Who are our handlers?
Our handlers are Service Members, Veterans and their immediate family (spouse, children, mother/father, daughter/son or sister/brother).
We have been through deployments, extended training away from home, PCS'ed locally, cross country or internationally. We understand the everyday challenges and stresses of being a military family.
What does a team do on an assignment?
Dogs have a great way about them to make friends, comfort people and lift their spirts. Teams will travel to a facility or event to spread comfort and smiles. Whether it is at the Veterans' hospital or a Yellow Ribbon event, handlers will allow their K9 partners to do what dogs do best, reach out to others.
You decide how many assignments you would like to volunteer for per month (remember assignments can be no longer than 2 hours a day) and how far you will travel.
What is expected of the handler during a visit/assignment?
First and foremost, you are your dog's best advocate. Your K9 partner is your first priority during all visits. As a TCD handler, you will set up your K9 partner for success by making sure he doesn't get over tired, stressed or worried. Take breaks as often as needed or even head home early if your partner is ready to go.
Act as a supportive friend to those you visit. Your role on assignment is closer to that of a supportive friend than to that of an expert, counselor or authority. You've been in their shoes. Be compassionate and let your K9 help you reach out. Some people may just want a quick hello, meeting and petting your K9 partner. Others may want to share a story or two.
***A background check is required for all volunteers due to the sensitive nature of team visits and some locations.