Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dogs Helping Heroes?

Dogs Helping Heroes (DHH) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to: "help restore lost freedom and peace of mind to Kentuckiana wounded heroes and their families by providing specially trained and certified assistance dogs. "

What Type of Assistance Dogs are Trained by DHH?

DHH custom trains dogs for mobility and emotional assistance for Veterans and First responders with disabilities obtained during the course of their career. We also custom train dogs for Gold Star Families to assist them in coping with their loss. We do not train dogs for the following:

  • Guide the blind.
  • Deaf or hearing impaired.
  • Detect diabetic crisis.
  • Detect medical symptoms.
  • Provide supervision, navigation, or safety from environmental hazards.
  • Respond aggressively or provide personal protection.
  • General disabilities such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.
  • Autism

What is the service area of Dogs Helping Heroes?

It is imperative that our trainers be able to work extensively with the Hero/dog team throughout the training process. In addition, prior to service dog graduation, it will be necessary for the recipient to travel to Jeffersonville, Indiana for an average of 10 lessons over the 6-9 month training period. Therefore, it will be the policy of DHH to serve a 200 mile radius of Louisville, Kentucky.

What is the law regarding service dog access to public places?

Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), all businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service dogs onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed. Additional charges for admitting the service dog to an establishment or fares for transportation cannot be required. Only religious facilities and residential facilities may refuse service dog entry.

In order to meet ADI standards a service dog must:

Be trained to perform at least three tasks to mitigate the client's disability. The client must also be provided with enough training to be able to meet the ADI Minimum Standards for Assistance Dogs in Public. The client must be able to demonstrate:

  • That their dog can perform at least three tasks.
  • Knowledge of acceptable training techniques.
  • An understanding of canine care and health.
  • The ability to maintain training, problem solve, and continue to train/add new skills (as required) with their service dog.
  • Knowledge of local access laws and appropriate public behavior.

What type of dogs does Dogs Helping Heroes use?

The majority of our dogs are rescue/shelter dogs. All dogs are selected by our Trainer/Consultants and must also be approved by our Veterinarian. We do not train personal dogs.

What is the Value of a Public Access Tested/Approved Service Dog?

Industry cost to select, raise, train, and place a public access tested/approved service dog is estimated to be $20,000 to $25,000.

What is the cost of a Dogs Helping Heroes Dog?

Dogs Helping Heroes will provide our qualified dogs to approved Veterans, First Responders and Gold Star Families at no charge. Should the recipient and support team want to raise funds through a fundraiser or make personal donations, it will be greatly appreciated but no approved applicant will be refused a dog due to lack of funds.

Should we desire to Acquire a Dogs Helping Heroes Dog, What is the Aquisition Process?

Acquisition of a Dogs Helping Heroes Dog is a Five-step process.

Step One - fill out the Application Form on the website and submit with all supporting documentation. You will receive an email when your completed application is received.

Step Two - The application committee will review all applicants on a quarterly basis. Application deadlines are March 15th, June 15th, September 15th and December 15th. If you meet the eligibility criteria you will be notified that you have been granted an interview. You will be notified by email approximately 2 weeks after the application deadline if you have been selected to proceed to the next step.

Step Three - You will be scheduled for an interview with the application committee. Interviews are conducted quarterly (see calendar for dates). Interviews typically last 45 minutes to an hour and you are encouraged to bring your family and members of your support system to the interview. You will be notified within the week after your interview if you have been accepted to the next step or if your application was declined. In addition, DHH reserves the right to decline any application at any time during the application process at the discretion of the application committee and the DHH Board of Directors.

Step Four -A Home inspection will be conducted by members of the application committee. Every effort will be made to arrange this within a few weeks of your interview but there are times it may take a bit longer. A Home inspection report and photos will be submitted to the application committee and a determination will be made if you are to be awarded a DHH dog.

Step Five- Dog/Client Match (this process may take up to 1 year depending on the availability of dogs within the DHH program). Once you are matched with a suitable dog, your training begins. Training averages 10-12 lessons over a 6-9 month period before you become a fully certified service dog team. DHH reserves the right to remove the dog if you are not completing your training in a timely manner or if you violate the DHH Code of Conduct.

What are the estimated costs associated with owning an assistance dog?

Initial costs: $100-$500 (food/water bowls, grooming supplies, dog bed, toys). Yearly expenses: $600-$1,600 (vaccines, food, heartworm/flea preventative, grooming, treats, leashes, etc.).

Who trains Dogs Helping Heroes Dogs?

Dog selection and training are the responsibility of Duffy’s Dog Training Center. Some of our dogs receive their basic obedience in a prison training program before starting advanced training at Duffy’s. For more information on our Trainers please see the training center website at .

How is Dogs Helping Heroes Funded?
DHH is an all-volunteer organization and is funded by private contributions from individuals, groups, and corporations. We also seek grants from corporations and foundations, as well as conduct several fundraising events annually.
Can you train my pet dog to be a service dog?

We do not train personal dogs.

How old are your dogs when matched with their partner?

Our dogs are generally 1-3 years of age.

Who can apply for a Dogs Helping Heroes assistance dog?

Men and women who served our country in the U.S. Military, Law Enforcement, Fire Services or Emergency Medical Services, and who now suffer from mobility impairment, traumatic brain injury or a clinical diagnosis of a psychiatric impairment, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Gold star families who need assistance in coping with their loss.

All applicants must be approved by our application committee. All applicants must be able to demonstrate that an assistance dog will enhance their quality of life and independence.

How do I apply for a Dogs Helping Heroes assistance dog?
Please go to our home page and click the link that says apply now. If you are applying as a Gold Star family go to Gold Star Families page under our approach and click on the link that says Download the application.
How long will I have to wait for an assistance dog?

It is our goal to match the right dog with the specific needs of each recipient. For that reason, our Training Team reviews each recipient application and your wait time will depend on us having a dog that can best suit your specific needs. Another determining factor will be the amount of specialized training required to meet your needs.

When my assistance dog is ready for retirement, how long would I have to wait for a replacement?

Applicants seeking a successor service dog are given priority in screening and placement.