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ABOUT

History

Soldier On Service Dogs (SOSD) was founded by Angie Pratt in September 2014 after a close relative, a Marine bomb technician, was injured in Afghanistan and began experiencing the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  After researching treatments she realized a service dog would be of great benefit but no such organizations were to be found in this area.  Thus began Soldier On Service Dogs, the only organization of its kind in the state of Arkansas.

Twenty percent of Iraqi and Afghanistan war veterans have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Estimates for Northwest Arkansas put the number of PTSD/TBI Veterans at about 14,000. Of those, 840 (6%) would benefit from a service dog. PTSD/TBI service dogs do amazing things for their veterans. They detect seizures, disrupt nightmares, call 911, reduce need for medication, mitigate anxiety, reduce stress and save families and veterans’ lives. 

SOSD puts its dogs through a two-year training process.  First, the company acquires a puppy between six and eight weeks old.  The puppy is then sent to live with a foster family (see Puppy Raisers for more information), where it is disciplined and learns to adapt to a family environment.  After about a year, the dog is brought in for advanced work with the company’s trainers for four to six months.  When the dog reaches 18 months old, it is paired with a veteran for further training. 

Each veteran applicant is required to be in counseling and have obtained a letter from that counselor stating they would benefit from a service dog and would be able to take care of it.  Soldier On Service Dogs also requires the veterans take classes with them to find a dog that suits them and learn to handle their dogs. These classes continue as long as necessary before the veteran is allowed to take their service dog home.  The entire training and raising process costs about $25,000 per dog/veteran duo.

Our Mission
To operate as a charitable organization by providing, at no charge, trained service dogs and service dog training to qualified veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), and by contributing to the overall knowledge base of best practices associated with service dogs.
We will focus on quality of the dog, its training, its trainers and veteran clients to assure successful placement and ongoing dog/client partnerships.

Our Goal
Our goal is to provide a validating study while simultaneously helping to fill the gap in the availability of service dogs here in Arkansas. More specifically, we will have a curriculum based program where we will over the next three years accomplish the following:

  • Acquire 75 purpose breed dogs.
  • Train dogs to a service dog level and then extend it to advanced PTSD level.
  • Screen and match veterans to dogs.
  • Keep and maintain a database of training methods, trainer, dog, and veteran’s data longitudinally.

OUR TESTIMONIALS

“If I fall down and I don’t break anything, I roll over on my stomach and I call my dog and she stands right in front of me and she goes stiff as a board, and I push on her shoulders to stand up.” — Richard Ellet

“The service dog has given me a purpose and a reason to do something. It gives me encouragement. Before I stumbled into Soldier ON Service Dogs, I thought that service dogs were only good for seeing eye dogs, or attack or search dogs, and they’re not. They are your best buddy, but you’ve got to learn to treat your best buddy as a best buddy and treat him right and he will treat you right.” — Bob Grubbs

“Thank you so much Soldieronservicedogs and their supports for the wonderful gifts that was given to my husband Matt Trimmell and his service dog Roger! Your organization is amazing. We are very fortunate to have you guys in our lives.” — Matt Trimmell

Soldier ON Service Dogs, Inc. does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability, and marital status.


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CAREERS

Canine Program Manager/Director of Service Dog Training

Position:

Soldier ON Service Dogs, Inc. is a 501(c)3 located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We provide fully trained service dogs to veteran with PTSD and/or TBI in Northwest Arkansas for free. We work closely with the Ozarks Regional Veterans Administration (located in Fayetteville) and have had over 300 veterans who have applied for a service dog.

In order to meet the demand AND adhere to strict industry standards we are looking to hire a Canine Program Director/Director of Service Dog Training. This position requires direct experience working in the service dog industry and the ability to manage all aspects of our Canine Program include our trainers, training classes and Puppy Raiser Program.

