DOGS FOR LIFE INC

Vero Beach, FL   |  www.dogsforlifevb.org

Mission

A non-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of life for Veterans and non-veterans, through training service and hearing dogs & owning and operating an off-leash dog park. Serving Indian River and St. Lucie Counties - FLORIDA

Ruling year info

2002

CEO/Founder

Shelly Ferger

Main address

1230 16th Ave

Vero Beach, FL 32960 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

31-1800397

NTEE code info

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

A non-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of life for Veterans and other individuals with disabilities through training hearing and service dogs and owning an off-leash dog park. Founded in 2002, Dogs For Life has been turning lives around by providing independence and self reliance for people who need assistance. Dogs For Life's trained service dogs enrich people’s lives – providing ears that hear smoke alarms, paws that tap a 911 button to call for emergency assistance, legs that provide added mobility, and deep pressure to calm anxiety attacks. The fastest growing need for assistance dogs in Florida is among the brave men and women who have served in the United States military or as First Responders. All service dog training services are provided at no cost to the client. Indian River County (IRC) has over 15,000 resident veterans, of whom 2,600 have a service-related disability. As many as 30% of veterans are believed to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Assistance Dog Training

Founded in 2001 by CEO Shelly Ferger, Dogs For Life has been turning lives around by providing independence and self-reliance for people who need assistance. At the same time, we’ve been able to provide a renewed purpose for dogs through specialized training. Dogs For Life's trained service dogs enrich people’s lives – providing ears that hear smoke alarms, paws that tap a 911 button to call for emergency assistance, legs that provide added mobility, and pressure to calm anxiety attacks. The fastest growing need for service dogs in Florida is among the brave men and women who have served in the United States military or as First Responders.

Men and women who have served our country deserve an opportunity to live a self-reliant, productive life and to pursue the American dream. In addition to the growing demand among U.S. veterans, several thousand residents in our community, who are hearing, mobility and emotionally impaired, would benefit from an service dog. As an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International, Dogs For Life is contacted daily by people with disabilities who need information on dog placement and training. We are ready to fulfill this need in our community with our trained assistance dogs. Currently, the need for service dogs far outweighs the availability.

Our programs include instruction in:
-Basic dog obedience & behavior
-Service & hearing dog tasks
-Public access laws
-Dog temperament evaluation
-Continuing education in service dog training and foster care

In addition to service dog training, Dogs For Life provides the location and therapists for PTSD Support Group Meetings for both veterans and non-veterans.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
People with disabilities

Where we work

Accreditations

Assistance Dogs International Inc. 2016

Affiliations & memberships

Assistance Dogs International 2019

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Veterans

Related Program

Assistance Dog Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of endowments

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Veterans

Related Program

Assistance Dog Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of donor-advised funds

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of loans sponsored for 501(c)(3) organizations

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

A non-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of life for Veterans and other individuals with
disabilities through training hearing and service dogs and owning an off-leash dog park.

Founded in 2002, Dogs For Life has been turning lives around by providing independence and self reliance for people who need assistance. Dogs For Life's trained service dogs enrich people’s lives – providing
ears that hear smoke alarms, paws that tap a 911 button to call for emergency assistance, legs that provide
added mobility, and deep pressure to calm anxiety attacks. The fastest growing need for assistance dogs in
Florida is among the brave men and women who have served in the United States military or as First
Responders. All service dog training services are provided at no cost to the client.

Over the past 20 years, Dogs For Life has built a solid foundation of supporters and donors and looks to build on that. DFL is always looking forward to creating new ways to generate revenue and inspiring new donors to join the mission. The Dogs For Life Board of Directors and executive leadership are committed to being responsible stewards of the support DFL receives. Dogs For Life has no outstanding debts and owns the property, training center and puppy raising house it currently uses to run day to day operations. DFL controls costs through the use of volunteers, fund development and bid protocols for large projects. DFL has an extensive volunteer force that is part of daily administrative operations as well as fund development, puppy raising, and events. DFL was worked on new goals in two areas within the organization, Fund Development and building the Training and Educational programs. With in Fund Development, DFL has made it a goal to diversify revenues, cultivate current donors as well as broaden the donor base. DFL Educational goals include building online accessibility to training programs such as Veterans Training Veterans, Puppy Raising & Foster Dog, Dog Park Ambassador and Trainers Workshops.

DFL’s Service Dog Training and Administrative Center is a 2,400 sq. ft. indoor facility on the 4.5-acre dog park site owned by DFL. The training center allows for year-round training of assistance dog teams. The center simulates a home setting complete with a mock bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and other amenities commonly found in the home, giving the training teams and trainers the benefit of in-home training in a controlled environment. The center also allows for administrative space for DFL staff and volunteers and handicap accessible rest rooms for park members and training teams.

It is through the devoted Dogs For Life Programs we are able to successful meet our goals. These programs include:
Service Dog Training
Veteran Service Dog Training
Veterans Training Veterans
Veteran PTSD Recovery and Support Group
Female Veterans and First Responders
Support Group
Puppy Raising House and Foster Dog Training
Off-Leash Dog Park

Dogs For Life has diverse training programs as well as new online training workshops. DFL has been directly involved in training over 140 hearing and service dogs resulting in either full public access or in-home certification. DFL assists countless others through information on self-training of service or hearing dog and referrals for related services not currently offered by DFL.

DFL is presently supporting 49 hearing and service dog teams either in training or with annual re-certification. DFL has trained 50 dogs for Veterans and currently has 4, five month old, Labrador Retriever puppies in service dog training. The DFL Off-leash Dog Park has created a safe exercise, recreation, and social area for over 800 families and their dogs since 1997. The dog park also provides a source of revenue for DFL as well as community awareness.
Online Veterans Training Veterans launched in 2020. In 2021 DFL purchased a house for puppy raising and the Puppy Raising & Foster Dog online workshops launched.

Financials

DOGS FOR LIFE INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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DOGS FOR LIFE INC

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Eleanor Bengyak

Retired

Term: 2018 - 2021


Board co-chair

Michelle Dale

Retired

Term: 2021 - 2022

Michelle Dale

American Gold Star Mothers

Suzie Gomez

Coast to Coast Landscaping

Earl Tindol

Tindol Ford

Nancy Kicherer

VCA Florida Vet League

Eddie Boatwright

Retired, Founding Member

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/14/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data