Service Dogs for Veterans

We provide training for service dog teams based on each Veteran’s unique requirements. We assist Veterans in training their own dogs (who qualify as such) since they often already have a close bond that gives a strong foundation in creating a successful team. We also place dogs from rescues and fosters that match the specialized needs of the Veteran. The Service Dog must help to assist in preventing and aiding in symptoms of many disabilities such as PTSD, balance problems, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and working with tools such as canes and wheelchairs. By teaching the dog to alert, detect and support the disability, the Veteran can become more independent. We want our Veterans to have greater independence, self-reliance and mobility through Service Dog training. Our clients are involved in every step of training including in-home sessions.

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Service Dogs for Youth
(Under 18 with legal guardian)

We specialize in a personalized approach to help our young handlers become more self-reliant and overcome the challenges faced in the home and in public -- to perform the necessary tasks for self-sufficiency. These Service Dogs increase freedom and independence and help assist in preventing symptoms of many disabilities such as autism, diabetes, epilepsy, PTSD, balance problems and working with tools such as canes and wheelchairs. Clients under 18 must have a legal guardian and provide medical documentation so that training supports the disability, special needs and lifestyle of that individual.

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Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

We are happy to train those with disabilities in the skills needed with ESAs. Clients would begin the training program with all the same requirements, but are not required to pass Pubic Access TEST.

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is a companion animal that a medical professional has determined provides benefit for an individual with a disability. This may include improving at least one symptom of the disability. Emotional Support Animals may be used by people with a range of physical, psychiatric, or intellectual disabilities. To be prescribed an Emotional Support Animal, the person seeking such an animal must have a verifiable disability. To be afforded protection under United States federal law, a person must meet the federal definition of a disability and must have a note from a physician or other medical professional stating that the person has that disability, and that the Emotional Support Animal provides a benefit for the individual with the disability.

An Emotional Support Animal does NOT have the same Public Access as a Service Animal that has been trained to perform at least three viable tasks for the disability or disabilities. However, we have a special training program for Emotional Support Animals. All animals which aid, and support disabilities should be extremely well-trained and have good manners since they will be living and/or flying with their handlers. We will help train your own dog or we will assist in placing a dog that supports your disability, environment and lifestyle.

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ADA Service Dog Business Training

THE ISSUE: Business owners or employees that deny a person and their Service Dog access to their business is a violation of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) Law, which can lead to legal action and Federal fines up to $50,000 per complaint. Are you and your employees adequately educated on ADA law and prepared to handle these circumstances? Protect your business by educating your employees. Training is based on requirements under the ADA and the New Mexico Disabilities Commission.

There is a lack of national education regarding ADA law as it applies to Service Dogs and with the number of FALSE service and “Pets with a vest” on the rise, it is crucial for businesses to be protected and educated regarding their rights and responsibilities. There is no certification for Service Dogs under the ADA. However, there are strict parameters for those who try to pass off a pet as a Service Dog. There are also Service Dogs that are not properly trained, and their behavior does not represent a true Service Dog, potentially creating multiple problems for businesses.

Many people have a disability, making it difficult for them to do everyday tasks and their Service Dog makes independence possible. There is an incredible amount of time and money invested in a well-trained Service Dog, not to mention the incredible benefits of being able to live a full and productive life. Being a Vietnam Era Disabled Veteran, the SDNM Executive Director knows firsthand the many benefits of a Service Dog. Dealing with PTSD, TBI and other mental/physical issues, and logistical limits everyday life, a Service Dog is instrumental in one's general ability to live a balanced life, including venturing into various businesses.

THE SOLUTION: Make sure your business is compliant with ADA law as it refers to Service Dogs. Businesses have the responsibility of effectively identifying the proper course of action to take to avoid violations. Properly trained employees make the difference in the lives of people with disabilities who rely on these highly-trained service dogs and will save your business the potential of hefty Federal Fines and legal action. Educating your business is crucial since there is a fine line between “no national certification” for Service Dogs and your rights as a business.

Call SDNM to set up a time for training. There is a $50 charge for training, which includes your information package, our open line for your questions and an identifiable door sticker that assures you and your employees have been trained in ADA Law regarding Service Animals.

We raise awareness in the community and state by educating business in the Americans Disability Act. If you want to learn more about service dogs and the ADA, please contact us.

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