SERVICE DOGS FOR VETERANS

Fighting PTSD one Rescued Dog at a time

Taylors, SC   |  www.sd4v.org

Mission

To complement the traditional treatment for Veterans with PTSD, TBI, and MST, by training them and a dog to become highly effective service dog teams.

Ruling year info

2015

President

William Brightman

Main address

Po Box 965

Taylors, SC 29687 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

47-5163605

NTEE code info

Single Organization Support (E11)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Service Dogs for Veterans (SD4V) is an all-volunteer, 501c3 organization founded in 2014 to assist Upstate South Carolina and North Carolina Military Veterans who have returned home and been diagnosed by the Veterans Administration as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Military Sexual Trauma (MST). The symptoms of these diagnoses can make living a normal life difficult or impossible. While the Veterans Administration does its best to provide treatment (counseling and prescription drugs), there is no certain cure. Unfortunately, not everyone is helped by these treatments or finds that living with the side effects of all the required drugs to be something he/she can tolerate. In fact, a majority of our clients report that they are over-medicated and want a service dog so they can achieve greater normalcy in all areas of their lives without taking so many pills and having the side effects these medications produce.

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?

Service Dog training

Training the veteran and rescued dog to do specific tasks that will mitigate the symptoms of the veteran's diagnosed symptoms. The program is intended to complement traditional treatments of PTSD, TBI and MST.

Population(s) Served

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 veterans who report a decrease in depression

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Service Dog training

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

100% of the Veterans in the SD4V program report a decrease in their life-limiting PTSD symptoms (typically including depression and anxiety), ranging from 15% to a 77% reduction, based on PCL-5 scores

Number of veterans with PTSD served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Service Dog training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

By the end of 2019 SD4V will have graduated 63 Service Dog teams since 2014. These Veterans come from all military branches and from all military conflicts as far back as the Vietnam era.

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.

Because the symptoms of these diagnoses adversely impact every aspect of the Veteran's life, our goal is to first transform a Veteran with no dog handling knowledge and a dog with little or no manners or obedience into an elite service dog team. This accomplishment, along with now having a new 'battle buddy" by his/her side 24/7, results in the Veteran reclaiming his/her confidence, independence, and hope for the future. SD4V pairs the Veteran with a rescued dog and underwrites the extensive training for the two with a scholarship covering over 90% of the cost. As a result, out-of-pocket costs for the participating Veteran are minimized, and, thus, more Veterans can receive the assistance needed.

• The SD4V program is a six- to-seven month program that provides a personalized agenda for each Veteran entering the program. The Veteran and his/her dog move through training, which includes beginner, intermediate, and advanced dog obedience training. The next phase of training is Task training, whereby the dog becomes sensitized to its Veteran's specific needs. The final phase of the program includes and Public Access training and the graduation test. Upon graduation, the Veteran and his/her dog are an ADA (Americans with Disability Act) compliant service dog team.
• Through all phases of this program, the Veteran will have a “Veteran Advocate" by his/her side in every class and available 7 days a week to support and encourage progress.

SD4V's Chief Executive, Bill Brightman, served in the US Navy for 4 years during the Vietnam War and subsequently earned a BSME degree on the GI Bill. Following a 27-year career as a Licensed Professional Engineer with a Fortune 500 company, Bill founded and grew two businesses. After moving to Greenville, SC in 2014, utilizing his skills and experience in rehabilitating dogs, Bill founded Service Dogs for Veterans, with training partner, Connie Cleveland of Dog Trainers Workshop. He is a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and an approved AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.
The Service Dogs for Veterans team includes 12 dedicated volunteers; among them are several military veterans and family members with first-hand knowledge of the conditions which SD4V program veterans are experiencing. Professional members of the team include Connie Cleveland, internationally-recognized dog trainer. She specializes in obedience training, obedience competition, problem dogs, and certified service dogs. Another key member of the SD4V team is Dr. Michael Merrell, MD, currently a member of the SD4V Board of Directors while continuing his practice in Family Medicine. Cy Burgess is a Certified Public Accountant and serves as Treasurer on SD4V's Board of Directors.
Communication to the Upstate South Carolina and North Carolina community and to Veterans who could potentially participate in the SD4V training is an on-going strategy for the organization. This strategy is achieved via a comprehensive social media campaign designed and maintained by a skilled Webmaster who is also a military Veteran and graduate of the SD4V program. Our Community Outreach Coordinator expands this educational effort, working with charitable organizations and community groups in areas of fundraising and grant writing. Our most effective communicators, however, are the proud graduates of the SD4V program who go out into the community and speak on our behalf. They are committed to sharing the effects of their war-related diagnoses and the changes that they have achieved now that they have a service dog that was made possible by completing the SD4V program.
Service Dogs for Veterans' Dog-Evaluation Team is highly skilled at identifying shelter dogs with the traits necessary to become good service dogs. This is an important piece of the success SD4V has achieved.

Service Dogs for Veterans has already experienced impressive results. In 2015, 2 Service Dog Teams completed their training; in 2017, 14 teams became “Battle Buddies." Projections for 2018 indicate 28 Veteran-Service dog teams will graduate from their training.

Financials

SERVICE DOGS FOR VETERANS
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Operations

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

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SERVICE DOGS FOR VETERANS

Board of directors
as of 12/11/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

William Brightman

Cy Burgess

Elliott Davis, LLC

Dr. Mike Merrell, MD