Pacific Assistance Dogs Society
Pacific Assistance Dogs Society is one of the recipients of the 2021 Bell True Patriot Love Fund. Below they’ve answered some questions to help us learn a little more about their program, what they hope to achieve, and what they aim to do with the funding provided.
1. Tell me a little bit about your organization and its mission.
Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) is celebrating 35 years of changing lives in 2022. We breed, raise and train fully certified assistance dogs. Our service which includes mobility, PTSD and hearing dogs, provides life-changing independence to those with disabilities other than blindness. Our accredited facility dogs work with community professionals, such as teachers, RCMP and psychologists to help support healthy communities. PADS is a fully accredited member of Assistance Dogs International, the worldwide governing body of assistance dog programs.
2. Can you describe your program in 3-4 sentences, including outlined objectives the program aims to achieve?
The PADS Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Service Dog program strives to provide life-changing assistance dogs to Military Veterans and First Responders with occupational PTSD or Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) injuries. The dogs are purpose bred for high resilience and then trained for nearly 3 years both by volunteers and highly skilled professional trainers. Their specifically bred natures as well as their many skills aim to support wellness and social reintegration in a wide variety of ways. A decrease of PTSD related symptoms, increased quality of life and social reintegration are actively tracked objectives of the program.
3. What is the desired outcome of your program and its impact on the Veteran and military community?
Recent research indicates clinically significant and reliable data that Veterans matched with a service dog showed a significant decrease in PTSD and depression symptoms. In addition, most participants reported significant reductions in anger and improvement in perceived social support and quality of life.
Research is vital to validating our work, but so are the real people with real stories. One of the most common things we hear from our recipients is that they wouldn’t be here today if not for the PADS Service Dog they were matched with. When they had given up hope of ever having a “normal” life again, their PADS PTSD Service Dog came in and changed everything for them. This is our desired outcome: lives changed and lives saved.
The impact of a PADS PTSD Service Dog spreads far beyond the individual, the healing and wholeness the Veteran experiences ultimately impacts their family, friends and community.
4. What does this grant from the Bell True Patriot Love Fund mean to you?
It is absolutely vital. In a time when funding is scarce, the True Patriot Love grant gives us confidence to move forward breeding, raising, training—and most importantly matching—more life-changing dogs to their Veterans. The result is lives forever changed and in many cases – saved. On behalf of all those that will benefit from your generosity, we thank you sincerely.