Q: What type of dog breeds does VMF use for Service Dogs?
A: VMF service dogs are Labradors and Golden Retrievers.
Q: How old are your dogs when placed into service with a Veteran?
A: The average age for an assistance/service dog is approximately two years old. Each dog is different and matures at different times. When a VMF dog is placed into service depends on how and where that dog will be used and his/her own talents, skills, abilities and temperament.
Q: How can I join your organization?
A: Visit the VMF volunteer page to learn more about volunteer opportunities with Veterans Moving Forward. VMF events and volunteer opportunities are based out of the Northern Virginia area.
Q: Where do you operate?
A: VMF is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia where most of our volunteers and staff live and the majority of our service dog-veteran placement training occurs. Veterans within the continental US who are seeking a VMF service dog are required to meet with us in northern Virginia for a series of interviews and initial training sessions which are scheduled over several days and often spaced several weeks or a month apart. As a national, nonprofit, public charity we will educate and advise veterans in need anywhere in the USA.
Q: Why did you start Veterans Moving Forward?
A: There is an overwhelming need to help veterans today. We know that our Federal and state governments can only do so much and that communities need to help individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines – and Coast Guardsmen/women. We believe that we have a unique program to help many veterans. Our research shows that all of the organizations that are providing service dogs to disabled Americans working together cannot reach <.2% of the need amongst veterans and military personnel.
Q: Where do you obtain or acquire your Service Dog puppies?
A: We purchase puppies from qualified breeders. VMF works collaboratively with other service dog organizations to receive purposefully bred puppies. We will not go to puppy mills nor animal shelters.
Q: Who trains your ADITs?
A: Volunteer puppy raisers perform daily training and socialization of our ADITs. We have a professional staff of dog instructors who lead and support the training process of our ADITs.
Q: How long does it take to train a service dog?
A: The dogs begin their training as soon as they enter our program, approximately at eight weeks of age as puppies. Volunteer puppy raisers take every opportunity to socialize and train their puppies and spend anywhere from five to ten minutes a day several times a day on basic skills in addition to attending weekly training classes conducted by the VMF training team This will continue for approximately 12 to 15 months until the dogs are more mature and evaluated. Most of the dogs suited for full time assistance duty to mitigate a physical disability require 18-24 months to reach maturity and to learn and demonstrate proficiency of their advanced commands which are tailored to the needs of the individual veteran.
Q: How can I help?
Use the "donate" button on this Web site to make a tax-deductible contribution via credit card, or send a check individually or through a corporate matching program; donate your time as a volunteer VMF puppy raiser; educate others about the needs of our veterans and the benefits of canine therapy in their recovery and rehabilitation; and THANK A VETERAN!!