Our Dogs 

Where We Find Our Service Dog Trainees

Our service dogs are acquired from local animal shelters and donations from reputable dog breeders. Each service dog is screened for behavior that is conducive in passing a public access test and desirable in a service dog.

Our Service Dog Training Process


After passing our screening process, each of our service dogs go through a training program before being placed with a veteran in our program. Before the placement of service dog, the future handler will attend a two week training program to prepare him or her and family for a service dog. Our service dogs are trained by using the theory of clear signals communication with positive reinforcement for desired behavior and only using non-abusive negative reinforcement to mark undesired behavior.

Caring for Our Service Dog Trainees


Care of our service dogs is extremely important to our organization. We do not take trainees until they are older than 8 weeks of age and old enough to be away from their mother. Each dog receives consistent high-quality veterinary care. While going through the training process, our dogs often stay with foster homes until they are ready to be placed with their veteran.


For more information about fostering a trainee, visit our Get Involved page.


Return to Heal intends to be accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI). We are in the process of completing this endeavor currently. With that goal in mind, Return to heal follows ADI’s guidelines and standards regarding the training and placement of our service dogs.