This position reports directly to the Executive Director.  You will manage (3) trainers and a kennel staff of (4).  You will be responsible for the training of trainers, our dogs, our Puppy Raisers and our veterans.

This position pays between $48,000 and $60,000 a year and includes a relocation package.

Required Characteristics:

  • Thrives in a Small Team Atmosphere
  • Self-starter / Self-motivator
  • Effective Communicator
  • Intangible Relationship Building Skills
  • Works For and/ or Actively Volunteering With a Nonprofit
  • Solid Customer Service Mindset
  • Goal Oriented
  • Able to Plan and Work With a Budget
  • Cannot be Allergic to Dogs or Cats
  • Applicant Must Possess a Positive Attitude Who Wants to Make a Difference and Have a Visual Impact on the Organization.
  • A Strong Passion and Appreciation for Our Military Veterans is a Must.

Job Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Minimum five (5) years of professional dog training experience with a minimum of two (2) years of experience within the service dog industry as a trainer NOTE: Previous experience as an Instructor/Teacher preferred with comfort in leading one-to-one or group sessions
  • Prefer a Bachelor’s degree with preference given to candidates with degree in canine or human/health services related fields
  • Perform presentations, demonstrations, and on-site tours to potential donors, public and community based programs with a high degree of professionalism.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license, working vehicle and insurance
  • Must pass background check.
  • Demonstrate ability to teach/instruct apprentice trainers, volunteers, and Veterans on Soldier ON training methodology and problem solving
  • Possess knowledge, understanding and experience working with various diagnoses and disabilities in order to effectively train service dogs to meet these needs and comfortably communicate with program participants
  • Implementation of effective training methods, problem solving and instruction for all phases of training (puppy through graduate training) in accordance with Assistance Dogs International Standards
  • Plan and manage weekly community outings for veterans and with puppy raisers to address a specific puppy’s training and socialization needs
  • Experience in public speaking, presentations and interacting with community members, sponsors and public relation partners
  • Manage administrative process of collecting and reviewing evaluations for puppies in training and to provide appropriate follow up with the executive director, board members, veterans and Puppy Raisers.

Position Type:

Full time, with occasional weekend/evening hours, and hours above and beyond the standard 40 hour work week. All members of Service Dog Program staff are on call for after hour dog emergencies 24 hours a day.

We are an equal employment opportunity employer.

Apply Now!

Email your cover letter, resume and other pertinent documents to [email protected].

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NEWSLETTER

Soldier ON Service Dogs, Spring Edition

The last few months have been a busy time for Soldier ON Service Dogs. Here’s just a bit of what we’ve been able to accomplish, thanks to the incredible support of our local community here in Northwest Arkansas.

Promising the Future Partners

Sustaining Memberships

Won’t you help us serve those who have already served by becoming a Promising the Future Partner today? With your help we can secure the future of our Veterans, the future of our service dogs, and the future of Soldier ON.

Soldier ON Service Dogs, Inc. provides highly trained service dogs, free of charge, to qualifying Veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). Each dog we raise and place costs the organization approximately $40,000.

We receive no government funding. We rely on the kindness of individual donors, businesses, corporations and foundations to help support our mission.

Just listen to the difference a Soldier ON service dog made in the life of one of our Veterans, in his own words: “My Soldier ON service dog has given me a purpose and a reason to do something. He gives me encouragement. Before I stumbled into Soldier ON Service Dogs, I thought that service dogs were only good for seeing eye or search and rescue work, however, they can do so much more. They are trained to pick up dropped items, turn on and off light switches, wake from nightmares, and lead you out situations where you feel anxious. I was not comfortable venturing out in public until I received my Soldier ON service dog. Now I have a buddy that helps me be more at ease and independent. He is my best buddy, my battle buddy.”

Northwest Arkansas has an enormous number of Veterans that would benefit tremendously from a service dog. We have thirteen Veterans on our waiting list already. Without your help, there’s no way that we’ll be able to meet our local Veterans’ needs for service dogs. Even a dollar a day could make a difference.

