We've already come a long way in a short space of time.
Inspired by his own dogs, and through personal experience of PTSD, founder Craig MacLellan set up Veterans With Dogs in 2012 as a non-profit organisation, with the aim of helping fellow Veterans by training specialist dogs for the purpose of mitigating mental health difficulties.
There were no other organisations in the UK training dogs for these roles and it was a huge undertaking to create and establish a programme of training and support that would enable Veterans to benefit from the validation of assistance dogs for mental health.
After an initial pilot programme of residential training and respite throughout 2013, the PALS™ Programme was developed and became the core work of the charity. Veterans With Dogs became registered as a charity in 2014.
VWD became an award winning charity in 2017 upon winning a 'Millie' for Best Support to the Armed Forces, and marked a significant milestone as recognition for how far things had come since inception.
Our core principles of Respect, Care and Compassion that underpin the values of the charity, and seeing how assistance dogs for mental health can continue to help increase independence, inspires us to continue working and developing our programmes to high standards of training, care and welfare.
We are extremely proud of our dogs and the work Veterans undertake to achieve such high standards to qualify as assistance dog partnerships.
We are learning all the time, and we are only just scratching the surface of what dogs can do to help people.