|• I am a
veteran that has served in the Iraq/Afghanistan
• I am a resident of CA. (to be eligible for a
Service Dog, you must be a California resident
at the time of placement
and for the first year where follow up may be needed)
• I have an adequate support system of family
• I am physically and financially able to take
care of a dog in a safe and loving environment
• I am currently in treatment for PTSD and have
been for at least 8 consecutive months
• I can provide a referral from a licensed
psychiatric clinician (VA or private)
• I maintain a regular schedule that includes
outings to places such as work, school, or
shopping and restaurants.
• I like and want a dog to be with me on a
All of our
Service Dogs are certified for public places. Private
institutions such as churches are not included under the
ADA (American with Disabilities Act) and may elect not
to permit an Assistance Dog entry. Additionally, the
Veteran’s Administration recently passed a law that only
permits Assistance Dogs to enter a VA if they come from
an accredited program. We are currently not an
accredited program; however, this may change in future.
has a list of accredited programs that offer Psychiatric
Our Service Dogs are trained to the tasks listed below.
Additional tasks that we may train for a veteran are
discussed during the in-home interview.
Cover My Front: Dogs are trained to move from a
“left side position” to a “front side position”
in order to create a spatial boundary between
the veteran and public.
• Cover My Back: Dogs are taught to turn,
sit and face the opposing direction from the
veteran, creating a sense of security and
• Balance: Where balance might be
affected by medication used in treatment for
PTSD and/or TBI, our dogs are taught to stand
still in position when they feel a moderate
weight applied to their shoulder and back. A
veteran with balance challenges is taught how to
use their dog properly to regain balance again.
Service Dogs for Veterans:
PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can develop after
exposure to any events that result in psychological
trauma. Studies show that 1 in 5 veterans returning from
Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD. Over the last 7 years,
an estimated 20% or over 300,000 veterans has PTSD.
The Sam Simon Foundation launched its Service Dog
program in response to the growing need of veterans
coping with PTSD as a result of the Iraq/Afghanistan
conflict. A Service Dog is not a cure for PTSD, but
whose skills and companionship can be an aid for
managing the symptoms and promoting well-being .
Our dogs are specially selected from local shelters
based on their temperament and breed. Most of our
Service Dogs will be retrievers or retriever types. They
are generally between 1-2 years old at the time of their
placement. Some may be more energetic than others and so
the exercise requirement will vary from dog to dog.
Their training time with us is approximately 5-6 months.
About 1 out of every 4 dogs will make it through the
training to graduation. Dogs that do not complete
training are placed for adoption locally and are coined
“Career Change Dogs”.
Because we also provide Hearing Dogs to people deaf and
hard of hearing, we are only able to place a very small
number of Service Dogs. Therefore, we can only select
those applicants that demonstrate the most need as well
as have a lifestyle and support system suitable for a
dog. However, any applicant that we must decline, we
will refer to other agencies.
There is no fee to receive a trained Service Dog. All
funding for this program is provided for by Sam Simon.
Service Dog right for you?
While a Service Dog is rewarding for many, it isn’t
going to be the answer for everyone. A lot of
consideration needs to be given to the amount of time,
ability and finances needed to take care of a dog.
Having a Service Dog not only means daily training, but
also daily exercise as well as a consistent routine.
Exercise might include a daily walk of at least a mile,
a game of retrieve or a good romp at the dog park. They
need to be able to eat a high quality food and get out
at least 3 or more times a day to relieve themselves.
A Service Dog is with his or her partner most of every
day, going into the work place, school or stores. It is
only natural that Service Dogs will attract the
attention of the public. They will be curious when they
see a working dog and want to know more about what they
do. Veterans with a Service Dog should be prepared for
these types of encounters and may even want to prepare a
response in anticipation.
Veterans that live with family members or friends need
their cooperation and support with a Service Dog. Are
all members of the household willing to live with a dog
in the home? Do they all like being around dogs? Are
they willing to assist with the care and behavior of a
We are not able to place a dog where there are family
members living with allergies to dogs. All of our
Service Dogs will shed fur and none would be considered
Most of our Service Dogs are still adolescents and may
make mistakes with their house manners or training. They
may need gentle reminders of household rules as well as
practice in their obedience commands and tasks. This
will require patience and a positive attitude.
Our application is available to be downloaded at the
bottom of this page. If you are not able to print it
out, please phone our office and we will be happy to
mail one. Any information that you share with us will be
kept confidential and not shared with anyone that you
have not given us permission to do so.
Once we receive your application, you will be sent (2)
personal reference forms (1or more) Medical Information
Forms (if you are regularly treated for a physical
condition) and (1) Health Evaluation form which is to be
given to your mental health provider and will serve as
your referral. Once we receive your referral and other
forms by mail, we will contact you if we will be able to
consider your application for an in-home interview.
The purpose of an in-home interview is to determine if
one of our dogs is able to be helpful for you. If you
are accepted for one of our Service Dogs, we will place
you on our wait list which can be up to a one year wait.
If we are not able to accept your application to our
wait list, we will refer you to other agencies.
If you are matched with a Service Dog, an in-home
placement will be scheduled with you and you can expect
to work with a trainer in public setting and in your
home for several or more hours over a period of 3-5
days. If you live locally to Malibu, some of that
orientation may be done at the Foundation prior to a
trainer working with you in your home and in public.
Following placement, there will be regular follow up
scheduled that may be done in writing, over the phone
and in person. Follow up is ongoing during the life of
your dog and vital to your success as a team.