NEXT STEP SERVICE DOGS

aka Next Step Service Dogs   |   Dana Point, CA   |  www.nextstepservicedogs.org

Mission

To renew the lives of Veterans and First Responders with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and/or Military Sexual Trauma through the training and placement of highly trained service dogs.

Ruling year info

2012

Principal Officer

Gerry Chase

Co Principal Officer

Gina Esoldi

Main address

P.O. Box 3930

Dana Point, CA 92629 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

45-5266435

NTEE code info

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

Health Support Services (E60)

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

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

An estimated 600,000 military suffer from debilitating PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury. Only an estimated 500 expertly-trained service dogs are available annually to help them. We seek to greatly increase the number of service dogs available for PTSD and TBI, have trainers in San Diego County, California and in Boise County, Idaho.

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?

Next Step Service Dogs Training Program

To renew the lives of Veterans and First Responders with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and/or Military Sexual Trauma through the training and placement of highly trained service dogs.

Shelter to Service – Assist a wounded warrior with an invisible (PTSD/TBI) and sometimes visible injury to take the next step in their personal journey. Fully trained service dogs will perform three plus tasks for their handler.


Service Dog Maintenance Training – NSSD provides maintenance and additional training free to graduates for the life of the dog. Mental and physical needs may change creating a need for new tasks be trained.


Service Dog Support for Veterans – NSSD conducts two training programs at military residential facilities here in San Diego. One of the facilities has a fully trained and certified NSSD service dog that is available to the Veterans on a daily basis.

Family Integration Program – NSSD welcomes family members as well as any support team to engage in the service dog training. The focus is on how best to integrate the dog into the daily lives of the wounded warrior focusing on the individual needs of each family.


Puppyraiser Trainer Program – Puppies that are raised for the NSSD service dog program are raised and trained based on Dr. Ian Dunbar's methods.


Public Setting Training – NSSD conducts bi-weekly public outings comprised of both teams in training and post graduates. NSSD clients have created a community that is based on integrity and a platform for our wounded warriors to share and enjoy their new freedom.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
People with disabilities

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Number of clients satisfied with employment training services

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

Adults, Veterans, People with disabilities

Related Program

Next Step Service Dogs Training Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is what we have been able to accomplish with one major training facility and one new additional chapter. As we continue to expand our numbers will multiply along with it.

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.

Within 5 years, we plan to have more NSSD chapters nationwide and to provide an increasing number PTSD service dog training workshops to educate other service dog providers in this specialty. Additionally we seek to train and hire many veterans to become service dog trainers - many seek a new purpose-fulfilling career and can provide a special rapport and talent to disabled veterans that is reassuring and inspiring.

Many traditional service dog providers spend up to 2 years training the dogs, and only 2 or 3 weeks training the dog and veteran together, then send them home, with followup support by phone. NSSD offers a different but highly successful program that trains both dog and veteran to learn together during 2 hour training sessions, 3 times weekly, typically for 5 months (longer or shorter as needed) at our training center and in public settings. Anxiety triggers can vary widely (different smell, sights, sounds) so a dog might be trained to alert the client to the sound of helicopters or the look of black Humvees or the smell of burnt rubber. Preventing a meltdown, disorientation, fear, and flashbacks is a major goal. Providing a sense of safety and method of achieving calm is another major goal. The dog standing behind the client at the supermarket provides a sense of safety, a simple way to keep others 4 feet away. The dog entering a dark apartment and turning on all lights is another reassuring task. Immediately getting help when the client falls or has a seizure is a big help. This extensive customized training over 5 months trains the dog/client team to learn together, become deeply bonded, and become confident and skilled in coping with extreme anxiety/anger/confusion in public and at home. If they also have seizure and mobility issues, the dogs are trained to assist those also. Both dog and client become creative, and can develop additional behaviors and commands to suit their needs which can change over time. Both staff and volunteer veterans are on hand to meet with a client in distress, and resolve rental/business/work-related questions/issues that occur during and after training. Clients have told us, "I would not be here today without my service dog and the wonderful training provided by Next Step Service Dogs." Spouses have said, "Thank you for giving me my husband back." These amazing service dogs bring new freedom and joy to the client and to his or her family. It is an honor to know these clients, see their courage, and see them embark onto a new more joyful life.

We evaluate the status of each dog and client through weekly reports, monthly trainer meetings, emails, and phone calls as each team progresses. Once a dog is assigned to a client, we track the progress of each dog and client through trainer evaluations the Access Test milestone and the Certification Test milestone, which completes the certification of both dog ad client. Getting certified is the successful outcome, and often followed by additional training for further benefit and camaraderie. Upon certification, clients submit monthly status reports for 6 months, often attend additional training sessions, and annually submit reports to renew their service ID cards and status. Additionally, a veteran volunteer contacts each client at least once a year to see how each client and dog is doing.

We have trained, certified and placed over 90 service dogs in 7 years; a major accomplishment in the PTSD service dog field. We have trained over 15 trainers. We have placed numerous dogs to facilities that specialize in PTSD/TBI's. We have expanded out of state; one additional Chapter in Idaho. We are opening new training facilities in at lease two additional locations and are working towards certifying 130+ teams a year.

Financials

NEXT STEP SERVICE DOGS
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Operations

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

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NEXT STEP SERVICE DOGS

Board of directors
as of 1/21/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Elaine Price

Cloverlane Foundation

Term: 2020 - 2022

Elaine Price

CPA, Cloverlane Foundation

Ian Dunbar

Dunbar Academy

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/21/2021,

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
Decline to state
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Decline to state
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