Promising the Future Partners will receive monthly updates on the progress of our dogs in training and Veteran success stories. Additionally, you will be invited to our annual Donor Appreciation Party and have the opportunity to meet some of our Veteran/Dog teams, volunteer puppy raisers, our Board Members and staff. Join today: call our offices at 479-521-9301.

The Celebrity Slide Challenge

Nominations are Open

Do you have a coach, boss, or colleague who you believe could do a lot of good for a good cause? Someone you would like to see take the plunge down our 1,000-ft. slip ‘n slide for charity? Someone who loves military veterans and/or dogs?

Nominate them to be a Celebrity Slider at this year’s Dickson Street Slide! On Sunday, August 26th, we’re rolling out the slide again, and this year we need Celebrity Sliders!

Celebrity Sliders compete to raise the most money for Soldier ON Service Dogs. The top three Celebrity Sliders will slide against each other to kick off the event! It’s easy, it’s fun, and it helps a great cause!

If you would like to make a Celebrity Slider nomination today, please contact our offices at (479)521-9301.

Alive Day, All Year

Honoring Our Veterans

Honoring and thanking military personnel all year long sounds like a “no brainer”, but how do you actually go about doing it? Soldier ON Service Dog’s “Alive Day – All Year” is a way to do just that for the military personnel who are all around us doing great things in our community: our coworkers, our friends, and our family members.

For a donation of just $50, we’ll hang a special metal leaf on the Alive Tree sculpture located at the Soldier ON facility– a leaf crafted by a local northwest Arkansas artisan and engraved with the name, rank and branch/years of service of the military personnel that you want to honor. Won’t you help us fill the branches of the Alive Tree? Order your leaves today at www.soldieronservicedogs.org/Alive-Tree.

Other Ways to Give

Opportunities and Events

For those who aren’t quite ready to donate, there are still plenty of other ways you can help us help our local veterans.

We’re always in need of volunteers in our office, at events, and around our facilities. Applying to become a Puppy Raiser is another wonderful way to help. It’s a great experience for the entire family!

Hosting a penny drive at your school or a Jean’s Day/Bring your Dog to Work Day fundraiser at your workplace are both great options, and we’d love to hear from anyone interested in hosting a third party event to help get out the word about Soldier ON Service Dogs. Donations in lieu of gifts for those with an upcoming anniversary or birthday are always appreciated, and if you would like to remember Soldier ON in your estate plan, please contact us.

The Blue & You Foundation

Grant Spotlight

Simply providing a service dog doesn’t mean that our work is done. Even after our veteran-service dog teams graduate from our program, the services we provide continue. When one of our graduated teams needs additional training or education, our trainers are there for them, available indefinitely.

We’d like to offer our sincere thanks to the Blue & You Foundation for helping to make that sort of continuing education and care possible through a $1,000 grant. The Blue & You Foundation partnering with Soldier ON helps provide for this crucial part of our program’s success. We are truly grateful. The aid they provide makes our mission possible!

J.B. Hunt Transport Services

Donor Spotlight

We were thrilled to be a part of J.B. Hunt Transport’s “Jean’s Day” this March. Over the course of the day, the associates at J.B. Hunt Transport Services gave generously to the cause, making significant contributions to our mission of serving those who have already served. While they gave, Sooie, a service dog-in-training, showed off her skills and our Soldier ON team offered education on the important work that service dogs can do for those with PTSD/TBI.

For eight consecutive years, G.I. Jobs, a premier national resource for veterans who are transitioning to civilian life, has placed J.B. Hunt Transport Services in the top 25 of its annual Top Military Friendly Employers list. J.B. Hunt Transport Services has also been the recipient of the prestigious large employer Pro Patria Award from the Arkansas State Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

We’re grateful to J.B. Hunt Transport Services for their longstanding partnership with Soldier ON and for the dedication they’ve shown to veterans in general.

