Service Dogs UK becomes first PTSD Assistance Dog Charity in the UK to achieve Accreditation by Assistance Dogs International!
ADI is the leading authority in the Assistance Dogs industry. It establishes and promotes standards of excellence in all areas of assistance dog acquisition, training and partnership.
We started training Veterans who were partnered with specially selected ‘rescue’ dogs (mainly from the Dogs Trust) in 2015 and have gone from strength to strength. Our unique 9-month long programme is a challenging journey of learning, commitment and positivity while working as a Veteran and dog team to achieve accreditation. During the programme Veterans are guided and mentored and have the camaraderie of other Veterans who have PTSD, it makes for a powerful formula that has achieved great success with many Veterans providing reports about the effectiveness of the programme and how their dog has completely changed their life!
The charity started its operations with its first Hub in West Sussex but has now grown and a further Hub has been set up in Somerset so that more Veterans can access the help the charity provides. One Veteran Dave said “The charity have given me my best friend who I know will have my back. That has allowed me to move forward with my life, even with CPTSD. Thank you so very, very much”.
The Operations Director and Founder Garry Botterill, himself a Veteran of the Royal Navy and Police and Churchill Fellow said “Our programme was extensively researched before we began, and we have a winning formula that works to support those who have been injured through exposure to traumas while protecting others. Gaining ADI Accreditation is a testament to the hard work and effort put in by a fantastic team of dedicated people, many who are volunteers. We are thrilled to be part of ADI as we always wanted to set and maintain the highest of standards and this has now been recognised.” This has been a fantastic year for Service Dogs UK, they were recently visited by the Duke of Kent and they are aiming to have 30 Veteran and dog partnerships by the end of this year as they change lives two at a time.
Once accredited, a program becomes a member of ADI. Member programs must complete a reaccreditation every 5 years to comply with ADI’s Standards of Practice. ADI accreditation is a peer-review process conducted by a trained ADI assessor over a period of 2-4 days. Currently there are 138 ADI accredited service dog programs in the world.