DOG TAG BUDDIES

Helping veterans, one rescue at a time!

Shepherd, MT   |  https://dogtagbuddies.org/

Mission

Dog Tag Buddies partners veterans suffering from hidden injuries (PTSD, TBI, MST) with rescue dogs. Our program gives both the veteran and the dog a chance to lead a more purposeful, fulfilling life. Services are at NO cost to the veteran. Helping veterans, one rescue at a time! We serve veterans across the State of Montana.

Ruling year info

2015

Executive Director

DeeDe Baker

Main address

PO Box 250

Shepherd, MT 59079 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

47-3759502

NTEE code info

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

Single Organization Support (P11)

Unknown (Z99)

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

Dog Tag Buddies seeks to help veterans with hidden injuries live more fulfilling lives through the training and support of a companion or service dog. An estimated 11-20% of veterans suffer from PTSD, and 20+ veterans take their lives by suicide each day, unable to cope with the effects of their hidden injuries. Studies have shown that veterans with hidden injuries (PTSD/TBI) who are paired with dogs lead significantly more productive lives, the need for medication decreases, and their overall quality of life as well as that of their families, employers, and community benefits. The VA agrees with this form of treatment but does not offer financial assistance as a therapeutic in the treatment of hidden injuries.

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?

Emotional Support Companion Program

Helps veterans with hidden injuries find suitable companion dogs through local rescues/shelters and provide 10 weeks of obedience training to ensure the veteran and dog bond and have a lot term relationship. The program is offered at no cost to all veterans with hidden injuries. We rescue!

Population(s) Served
Adults

This program will match veterans with hidden injuries, who have been certified by a physician to show a need for a service dog. We will help them find an appropriate rescued dog and provide service dog training. The training will take approximately 18 to 24 months and will be provided by a certified service dog trainer. The veteran and dog will train together, this helps with the bonding and building of a life long relationship.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Expand program to areas outside of the Greater Yellowstone County Area in Montana to serve veterans locally. We don't believe a veteran should ever have to travel outside of their area to participate in our program

Population(s) Served
Veterans

Travel across the state to provide educational talks to groups to educate about the use of service dogs and emotional support animals to aide veteran on a daily basis.

Also educate groups about the differences between service, esa and therapy dogs

Population(s) Served
Adults

Provide dog trainers and other entities who are unfamiliar with PTSD ongoing training on how to best serve veterans with invisible injuries

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans 2019

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 applicants applying for service dogs

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

Veterans

Related Program

Veterans/Service Dogs

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Not all veterans who begin application process complete initial application. These numbers reflect applications, not necessarily those excepted into the program.

Number of animals rescued

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

Veterans

Related Program

Veterans/Service Dogs

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Number of rescues has decreased as more veterans are bringing in their own dogs. 2020 was exceptionally challenging as a direct result of Covid-19.

Number of hours of training

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

Veterans

Related Program

Emotional Support Companion Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is the number of hours we devoted to working with our veterans in both individual and in group settings.

Number of veterans who apply for companion dogs

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

Veterans

Related Program

Emotional Support Companion Program

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

A companion dog is a dog who's purpose is to help the veteran by providing companionship.

Number of veterans who complete a minimum of 10 weeks of obedience training with their rescued pup

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

Veterans

Related Program

Emotional Support Companion Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

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.

Deaths by suicide among our veteran population in Montana is almost double the national average. Finding alternative treatment modalities to reduce suicide among our veterans continues to be a driving force for Dog Tag Buddies. There are many treatment options for hidden injuries and the challenges that come along with them. We aim to provide Montana and surrounding area veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) access to an alternate treatment modality through the support of a canine companion or service dog and the journey of training them. Our goal is to help fill the gap by providing services at no cost to eligible veterans. Dog Tag Buddies also seeks to use rescue dogs in this process, thereby supporting veteran’s mental health and saving dogs, a mutually beneficial endeavor.

