Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations,
Mission: (1) be the premier, national, not-for-profit organization for veterans seeking and receiving assistance/service or skilled companion dogs at no cost to the veterans; (2) be the most effective and trusted resource to provide canine therapy for veterans; (3) optimize veterans' employment in distributing service dogs to veterns to meet growing demands, (4) make a meaningful difference in the lives of our veterans and increase their safety and independence within their environment; and (5) educate veterans, the health care community servicing them, and the general public on the efficacy of assistance/service dogs and canine therapy.
Programs: Vmf assistance/service, facility and companion dogs, the organization's most valuable assets, are provided at no cost to disabled veterans, whether the disabilities were incurred during military service or during private life following that service. It costs vmf as much as $35,000 to raise, train and place an assistance dog, depending upon its ultimate role and the complexity of the veterans's needs being served. Each of vmf's highly trained dogs is assessed throughout an ongoing 18 to 24 months training and placement cycle, to ensure the service dog is trained to meet a disabled veteran's specific needs. Vmf does not maintain a fixed training facility. Our service and therapy dogs are trained at volunteers' homes in catharpin and hamilton, va and at local partner facilities. Vmf stays involved after the dog is placed as well, evaluating the continuing effectiveness of the relationship, again, at no cost to the veteran vmf relies on the support of its generous donors as well as more than 30,000 volunteer hours during 2014. Veterans moving forward continues to have an all volunteer, non-paid staff, and, for the first time in our organization's history we have benefited from the services provided by a federal employee under the provisions of the intergovernmental personnel act mobility program. Following are specific program service accomplishments in 2014:1. Placed third vmf-raised/trained service dog "katrina" with a marine veteran; placed fourth vmf-raised/trained sercice dog "storm" with an army veteran; placed fifth vmf-raised/trained service dog "jug" with an air force veteran. 2. Placed our first vmf-raised/trained facility dog "neil" with a licensed clinical physician treating us marines and their families at camp lejeune, nc. 3. Trained an additional five puppies to become assistance/service dogs for veterans with mental or physical challenges via the vmf training pipeline. 4. Provided therapy dog teams to engage in animal-assisted therapy with private practice clinicians (psychologists, psychotherapists, lcsws, and lpcs) working in various northern virginia, maryland, west virginia, washington dc, and pennsylvania facilities treating veterans with traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) depression, substance abuse, and 12-step programs; provided hundreds of "comfort dog" team engagements for animal-assisted activities with veterans at medical centers, veteran support groups, and outreach events. 5. Worked with veterans to execute vmf programs to raise, socialize, and train assistance/service dogs for veterans and to raise awareness of the needs of the nation's disabled veterans. 6. Educated hundreds of veterans, their families, and health care teams on the value of therapy and service dogs and the processes involved in obtaining a qualified service dog.