Hero Tales Hangar Party 2018

Event Spotlight

Our 2nd Annual Hero Tales Hangar Party was extra energized, thanks to the strong showing of Soldier ON supporters, the work of committee chairs Angela and Jack Pestello, and this year’s country music headliner Barrett Baber.

A genuine supporter of veterans and Soldier ON’s mission, Barrett spent time before the show visiting with fans then offering a memorable performance including popular covers such as “Lay You Down” and “Walking in Memphis.” Guests also enjoyed originals like “Kiss Me Hello” and “Still Stands,” the latter inspired by the story of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Ryan Pirelli who was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom in August 2007. The song was also featured in a 2017 documentary Danger Close by filmmakers David Salzberg and Christian Tureaud.

Mid-tribute, fans and Barrett himself were visibly moved when event co-chair, Angela Pestello, surprised him onstage holding a puppy recently donated to Soldier ON for service-dog training. Pestello introduced the puppy as “Baber”, a name fondly decided on by the event planning committee. Following his performance, Barrett happily made time for photos and conversation with attending veterans.

Every year, the Hero Tales Hangar Party committee nominates a few local veterans who have served their country, survived and gone on to positively influence their communities. Veteran nominations this year included Gil Bloyd, Gary Profit and Ed Harwell. In addition, local quilting club Quilts of Valor, presented handmade quilts to three Soldier ON veterans.

For the first time, this year’s Hangar Party also featured a live auction! Some of the top items in the auction were naming a Soldier ON puppy (future service dog), a private Barrett Baber concert, and even a songwriting and recording session with Nashville song-writer and music producer, Kenny Lamb.

It was a night to remember for Soldier ON and an opportunity to welcome several new supporters and friends.

Our next Hero Tales Hangar Party will be April 6th, 2019! Save the Date!

Jack and Angela Pestello

Volunteer Spotlight

We are pleased to introduce you to two very valuable, passionate Soldier ON Service Dogs volunteers, Jack and Angela Pestello. The Pestellos met each other while both working at the Walmart Home Office in Bentonville, where Jack is a Senior Vice President for Private Brands. They have been married for three years and have five children. Their parents and grandparents served in the military, and their 22-year old son, Dante, joined the Navy, so they have a great desire to give back to our military community.

Jack and Angela heard of Soldier ON while attending the Dickson Street Slide in 2015. After researching the organization, they determined Soldier ON filled two of their prerequisites, serving veterans and working with animals. They’ve been supporters of Soldier ON ever since.

The Pestellos have been volunteering as puppy raisers for Soldier ON, and are currently raising their third puppy-in-training, Elvis, a handsome black Lab. When asked about puppy raising, Angela shared, “The puppy raising experience involves the entire family. Everyone takes pride in teaching the dog commands and helping with socialization.”

Angela has recently expanded her volunteer efforts by helping to find new volunteer puppy raisers and working with breeders to acquire quality dogs for Soldier ON. These are not tasks to be taken lightly. Making sure the right individuals sign up and are committed to raise specially selected dogs is key to the success of the organization.

Jack and Angela both took a larger role this spring, when they signed on as co-hosts for our 2nd Annual Hero Tales Hanger Party– Red, White & Blue Jeans. They were instrumental in acquiring the evening’s entertainer, Barrett Baber, and invited many of their family and friends to attend and support the organization.

It’s thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers like Jack and Angela Pestello that we have been able to accomplish so much this year.

Dickson Street Slide 2018

Two Great Events in One

Yes, it is that time of year again! On August 26th (the last Sunday in August) Soldier ON Service Dogs will be hosting the 4th Annual Dickson Street Slide and Community Village with proceeds going directly to help raise and train service dogs for Veterans with PTSD or TBI.

For those who haven’t heard about it, The Dickson Street Slide and Community Village is two big events in one!

