Who is a good fit for the NWBB Program?

If you’re a veteran considering applying for a service dog through Northwest Battle Buddies, you might wonder what it takes and whether you meet the criteria. Here’s all you need to know about who can apply and whether you might be a good fit.   


First, there are a few basic requirements. 

- Applicants must be Veterans who have deployed and been honorably discharged or active duty service members who have been granted permission to have a service dog by their commanding officer

- If you are on active duty, you must also have a recommendation from your rehabilitation specialist

- All participants must have a medically documented diagnosis of PTSD. 


Veteran and his service dog.


How Battle Buddies help Veterans with PTSD

When you’re paired with a Battle Buddy, you’re not just getting a pet: you’re getting a professionally trained service dog that can specifically help to address and alleviate the symptoms of PTSD. Working with a service dog can be incredibly rewarding but also requires commitment and hard work. 


An NWBB service dog might be a good fit for you if: 

- You have a medical diagnosis of PTSD that is interfering with your ability to live a full and happy life. 

- You have challenges when interacting with others or going out in public 

- You could benefit from having a constant companion that can provide comfort and emotional support

- You have the time to commit to six weeks of initial training, plus a later recertification process

- You can give a dog the exercise and attention it requires long term

- You are willing to undergo a background check and submit all required documents

- You can commit to doing what it takes to ensure that you and your Battle Buddy are adequately trained and certified

- You have considered how having a service dog will change your life, including the attention that may come with always having your dog by your side and the fact that others might know you have a disability

- You have the support of friends and family, especially those who will be living or regularly interacting with you and your service dog

- You are not currently struggling with any type of substance abuse, and if you have in the past, you are clean and sober for at least one year

- You don’t have any significant life changes that may interfere with your ability to complete training and bond with your dog


Greoup of veterans with their service dogs.


If you are approved, there is no charge to be paired with an NWBB service dog. However, your new Battle Buddy will ultimately become your constant companion and your responsibility, so you must have the time, willingness, and financial ability to take care of the service dog for its entire lifespan, just as they will be dedicated to taking care of you. 


We recommend talking to your doctor or therapist as a first step and then contacting our Veteran liaison at 360-558-2049 to learn more about the process and ask any questions you may have. We can also put you in touch with a Veteran who has been through the program so you can hear firsthand how an NWBB service dog might benefit you. 


Still have questions? Ready to apply? You can read our FAQ and access the application here. 

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