Sign In

Canines For Service

June 30, 2020

This Wilmington, North Carolina, nonprofit trains service dogs to help veterans with everything from PTSD to mobility.

Based out of North Carolina and veteran-founded almost 25 years ago, Canines for Service’s amazing rescue-turned-service dogs have been taught to help veterans with mobility limitations, PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

The dogs that graduate this program are trained in 90 commands, so they can do everything from retrieving objects that are dropped, to pulling a wheelchair, to opening doors, to loading a washer and unloading a dryer. They can even help their handlers with dressing and undressing.

Susan Heaton, the CEO of Canines for Service, said these dogs act almost like the veteran’s bodyguard.

“They can create space in a crowd,” she explained. “A lot of times, large groups of people are an issue for veterans with PTSD so the service canine can create a barrier around them as people start to get into their personal space.”

Another amazing aspect to Heaton’s nonprofit is the commitment to the dogs they rescue. These pups remain cared for by the facility, even if they don’t turn out as suitable service dogs. Canines for Service watches over them until they find a home.

“These dogs come in somewhat broken and scared and they’ve been tossed away,” Heaton said. “We take them through our trainers and give them a behavioral assessment. The Veteran comes into us in a similar way, so they really do need each other. The bond between the two is incredible to see.”

The Canines for Service application process is extensive, but once approved, the organization helps veterans from all over the country.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more