Dog Tag Buddies utilizes a community training model, in which the veteran trains the dog they are matched with, to help reduce self-isolation, create new relationships and connections, provide a renewed sense of purpose, and find new ways overcome the challenges of their disability.
Working with local trainers, shelters, rescues, Veterans organizations, and the general public to bring awareness to the struggles of veterans with hidden injuries and how dogs can help them in their day to day lives.

Bringing the program locally to veterans ensures they never experience out of pocket expenses associated with other service dog programs. Dog Tag Buddies will NEVER charge a veteran for our services.
Utilize social media and online presence as well as widely distributed publications and local public events to bring awareness to our program. Networking through other organizations and Montana Nonprofit Association to connect with other like-minded organizations and individuals who have a commitment to helping our organization grow in a sustainable manner.
Presentations to local groups about Dog Tag Buddies, hidden injuries, companion and service dogs and how a dog can help support a veteran in their journey to healing.
Networking and building relationships with rescues/shelters to help find dogs that will be good candidates for our program. Also partnering with local and statewide veterans’ organizations including VFW and American Legion posts.

Dog Tag Buddies has a team of highly capable employees, volunteers, and BoD working to drive both the daily operations and short and long-term strategy of the organization. Our Executive Director founded the organization based on her desire to give back to veterans and rescue dogs, and has since become a certified Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Instructor and Trauma Informed Care Trainer, as well as completed many dog training courses and certifications as she works towards her bettering herself and leading the organization. Her passion and drive inspire others and she continues to be a driving force of the organization’s success.
Our staff, volunteers, and BoD live by our motto of “Helping veterans one rescue at a time” and understand that what we do truly makes a difference in the lives of those we work with. All staff and trainers complete Trauma Informed Care training, QPR training, and are Psych Armor Certified Veteran Ready. As a part of our commitment to excellency, the organization is an Assistance Dogs International (ADI) candidate and actively working towards accreditation. “ADI accredits not-for-profit programs that place assistance dogs to ensure that they adhere to the highest standards in all aspects of their operations, including ethical treatment and training of dogs, ethical treatment of clients, solid service dog training and follow-up care” (https://assistancedogsinternational.org/standards/what-is-accreditation/).

Dog Tag Buddies received it’s 501(C)(3) status in late 2015 and started it’s first client in January 2016. Since then, the organization has expanded its service areas from the Billings, Montana region to three additional regions in Montana: Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, and Flathead Valley. During that period, we have served over 70 veterans and rescued over 60 dogs.
Dog Tag Buddies has built a strong social media presence with over 4,000 Facebook followers and over 800 Instagram followers. We have also worked to foster relationships with local veteran organizations and group and work closely with them for referrals and networking. Dog Tag Buddies joined the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans in 2019, a nationwide coalition of non-profit service dog providers for military Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma working to prevent suicide and improve military Veterans’ mental health.
Dog Tag Buddies moved into its own training and office space in Billings, Montana in the summer of 2019 and held its grand opening on September 21st, 2019. Prior to this, the organization was utilizing training space rented by the hour. This space has allowed them to increase their capacity in Billings ten-fold, allowing them more flexibility for offering training classes, hosting groups for presentations, and managing day-to-day operations.
Dog Tag Buddies model of training is focused on quality over quantity. The journey of each veteran is unique and important. The program is about more than just providing a service dog. It is designed to transform the lives of veterans by providing a renewed sense of purpose, reducing self-isolation, and helping veterans be an active participant in the world in a meaningful way.

Financials

DOG TAG BUDDIES
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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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DOG TAG BUDDIES

Board of directors
as of 8/19/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Steve Bertrand

BMO/ Harris Bank

Term: 2020 - 2022


Board co-chair

Mike Wick

Retired

Term: 2020 - 2022

David Schantz

Amanda Lackman

First Interstate Bank Operations

Mike Wick

Retired

Darin Lonski

First Insterstate Bank

Steve Bertrand

Bank of Montreal

Alexander Roth

Attorney at Law

Quint Nyman

MFPE Deputy Executive Director

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 ? No
  • 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/18/2021

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
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data