The first half of the event is the Dickson Street Slide, a 1000-ft. water slide that runs from Collier’s Drug Store to the intersection of Dickson and West. It’s more than three football fields long and runs from curb to curb! The event starts at 9:00 am with the top three Celebrity Slider Fundraisers competing for the fastest slide time. Afterward, the slide is open for ticket holders to enjoy from 10:00 am until 8:00 o’clock that night.

The second half of the event is the Community Village located in the Walton Arts Center Parking lot at the corner of Dickson and West. The Community Village is open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.

As in previous years, the Community Village includes a Food Zone with great food and snacks from local food trucks, a Business Zone where you can engage with businesses and organizations through fun activities while learning about their products and services, a Little Kids Zone where the little “guys” who aren’t able to go on the big slide can enjoy a smaller version of the slide along with face painting and other fun activities, and an Entertainment Zone with performances from local groups and individuals.

This year, we’re adding a whole lot more to the Community Village, though! We’ll have a Health and Wellness Zone where you can meet medical professionals to learn more about general health, PTSD, TBI, and Suicide Awareness, a Touch-a-Truck Zone where you can get up close with vehicles like a Firetruck, a police car and motorcycle, an EMS vehicle, a boat, and various military vehicles, and we’ll have a Competition Zone where you can compete in various “Ninja Events.”

Mark your calendars now for August 26th, 2018 and spend the day with Soldier ON Service Dogs! It’s going to be a fun and exciting day for everyone, and it’s all for a good cause.

To purchase tickets or become a sponsor, call our offices at (479)521-9301. There are still booth spaces available in the Community Village, as well!

Our Proud Sponsors

Supporting the Cause

As always, we’d like to offer our sincere thanks to our proud sponsors. We could not do what we do without the support of the organizations below.

  • 3W Magazine
  • The Blue & You Foundation
  • The Carl & Alleen McKinney Charitable Trust
  • Celebrate Arkansas Magazine
  • DC Sparks Construction
  • Experience Fayetteville
  • Home Depot
  • iHeart Media
  • J.B. Hunt Transport Services
  • KNWA
  • Mars Petcare
  • The Nadine L. Baum Charitable Foundation
  • Nudges
  • Petco
  • Potty House
  • SLV Productions
  • State Farm
  • Walmart
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VOLUNTEER

Soldier ON Needs Volunteers!

Delivering trained service dogs to veterans, free of charge, is time consuming.  The list of things that need to be done is varied and never ending.  And every hour that a volunteer donates to Soldier ON is an hour that Soldier ON can focus on the needs of the veterans and service dogs.  It’s really that simple.

Each of us serves our community in the way that we can. Using your talents and skills is just as valuable as a cash donation.  

Soldier ON needs a Media Writer:  We need someone to help us write press announcements.

Soldier ON needs an Event Planner:  We have several events scheduled and a small budget that needs to be maximized.  If it isn’t fun, people won’t want to come again.  The person we are looking for knows how to throw a party and work with a budget. 

Soldier ON needs a Community Outreach/Education Coordinator:  We are putting dogs out into our community.  Our community needs to know what the difference in a service dog in-training and a certified service dog is and how to interact with the.  We need to educate people, take dogs to local schools, and even hold seminars.  The person we are looking for knows how to get a message out.  They are first and foremost an educator and willing to spend 2-3 hours a week talking to local groups about service dogs.

Northwest Arkansas is well known for its wide range of talents and its commitment to serving the community. If you’d like to volunteer, please call (479) 521-9301.

Become a Puppy Raiser

Soldier ON Service Dogs, Inc. is in need of caring & responsible individuals to oversee basic training and socialization of our future service dogs during the first year of their lives.

A puppy raiser will welcome a puppy in our program into their home to get some basic training. Puppy raisers attend a weekly class to learn how to train their puppy guest. After 6-9 months, the puppy is brought back to our facility to work daily with our trainers!

Can you take a puppy for 12-14 months and help a veteran in NWA? It takes a special puppy to become a service dog! 

