Sadly, our heroes have a shorter life span than human. CVSDU has a Succession Planning process to ensure that our veteran and first responder handlers continue to maintain control of their lives with the acquisition of a new trained service dog.
This Succession Planning is meant to anticipate the retirement of older Service Dogs along with the need to have replacement of fully trained Service Dogs. This usually takes 14-15 months of socialized puppy training. Succession Planning is critical in order to avoid handlers who have lost a dog from regressing into or exasperating symptoms of their PTSD.
Currently, we have trained over 30 Service Dog teams, some of which have lost their “canine heroes”. It is not always easy to obtained a replacement trained puppy during this waiting period. Our need to purchase, train and provide more Service Dogs make it that much more important.