DEDICATED TO FIRST RESPONDERS

Station Dogs

As part our mission, K9s For Warriors partners with law enforcement and first responder agencies to provide reliable, high-quality K9s that provide emotional support to law enforcement officers, firefighters, dispatchers, victims, and others who are repeatedly exposed to traumatic events in the line of duty.

What Are Station Dogs?

Station Dogs ease emotional stress common in this line of public service. Station Dogs are made up of retired Service Dogs or dogs that have received extensive training from our professional trainers but were not quite cut out to be Service Dogs.

It is important to note that these dogs are not diverted from any Warriors in the K9s For Warriors program, and the departments receiving these Station Dogs are receiving them at no cost to them.

The K9s For Warriors Station Dog program is an American Kennel Club recognized Therapy Dog program.

Station Dogs Are Not Service Dogs

Station Dogs are not Service Dogs and do not have rights or legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Station Dogs can be taken to events that are dogfriendly and to locations that are dog-friendly as long as the handler maintains care and control of the Station Dog

We are dedicated to supporting our nation’s heroes, and while our focus is on helping military veterans overcome mental trauma, we started the Station Dog program to extend that support to the heroes who continue to serve our communities.”

Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s For Warriors

Current Placement

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Police Stations

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Fire Stations

Real Stations. Real Stories.

Station Dog FAQs

Station Dogs are a great enhancement to staff mental health supports and have shown success in many different arrangements. For an agency to be considered for a K9s For Warriors’ Station Dog, the agency must:

  • Agree to properly care for, house, and provide a safe working and living environment for the dog and conduct follow up training as required by K9s For Warriors;
  • Identify a primary handler (possibly a secondary handler depending on how the agency intends to use the dog and what is best for the dog); and
  • Complete the K9s For Warriors’ Station Dog Pre-Placement Training with the dog.

Working with law enforcement and first responders has been a successful new career option for retired Service Dogs that have been voluntarily returned by their Warriors. Since Service Dog work is typically for the lifetime of the dog, K9s For Warriors pairs Warriors with dogs that are 2-3 years old, so the dog and Warrior have maximum time together over their lifetime. These dogs are ready for a new career.
Before starting their new career, each dog is medically cleared with limited to no medical needs (so they do not place a financial burden on the receiving agency). They also receive a basic obedience training refresher and learn some special commands to assist them in their role as a Station Dog, although, “Make a Friend” is likely the only command they need to make a difference.

At a minimum, each Station Dog meets the standards set forth by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and must pass the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Test, reliably performing basic obedience and successfully completing the following commands 90% of the time: Heel, Sit, Down, Place, Kennel (crating), My Lap, Make a Friend, and Load/Unload in and out of a vehicle. Station Dogs should not be reactive to other animals and should be friendly and confident so that new sights, sounds, and experiences do not startle them.

In accordance with ADI standards and accreditation, Station Dogs will be easily identifiable by wearing their provided vest with identification patches while working in the agency assigned.

While in the agency, each Station Dog should be accessible by any staff member to help mitigate the signs or symptoms of stress and provide emotional support. It may become necessary to create a rotating schedule to allow staff access to the dog so that everyone can benefit from their presence. As the Station Dog becomes more confident in its new role, it may also help alleviate the stress of witnesses or victims who are being interviewed or giving testimony about violent or traumatic crimes.

Ideally, each Station Dog will work at the agency during assigned shifts and return home with their handler after the shift completes. This will allow the dog time to rest, just be a dog, and play, which will increase the dog’s ability to perform its duties while working. Other acceptable arrangements include the Station Dog living in the station part-time and returning home with its handler for break periods or the Station Dog living in the station full time while being allowed outside for routine breaks, play, training, and relaxation (in essence, the station becomes home to the dog.)

Pre-placement and post-placement training will be provided to designated handlers at each agency (preferably two handlers to allow for redundancy). In the case of a larger agency, handlers may need to be identified in varying units in which the dog may work. Regardless of agency size, follow-up training for the dog and handlers will be provided on an as-needed basis. Routine follow-up can be conducted monthly to evaluate effectiveness, needs, etc.

K9s For Warriors will provide each Station Dog with an initial vest, leash, treat pouch, waste bags, identification patches, one-year supply of preventative medication (flea/tick/heartworm), and a dog crate.

Station Dogs are not Service Dogs and do not have rights or legal protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Station Dogs can be taken to events that are dog-friendly and to locations that are dog-friendly as long as the handler maintains care and control of the Station Dog. Station Dogs typically do not have issues with access and are usually welcomed everywhere they go. Since they are emotional support dogs, their primary function should be to interact with staff and give them an opportunity to alleviate stress by providing companionship and affection, which they love to do! It’s always best to get permission prior to going, even in places the handler or your agency typically goes. It also serves as a heads up to your hosts that a dog will be visiting so they can alert you of anything that they believe might be a challenge for the dog.

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Ready To Recruit A Station Dog?

We want to help you with the emotional stress that comes with being a first responder.

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Station Dog Application

If you would like to inquire about the K9s For Warriors Station Dog Program, please share with us with the following information:
Agency Point of Contact
General Questions
Handler Information
Contact Information
Contact Information
Veterinarian Information
Veterinarian Contact Information