Become a Temporary Foster

Take one of our dogs or puppies for the weekend, a week … up to 2 months that is either just entering the program, whose primary care giver is unavailable or is leaving the program.

Requirements:

  • You must love dogs
  • You must have time for a dog
  • You must be willing to help train a dog
  • You must be able to take care of a dog

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OUR DOGS

Service Dogs

Transforming a dog and a veteran into a team is the primary task of this organization.  The quality of the input matters!

Not every dog has the right characteristics to be a service dog. Acquiring the very best dogs possible is critical.  The cost in terms of time, money, and, quite frankly, emotional impact on a veteran whose dog they have been training washes out must be minimized.  Find out what characteristics we screen for and the importance of socialization.

Adoptable Dogs

Some times during the training process for our service dogs we discover they may be missing a key ingredient needed for them to graduate our ‘Veterans Program’.  These highly trained and socialized dogs are then adopted out as companion dogs.


Do you think you might have a dog that could make a good service dog? We are looking for attentive dogs in good health that are not aggressive, overprotective, timid, overly friendly, overly sensitive to their partners emotions and do not have a strong prey drive.

If you think you have a dog with these characteristics please click the button above and tell us as much about the dog as you can. After we’ve had a chance to review your information we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Home

Soldier On Service Dogs is a non-profit 501(c)(3) located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  We provide trained service dogs to Northwest Arkansas Veterans diagnosed with PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries, free of charge. 

The Demand

Because Arkansas has one of the highest per-capita veteran populations there are an estimated 2,500 Arkansans in need of service dogs.  In fact, nearly 10% of Arkansans have served or currently serve in the military.

Look around you, they are our neighbors, our friends ….. our family.

The Supply

To date, there has been a very limited offering of highly trained service dogs.  There is no regulation when it comes to service dog trainers and no regulated certification for service dog teams, resulting in many inadequately trained dogs carrying the honored title of Service Dogs. 

Our service dogs are trained by our specialists familiar with the needs of veterans, and we also train the veterans how to handle their service dogs in a variety of situations.

The Current Situation

There is currently a great need for properly trained service dogs for veterans in Northwest Arkansas and across the country.

The Veterans Administration only recognizes service dogs for veterans with sight, hearing or mobility issues.  A study is being conducted by the Veterans Administration to validate veterans with PTSD can benefit from service dogs.  We have directly witnessed the benefits a service dog can give to a veteran with these disabilities.  In fact, there may be a direct link to the benefits of service dogs and the prevention of suicide in the veteran population.

ABOUT SOSD

Soldier On Service Dogs is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides Northwest Arkansas Veterans diagnosed with PTSD and/or TBI with service dogs free of charge. Our service dogs are carefully chosen, matched to a veteran and custom trained to handle that veterans specific needs.

TESTIMONIALS

“The service dog has given me a purpose and a reason to do something. It gives me encouragement. Before I stumbled into Soldier ON Service Dogs, I thought that service dogs were only good for seeing eye dogs, or attack or search dogs, and they’re not. They are your best buddy, but you’ve got to learn to treat your best buddy as a best buddy and treat him right and he will treat you right.”

DONATE!

Do you like helping dogs and veterans? Help fund our training program with a tax deductible gift, honorary gift or memorial gift.  We also have a ‘Wish List’ of items needed for our dogs, trainers and veterans. 

