PTSD service dogs for vets

RRUFF Healing Heroes provides funding to support service dogs for veterans with PTSD and other invisible disabilities in the Greater Sacramento/Placer County 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. Additionally we were recipient of a 2018 Grant from Lyon Cares Foundation in the amount of $10,000.  

We are collaborating with Allegiant Giving to expand the Healing Heroes Program and they donated over $15,000 to the program in 2018 as well as in-kind administrative services. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious problem for veterans. Each day, 22 American Veterans die by 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 as well as a class in Placerville.  A second class will begin in the Spring of 2019 at Beale Air Force Base.

The One Year 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.

Classes are led by Terry Sandhoff, Master Trainer at 4Paws2Freedom. This nonprofit was created to improve the lives of veterans and first responders coping with PTSD through the use of service dogs. RRUFF Healing Heroes funds these classes.  In 2019 the cost to train one veteran and one service dog team is $2,500. Group classes start at $9,500 and can accommodate up to 10 veteran/dog teams. If you are interested in applying for a class, please submit your online application directly to 4Paws2Freedom here.   

Individual scholarships are awarded as funding allows.



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.