About Salute of Service Salute of Service is a 501c3 nonprofit grassroots service dog training program which is currently raising funds to assist Maine veterans who need service dogs. As result of the successful Owner Trained Service Dog Program at the University of Maine at Machias, several veterans approached our trainer to see if there was any way that a similar program could be set up to help veterans in need of assistance. Since our inception in 2014 we have successfully trained over 150 veteran / service dog teams. In many cases, this type of training can be done with pet dogs that the veterans already own, but for those without dogs the program will provide task matching and search support services so that they can get an ideal service dog candidate suited to assist them. Salute of Service hopes that by having disabled veterans play an integral role in the training process, they will not only build strong bonds with their service dogs, but they will also benefit from the camaraderie fostered in group training with other veterans. The group training sessions will help the veterans reclaim parts of their lives and activities that are more challenging because of their injuries and will also feed their self-esteem by supporting a “ yes I can” ethic—an important part of military culture. When several providers of veterans services were contacted about starting this type of service dog training program for veterans, they were interested, but coming up with the money to pay for the program was a stumbling block. But in the military tradition of achieving important objectives the veterans themselves have started a fund-raising campaign to support this needed and worthy cause. The cost of producing one owner trained service dog in this type of program is approximately $3000, and this includes the 3 phase training of obedience, specific tasks and public access skills. All of this training is independently tested, verified, and documented. The dogs also receive adaptive equipment designed to help their disabled partners and some special health and soundness screening to ensure that the dogs are ready, willing and able to provide the needed assistance. We feel that our vets have paid enough with their service, so we want to offer them this free training as a thank you. Also by offering owner training for service dog, we can serve as many vets as possible for the money donated. Finally, the benefits of involving the veterans in the training process and providing them with the peer to peer support of other veterans who have similar or shared history and experiences cannot be understated. Salute of Service is only able to provide this vital training through the funding we receive from donation from generous people like yourself. Please help us to continue our much needed and important work.
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