NEWS & EVENTS

June 13th
Smitty’s Garage Burgers & Beer
Come join Soldier On Service Dogs at Smitty’s Garage Burgers & Beer for an evening of great food and great drinks!
Time: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: 4200 S. 48th St., Ste. 50
Rogers, AR 72758

June 22nd
Trivia Night with Core Brewing
Are you as good at trivia as you think you are? Better show up and see. It will be a great evening with a great group of people going for the title.
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: Emma St. Pub
101 W. Johnson Ave., Suite D
Springdale, Arkansas 72764

June 23rd
Nash Back at Ya Car Show
Free admission, silent auction, and all the cars, trucks, bikes and motorcycles you’d want to see! Family friendly event.
Time: 8:00am – 3:00pm
Location: 100 N. Dixieland Rd.,
Rogers, AR 72756

Wish List Items

  • Medium Gentle Leaders
  • Nylabone Flexi Chew, Big Chews or Super Dura Chew Bones
  • Harts Brand Chew n’ Clean Bones
  • 3 Truckloads of Gravel
  • 3 Truckloads of Concrete
  • 100 Clipboards – Letter Size Pressed Board

Did You Know?
Only the best of the best dogs become service dogs. Sometimes, during the training process, it is determined a dog is not the right fit for a service dog.  These dogs are then made available to the public for adoption.  They come from high quality breeders and, at a minimum, have been taught basic obedience commands, and make exceptional pets.

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PROGRAMS

Veterans Program

We provide service dogs, education and training to veterans diagnosed with PTSD and/or TBI within a 50 mile radius of Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

Our dogs are fully screened, socialized and trained before they are matched with a Veteran.  We teach Veterans how work with and care for a service dog. We match the Veteran and service dog based on the dog’s temperament and skills. We then custom train the dog for the Veteran’s particular needs.  Finally, we work with the Veteran and their service dog in a wide variety of situations and support the Veteran as the service dog transitions into the home environment.

To be a veteran in one of our programs you must, at a minimum:

  • Live within a 50 mile radius of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
  • Provide Soldier ON with a copy of your DD-214.
  • Be actively participating in counseling through the VA.
  • Provide a letter from a mental health professional stating diagnosis(es).
  • Attend regular training classes in Fayetteville, Arkansas from 1 to 3 times per week

Puppy Raiser Program

Soldier ON Service Dogs, Inc. is in need of caring & responsible individuals to oversee basic training and socialization of our future service dogs during the first year of their lives.

A puppy raiser will welcome a puppy in our program into their home to get some basic training. Puppy raisers attend a weekly class to learn how to train their puppy guest. After 6-9 months, the puppy is brought back to our facility to work daily with our trainers!

Can you take a puppy for 12-14 months and help a veteran in NWA? It takes a special puppy to become a service dog! 

Train the Trainer Program

Soldier ON has developed an On-the-Job-Training (OJT) Program.  The primary purpose of this program is to provide trainers with the knowledge needed to custom train a dog to PTSD or BIT level so they can assist Soldier ON with their training needs.  In other words … come apprentice with us.  

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ALIVE DAY

Would you save a life with just a few words if you could?  Soldier ON will be holding its first annual ‘Alive Day’  on December 30th. The purpose of Alive Day is to tell the veteran(s) in your life how glad you are they are alive and how much they are valued and appreciated.

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.

Soldier ON is pleased to announce the first annual Alive Day to be held on December 30, 2016.  The purpose of Alive Day is to spur people who have veterans in their lives to tell a veteran that they are glad they are alive.  We want you to tell a veteran you know that you are happy that they lived another day — that they came home.

Millions of people are alive today because their special veteran lived.  There are millions of people whose lives are forever changed because their father … their mother … brother … sister … uncle … son … daughter … best friend … co-worker made it back.

“You better believe I’m glad my son-in-law is alive”, Angie Pratt said.  “Emmy is my first grandson.  He is here today because his father, Staff Sargent Theron Lindenmuth (USMC), didn’t die on November 24th 2013.  He lived another day.  Yes … I’m glad he is alive.”

The problem of course is that many veterans come home changed forever.  They are not the same person who left home to defend our country.  This is true for Soldier ON’s veterans and the 14,000 other veterans in Northwest Arkansas that suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

The holidays are hard on people … veterans.  Many servicemen and women struggle with survivors guilt, as well as physical and mental manifestations after their time in the military. Suicide rates distinctly increase in the months of November and December. We hear from many Veterans that it seems like “nobody cares.” Help us show them otherwise.   Our PTSD veterans are particularly at risk.  If you could take a second and prevent a suicide … wouldn’t you?  Wouldn’t you want to take a moment to tell that veteran you care?

