Soldier’s Best Friend graduates 13 veterans from service dog program

Peoria, Ariz. (June 2024) – Soldier’s Best Friend recently celebrated the graduation of 13 veteran dog teams from its Service Dog Training Programme. The ceremonies were held in Sierra Vista for three teams, Tucson for two teams, and Peoria for eight teams. This latest group of graduates brings the total number of graduates to 396 since the organization’s inception in 2011. Furthermore, over 277 dogs have been rescued from Arizona shelters and placed with veterans through this program.

The Service Dog Training Program requires veterans to pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test, demonstrating a strong bond and command obedience without treats or rewards. Following this, veterans complete four Public Access Tests, ensuring they can navigate busy public spaces with their service dogs. A key component of the training includes an outing to Sky Harbor Airport in partnership with Southwest Airlines, where veterans and their dogs practice navigating airport procedures and environments.

During the Public Access training, the dogs are trained to mitigate specific symptoms of PTSD or TBI encountered by the veterans, with each veteran required to have their dog perform at least three specific tasks before graduation. This intensive six-to-nine-month program aims to transform the lives of both veterans and their service dogs.

Soldier’s Best Friend’s mission is to provide U.S. military veterans living with combat-related PTSD or TBI with service or therapeutic companion dogs, primarily rescued from local shelters. The organization’s work is funded by donations and gifts, and all training is provided free of charge to veterans. Interested veterans can apply for the program at

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