Where are you located?

We are located in Western South Dakota and are focused on meeting the demand for service dogs in the local Black Hills region. While we are targeting western South Dakota, we will work with every applicant meeting the requirements to pair them with a service dog or partnering agency who may be able to assist them better. The goal is to never leave a Veteran or first responder to struggle on there own.  

How much does a service dog cost?
 

SDSD does not charge for their service dogs. We believe that our community should take care of those who at one time wrote a blank check-in service to our country and have come home with battle scars, whether seen or unseen.

 

The approximate Minimum Cost of a Service Dog is:

Initial Series of Puppy Vaccinations $75

Spaying/Neutering Cost $90

MicroChip $35

Kennel for Crate Training$ 90

Initial Leash and Harness $100

Additional Leash and Harness after growth spurt $100

Adoption Fee/Donation to Shelter (if applicable) $100

Nylabone Chew Toys (at least 2 toys, maybe more) $40

Food for 12 months ($40 per month for 1 bag) $480

Annual Well Puppy Visits to the Vet $55

Local License & Registration Fees $15

Periodic Grooming as needed $100

Initial 6 week $110

Puppy Training $110

Basic Training $110

Intermediate Training $110

Advanced Training $110

 

Service Dog Task Training

$5,000-$15,000 depending

How do I get a service dog?

SDSD requires that an application be completed before any conversations can take place about a Service Dog. This is where we learn more about you to determine how or if we can assist with training a Service Dog to help with your disabilities. But it all begins with the submission of an application

I submitted my application. What's next?

SDSD thanks you for taking the time to read through the introductory letter and complete the application. We realize that it is not a quick process, but neither is that of training you and a Service Dog. As you know, we are operated by non-paid volunteers. Once you have submitted an application, one of those volunteers will contact you, usually within the next calendar month. They will review your application, answer any questions and may even ask for clarification. They will then review this information with the local Trainers to determine if we can proceed forward with matching you up with a dog that will fit your lifestyle and help with your disabilities. They will be in contact with you to set up an interview with a local Trainer and come out to maybe observe a training session or attend an event or other public networking. This will help you to observe what our expectations are of you. We will not simply turn over a dog to you. We expect a commitment from you to yourself and that dog to attend frequent training sessions, participate in community outreach, and get to know the other Veterans and First Responder Members. We commit to training and support over the life of the Service Dog, so it is not a quick process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why a Service Dog?

While there have been several studies done on mobility-trained service dogs, and they are more common to the public, PTSD and TBI service dogs have a much different view from not only the public but the medical world as well. According to the Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience1, PTSD is not just a psychological disability it is actually an injury to the brain. Studies have shown people with PTSD have alterations in the brain including the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex as well as neurochemical stress response systems. This causes heightened startled responses, memory loss, numbing/avoidance, and sleep disturbance. It also causes higher depression rates. Oxytocin helps to release the brain and body’s response to social and environmental challenges by reducing stress. According to Psychiatric Annals2, dogs offer a safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive way to increase a brain’s oxytocin in a person suffering from PTSD. A service dog must do more than just help reduce stress, it has to provide specific tasks to be within the regulation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Warrior Canine Connection (WCC) has been providing soldiers with PTSD and TBIs the ability to train service dogs for other soldiers that have physical impairments as mobility training dogs. Some of the research shown proves to be effective in getting soldiers with PTSD back into normal life while with the service dog in training. Many soldiers suffering from PTSD will isolate themselves. Part of the service dog training is making sure the dogs are exposed to several different experiences in the public. This requires the soldier to be in public with the dog and when the dog alerts the soldier to when a car backfires or when people are coming around a corner they focus more on the dog than the potential trigger that could cause increased anxieties. This helps the soldier to focus on other things than racing/intrusive thoughts, etc. It also helps the soldier to decrease their startle reflex which can cause severe flashbacks and panic attacks. Dogs are also very sensitive to chemical changes in a person’s body. Service dogs can alert a person to a panic attack before they happen, bring them required medication, or get them to a safe place usually outside if in a crowded area. This is very similar to a diabetes alert service dog or any other medical service dog. Service dogs also learn to keep people from getting too close so they are able to go into public and lead normal lives while the service dog helps to keep the watchful eye so the soldier doesn’t have to be hyper-vigilant. They are also trained for the specific needs of each person. Many soldiers coming back have respiratory3 issues and may have to wear CPAPs or BiPAP at night. Service dogs can be trained to alert the person to leaking masks or wake a person from nightmares to keep them from going into a flashback. Many people suffering from PTSD and/or TBIs have found service dogs get them back into society and improve their lives considerably. It not only provides a companion but also helps give the person the ability to de-escalate issues attributed to PTSD and TBIs quickly and lets them carry on with their daily activities instead of isolating themselves making for a more productive community as a whole.