Semper K9’s Family Integration Program coaches the families of service members to manage the difficulties they may face when bringing a service dog into their home. FIP is a personalized program, tailored specifically to the needs of each family. This program teaches military families how best to navigate their needs, resulting in stronger and healthier relationships.

America has been at war for longer than ever before, since September 11th, more than 2.5 million service members have served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). Service members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan run the risk of developing problems such as depression, PTSD, anxiety, and traumatic brain injury due to their deployment. Studies of these returning service members and Veterans have found rates of 4% to 14% for depression, 12% to 25% for PTSD, 11% to 19% for traumatic brain injury, and 18% to 35% for any mental health risk or concern.

These mental health issues do not only affect service members and veterans but the family as a whole.  Many family members cope with living with a parent who returns profoundly changed by war. Most families will be able to overcome these adversities through the support of family, friends, and community. Others, however, will need additional help to strengthen their resilience, access needed services, and readjust to life. Veterans themselves recognize the need for such services. In a recent study of Veterans receiving treatment for PTSD, nearly 80% were interested in greater family involvement in their care.

Semper K9’s Family Integration Program (FIP) provides assistance the families of service members/veterans to manage the difficulties they face when bringing a service dog into their home to support their veteran’s mental health and/or mobility issues. This program teaches military/veteran families how best to navigate their challenges, resulting in stronger and healthier relationships. FIP has the ability to be tailored specifically to challenges of each family.

Service Dog Courses:

  • Basic Obedience Class
  • Jr Training Class
  • Pet First Aid
  • Emergency Preparedness Planning
  • Building Family Unity with a Service Dog
  • American’s with Disabilities Act
  • Reasonable Accommodations Class

Mental Health Wellness Workshop:

  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Supportive Counseling
  • Caregiver/Peer Mentorship

With the assistance of a custom trained service dog from Semper K9, the lives of these military families will be enhanced, providing more independence for the service member, caregiver and family as a whole. With support from FIP, transition into life with a service dog will be an easier one for the entire family.

Funded in part by the Potomac Health Foundation.