Integra Service Dogs Australia provides Veterans and First Responders with highly trained Labrador assistance dogs.
Integra provides Assistance Dogs to Veterans and First Responders. We do not provide Assistance Dogs to the general public.
Integra Dog Training is a reward-based core skills training program, which takes around 6-12 months to complete (this may vary depending on the level of support required by the individual Veteran or First Responder for the assistance dog that they are the ‘handler for). Our Program is designed to provide Handlers with the placement and training towards a fully certified Assistance Dog that provides them with the tools to reclaim their place in the community and rebuild their lives. Integra Dog Training builds the foundation necessary to successfully undertake the Public Access Test (PAT) which assesses both the dog’s and Handler’s suitability for accessing public spaces.
Integra aims to ensure that its services are available to Veterans and First Responders that need it. As a charitable organisation we contribute significantly to funding so that costs to access our program are minimal at around $3,000 – $5,000 per applicant.
Applicants may wish to seek the financial support (from insurers, local businesses, or other potential sponsors) to help them meet the costs of joining the Integra program. ADF Veterans may wish to apply for support through the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Psychiatric Assistance Dog (PAD) program. Information on the DVA PAD program can be found at http://www.dva.gov.au/dogs. First Responders and those not eligible or not wishing to apply through the DVA PAD may apply directly to Integra.
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How to apply
The application process to enter the Integra Program requires you to:
- Discuss with your family, partner and immediate friends whether you have the capability to take on the responsibility of caring for and training of an Assistance Dog. This includes considering whether you:
- have a safe home and yard or space to house the dog inside to secure it from theft or loss
- have the time to commit to the training of your Labrador dog
- are emotionally and physically resilient enough to take on the responsibilities of providing for the welfare of your dog, and
- are in a financial position to contribute to the costs ($3,000 – $5,000) towards this program
- Complete an application form. The application form that you complete will depend on whether you are applying directly to Integra or applying through the DVA PAD program (see Application Forms). The DVA PAD program may refer you to Integra or another DVA Approved PAD Supplier contracted to DVA.
If applying directly to Integra you will need to:
- be a current Veteran or First Responder
- provide a letter of support from your Psychiatrist, Psychologist or treating Clinician to confirm that, in their opinion, you are able to take on the responsibilities of caring for and training an Assistance Dog. The referring letter must be on the clinician’s letterhead and state the following three items:
- that you have a PTSD diagnoses
- that you have the capability to enter the program
- how long you have been a client and the frequency of appointments
- allow a visit to your home by an Integra assessor to discuss your application and to participate in an interview with an Integra Program Manager.
- receive approval from Integra and your sponsor (if any) to proceed.
Following approval to proceed, it generally takes 6 months to match you with a suitable Labrador dog and nominate a local Integra trainer/mentor to help you through the process of training and caring for your Assistance Dog.
Integra aims to ensure that its services are available to all Veterans and First Responders (not funded through the DVA PAD program) who need them at minimal cost. Integra provides all dog and travel-related expenses for the program. This support includes dog food, veterinary treatments, training and home support equipment, identification cards and other support documentation.
While Veterans and First Responders are asked to make some contribution towards these costs, it takes between 6-12 months and between $30,000-$40,000 a year for an Integra team to develop and train a dog and Handler and prepare it to complete the Public Access Test. Please consider donating If you’d like to support us in meeting these costs.
Integra is a registered charity, approved by the Australian Charities & Not For Profit Commission. Donations from the public and our corporate partners cover the costs of providing dogs to First Responders and those Veterans who are not funded through the DVA PAD program. Donations to Integra are tax deductible as approved by the Australian Taxation Office.
To donate to Integra please go to the Donate page.
Our Service Dog Training Program provides Veterans and First Responders with renewed purpose, confidence and unconditional support.
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