Join Soldier ON today and on December 30th and tell your veteran that you’re glad they are alive.  Wish them Happy Alive Day.  Don’t let another year go by – do it in 2016.  Don’t let another day go by.

Post your ‘Alive Day’ message on Facebook to your veteran here!

Post your Alive Day message on our wall. Include a name and a picture of the Veteran you are thanking, or leave it anonymous. Let as many Veterans that you you want know that their heartbeat matters.

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ALIVE TREE

Honoring Those Who Made It Home

Soldier ON’s Alive Day just got bigger and better with the unveiling of the SOSD 12-foot oak tree sculpture designed and fabricated by Northwest Technical Institute Students.  Special leaf-shaped ornaments can be purchased through a recurring donation of just $10 per month.  Each leaf will hold the name of a veteran whose life is celebrated and cherished.  The sculpture will be placed at the Soldier ON facilities where it will celebrate the fact that veterans in our community that do come home do make all of our lives better.

U.S. Army SPC Skyler Ford is kissed by his wife Sara Ford during a homecoming ceremony for troops in the 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, with the 3rd Infantry Division, Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at Fort Stewart, Ga. Units from the brigade were operating in many locations in Afghanistan during their 9-month deployment, and many are returning ahead of schedule as part of the drawdown. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

This is about life.  This is about our veterans who do come home.  This about collectively, individually telling our veterans that we care … that we’re glad their alive.  And … no … they are not alone.

Simple question – do you know a veteran who has made a difference in your life?

Angie Pratt, Founder and Executive Director of Soldier ON Service Dogs, makes the case with her own testimony.  “I have a grandson today because my son-in-law lived another day.  He didn’t die over there.  He came home.  And … Lord … yes I am grateful.  How can I not be?”

“Our new Alive Tree will be something special,” Pratt continues.  “It celebrates life … living.  The leaves on our Alive Tree will carry the names of veterans who did come home and do make a difference in our lives today.” 

The point of Alive Day (December 30th) is to encourage all of us to take a moment and individually tell a veteran in your life that you are glad they are alive.   And … in the process … maybe save a life.  Veteran suicide is a real problem.  Statistically over 22 veterans kill themselves every day in America.  “We want our veterans to know that we care … that there is hope … that they do make a difference.  If you could prevent a suicide by telling someone you care … wouldn’t you … tell them?”   

The Holiday season can be particularly hard on veterans.  Many servicemen and women struggle with survivors guilt, as well as physical and mental manifestations after their time in the military. Suicide rates distinctly increase in the months of November and December. We hear from many Veterans that it seems like “nobody cares.” Help us show them otherwise.  Join Soldier ON Service Dogs to make all of our veterans know they are appreciated.

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.

The Alive Tree

The Alive tree is a 12-foot tall outdoor tree sculpture made out of rebar patterned after the tree sculptures at the Prairie Grove National Museum.  The sculpture will be made by the Northwest Technical Institute Students from material supplied by Home Depot and a generous donation from the Bank of Fayetteville to have the sculpture tree permanently installed.  The tree will feature leaves with the names of the veterans who our donors want to say they are glad they alive.

This tree will have a special place of honor in front of the Soldier ON office for everyone to see the names of those whose continued life is celebrated and cherished.

The Leaves of Celebration

The leaves of this tree are leaf-shaped ornaments designed by Avery Nelson of Forge Custom Metal Designs with engraving by John Lifer of Ozark Laser Engraving and will carry the name of the veteran who was able to come home and who is making a difference in our lives today. When you pledge a recurring donation of $10 per month, an engraved leaf will be placed on the tree in honor of the veteran of your choice.

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