism.

Who are Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs?

Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs was initiated in 2016 by Sgt. 1st Class Ernie Rivera after he was severely wounded in Iraq. After returning from his deployment, he spent a year in the hospital for his treatment.

Despite having been deployed to the Middle East, Rivera said he actually lost more fellow veterans to suicide than he did to combat. After waiting for about three years to be paired with a service dog, he spent several months finishing his service dog training. His service dog instilled hope in him and gradually saved his life.

Rivera spent more than two years learning how to properly train medical service dogs and attending dog training courses. He also spent two more years training dogs and placing them with disabled service members, children with autism and veterans struggling with mental health issues.

Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs is an initiative to help veterans and servicemembers suffering from health issues find hope and a lifetime companion in their service dogs. The organization also provides therapy dogs to children suffering from autism.

Through up-to-date industry-proven techniques, VMSD provides medical service dogs entirely free of cost. This organization was started with the hope of helping fellow veterans suffering from conditions like PTSD find a forever companion and emotional support in their military dogs.

What Does VMSD Offer?

Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs trains and pairs medical service dogs for $6,000 per dog. Unlike other not-for-profit service dog training organizations, VMSD does not pay anything to officers or administrators.

Their main goal is to provide medical service dogs absolutely free of cost to struggling veterans and children who need help. Through up-to-date industrial proven techniques, the organization provides the following dogs:

  • Therapy dogs
  • Emotional support dogs
  • Autism assistance dogs
  • Veterans service dogs
  • Diabetic alarm dogs
  • Service dogs
  • Medical service dogs

Service Dogs

Service dogs are loving animals that help their owners, who suffer from a disability/condition, carry out day-to-day activities. These dogs are trained to support people suffering from diabetes, epilepsy, autism, muscular dystrophy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A service dog is entitled to full public access. Meaning, these dogs can accompany their owners wherever the owner wants, even if the place is not pet-friendly.

The dogs with the following characteristics or temperament make the best service dog types-

  • The dog should be active and have a desire to go on long walks rather than sleep all day at home.
  • The dog should have a calm demeanor.
  • The dog must be highly intelligent and good at decision-making.
  • The dog should be friendly and comfortable to be around people or in public places.
  • The dog should have an affectionate temperament and must have a loving bond with its owner.

With this in mind, the following dog breeds are best for becoming service dogs:

  • German Shepherds
  • Labradors
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Boxers
  • Poodles
  • Pomeranians
  • Great Danes
  • Portuguese water dogs
  • Border Collies
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs

Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs provides the following services:

Autism Assistance Dogs

Generally, children with autism tend to have trouble maintaining relationships and understanding social cues. Autism assistance dogs form an excellent companion to these kids who help them navigate social settings and develop meaningful relations with their peers.

These dogs bring a sense of predictability and comfort to these children, which helps them boost their self-esteem and improve communication skills.

Moreover, with their ability to love without any judgment, the dogs bring emotional stability to these children and prevent them from running away. They are also trained to find the children in case they do run away.

Diabetic Alarm Dog

Diabetic alarm dogs are specially trained to alert their owners if their blood sugar level is dangerously high or low. Like any other service dogs, these dogs, too, provide emotional support and a sense of security to their owners.

The dogs are trained to alert other people in the house if the blood sugar level of their owners is fatal. Moreover, some of the dogs are even trained to call 911 on their special K9 alert phones if no one is at home.

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Mobility Assistance Dogs

Mobility assistance dogs help people suffering from conditions like spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, muscular dystrophy, arthritis and cerebral palsy perform daily activities like opening doors, retrieving objects and pressing automatic door buttons.

These dogs are usually 55 pounds or more so that they can help their owners maintain their balance while walking. Some dogs are trained to assist their owners in a wheelchair. They can close doors, retrieve objects and open the refrigerator. They even wear a harness that allows them to pull their owner’s wheelchair.

Psychiatric Service Dogs

More commonly known as companion dogs, psychiatric service dogs are trained to assist their owners with anxiety, depression, or PTSD. These dogs are trained to sense any negative emotion or if their owner is going through a traumatic flashback, which is quite common in PTSD.

Companion dogs are more than therapy dogs or service dogs as they go through extensive training sessions to help their owners feel at home.

Seizure Alert Dogs

Seizure alert dogs help their owners before, after and during a seizure. Their responsibilities include:

  • Calling 911 on special K9 alert phones
  • Finding help for the person
  • Using deep pressure stimulation technique to end seizures early
  • Bring medicine to the patient after a seizure
  • Helping their owner regain consciousness

Kids Summer Camp

To help kids participate in an educational session on how to train a service dog, Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs is organizing a kids’ summer camp that will take place June 2 at 10 a.m.

The camp will be open to children on Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more details, you can email them at erivera@vmsd.org.

Group Classes

VMSD has the following group classes where your dogs can learn to become well-behaved animals.

At least four teams must be enrolled in each group for the class to take place.

Puppy Classes

These classes are eight weeks long, where basic training and knowledge will be provided to your puppy to get him back on track. The total cost of this group is $399.

Group Obedience

These eight-week long classes include a series of sessions where you will learn with your dog. After the sessions, you are required to take the dog home and make him practice the lessons. Although this group is a little cheaper than personal training, colossal commitment is required on the owner’s part to make the training effective. This program costs $399.

Introduction to Detection

Costing $399, this eight-week long introduction to detection course offers specialized dog training sessions, which increase the senses of your dog.

Service Dog Training

This training involves intensive training sessions to train dogs to help people suffering from mental or physical disabilities. The dogs learn to assist, compound and support the owner’s

everyday activities to mitigate any disability. This training is one-year long and costs $2,500.

Private Lessons

If you want your dog to receive undivided attention and want the dog to attend training exclusively, private lessons might be the best option.

Generally, there are two private lessons offered by VMSD:

Basic Obedience

This introductory program is for those who want their dogs to learn basic instructions like sit, come, stay, down and loose leash walking. The program also addresses any behavioral problems your dog might have. It costs $499 for eight one-hour sessions.

Advanced Obedience

This private lesson includes 10, one-hour sessions and a one-year follow-up program. It is perfect for dog owners who are going through significant intervention. It cost $699.

In Kennel Board and Train

In kennel board and train programs are perfect for those who are looking for entire dog training packages. There are two packages offered by VMSD-

2 Weeks Board and Train

This two-week-long program costs $799.

3 Weeks Board and Train

The program costs $899.

How Do I Contact VMSD?

You can contact Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs by calling at (321) 696-0303.

They are located in Florida. You can also contact them by filling out the form on their official website.

Donate to VK9MSD

You can help veterans get a lifetime companion by donating to Valor K9 Medical Service Dogs by clicking this link.

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