RRUFF Healing Heroes – Service Dogs for Veterans with PTSD

PTSD service dogs for vets

RRUFF Healing Heroes provides funding to support service dogs for veterans with PTSD and other invisible disabilities in the Sacramento area. This program is made possible by the generous support of our RRUFF members, local businesses, and individual donations. We are especially grateful to receive matching dollars up to $10,000 a year from Sierra Ranch Pet Rehabilitation Center in Roseville, CA.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious problem for veterans. Each day, 22 American Veterans commit suicide. RRUFF Healing Heroes helps veterans cope with PTSD and other invisible disabilities by funding service dog training for them. Group service dog classes are held at Pet Food Express in Roseville and St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in Rancho Cordova. Classes are also held on the American River College Campus in Sacramento for disabled veterans who are enrolled at the college.

The six-month-long service dog training program matches a veteran with a service dog and then trains the two to work together. PTSD service dogs help by alerting their human to the approach of someone from behind, guiding their human to a safe place, interrupting nightmares and flashbacks, and many other tasks.

All classes are led by Terry Sandhoff, Master Trainer at 4Paws2Freedom, a nonprofit organization created to improve the lives of veterans and first responders with PTSD through the use of service dogs.

In 2018, the cost of training one veteran and service dog is $2000. Group classes are $9,500 and can accommodate up to 10 veteran and dog teams.

Individual scholarships are awarded as funding allows. Applications for scholarships should be submitted directly to 4paws2freedom.

The Healing Heroes program is sponsored by matching dollars from Sierra Ranch Pet Rehabilitation Center in Roseville, California. Please donate today to help a veteran receive service dog training.



PTSD service dogs for veterans



ptsd service dog veteran graduation




Photos from the RRUFF Healing Heroes Program to Fund Service Dog Training for Veterans



luis montalvan and PTSD service dog

The Healing Heroes program is dedicated to the memory of Luis Carlos Montalvan 1973-2016


Luis Carlos Montalvan was an American soldier and author who was an advocate for the use of service dogs. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and was awarded two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, and the Combat Action Badge for his combat service. After his discharge from the service, he suffered from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that made it difficult for him to even leave his apartment – until he met his service dog Tuesday. Together, Captain Montalvan and Tuesday raised awareness about PTSD and its impact on veterans, and their meeting with Senator Al Franken inspired the legislator to introduce a bill to provide service dogs for vets. Captain Montalvan’s book “Until Tuesday:  A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him”  was a New York Times bestseller.