VSCOA PAWS Assistance Dog Training Program is fundamentally transforming how we serve our disabled veterans and Wounded Warriors who have become homeless at Camp Royal Oak. Veterans who come to Camp Royal Oak are now offered several opportunities that can result in them receiving vocational skills, a career path and or a way to serve their fellow brother and sister veterans. In addition all dogs in our programs are rescue dogs. I Want a Dog
“Train a Trainer” or “TaT” is a Therapeutic Vocational Education & Training Program that the VSCOA PAWS Program offers to the disabled veterans and Wounded Warriors we serve at Camp Royal Oak.
To qualify for enrollment in the PAWS TaT program and live at CRO at no expense a combat veteran must have no lease or mortgage in their name, be honorably discharged and in need of an assistance dog.
If a veteran qualifies for the PAWS Train a Trainer or TaT program they will be able to stay at Camp Royal Oak with room & board and all costs associated for the PAWS Train a Trainer or TAT Program covered.
This unique first of its kind program offers qualified veterans staying at Camp Royal Oak the opportunity to obtain vocational skills that could help lead a veteran to become a fully certified dog trainer. Veterans that enroll for the “TaT” program are taught, in a basic and advanced course, to train Companion, Therapy and Service Dogs for disabled heroes such as Combat Veterans and First Responders that suffer with PTSD and or Traumatic Brain Injuries known as TBI’s.
Initially VSCOA PAWS will offer Assistance Dogs to those that are in need of such an animal. These dogs are rescued dogs that come from the local animal shelters that have been qualified for our program. Our vision for the future is that as funding and support grow for this program we will eventually be able to sponsor veteran student trainers for up to a 2 year stay at Camp Royal Oak allowing them to fully train very specialized Service Dogs; this is a 20 month commitment.
VSCOA PAWS is a first of its kind program and is truly unique in that disabled Veterans and Wounded Warriors that have become homeless are training homeless dogs to become Companion, Therapy or Service Dogs. By completing the VSCOA PAWS TaT Program, both the dog and its trainer transform themselves from being an unwanted burden to our community to being valued and needed members of society. In fact they become a very hot commodity commanding respect from their peers and the gratitude of those who benefit from the dogs that they train.
The veteran student trainer enters the program with the understanding that they have the first choice to either keep the Service Dog that they have successfully trained or to place the dog up for cost free adoption to a deserving, qualified disabled Veteran or First Responder. If they chose to keep their dog, VSCOA PAWS has met the first part of the mission of pairing a dog with a veteran. If the veteran chooses to put the dog up for adoption, VSCOA PAWS has “Trained a Trainer” who will go on to train other dogs that are in huge demand.
We name all our rescued dogs after a Veteran who has fallen in combat or a first responder who was killed in the line of duty.