AKC Certified
June 11 2013
AKC Website

Member of the
Bright and Beautiful
Therapy Dogs, Inc B&B Website


Lucy is an AKC Certified therapy dog. I am a volunteer, not a veteran, in the pet therapy program at the Castle Point and Montrose VA Hospitals. We go around visiting the patients. It is a lot of fun watching the patients brighten up when Lucy walks into their room.

Having a brain injury, I found that training Lucy was very therapeutic for me, and at the end, I have a great dog. I would like to share my experience with the returning combat Veterans with TBI / PTSD.

 The Veteran will work with their local animal shelter and train a dog at their own local training center. An evaluator from AKC will certify that the dog and veteran meet
Canine Good Citizen certification.

A dog must be certified by one of these organizations to be eligible to receive the AKC Therapy Dog title.
At the end, the dog will be AKC
Therapy Dog certified to go to hospitals or nursing homes.

There will be no fund-raising, fanfare, marketing or any other type of activities that will interfere with the confidentiality of the Veteran. The expense will be burdened by the Veteran, and we need to keep it minimal. My expense training Lucy was around $500. Maybe people are willing to donate some of their time in doing this.

 Please forward this website TherapyDogLucy.org to any returning combat Veteran. They may know a Veteran that could use the help.

This is strictly a civilian project. TherapyDogLucy.org is not associated with the military, Veterans Affairs or any other governmental agency. Please keep in mind that this is a therapy dog and not a service dog. A therapy dog does not have public access.

For more information, please contact me at:
Joe DeJong
845 787 3960

Current assignment

  Hudson Valley Castle Point VA


Pine Bush Area Public Library
 Kids reading to Lucy program

Lucy's Rescue Story

Warning graphic material

Lucy's Newspaper Article 

Movie On Netflix "Shelter Me"

Aiming to boost the adoption of shelter pets, this uplifting documentary focuses on the success stories, including dogs trained as service animals for the disabled and others who are helping returning war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

On YouTube:

FaceBook website and Photos:

Dog Trainer
Not sure if this works. Please check with your VA service coordinator.


Below is a list of some of the financial assistance programs available to qualified persons:
 The Montgomery GI Bill – Chapter 30
 Post 9/11 GI Bill – Chapter 33
 VRAP Approved (Veteran’s Retraining Assistance Program)
 The Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance – Chapter 35
 Selected Reserve – Chapter 1606
 Reserve Educational Assistance – Chapter 1607

Help with foster care
Veterans needs help foster caring their dogs when they go to the hospital. The American Legion or VFW may have volunteers to help with foster care.
For more information, please contact me at:
Joe DeJong
845 787 3960

No pets allow
Issued: April 25, 2013

Subject: Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing and HUD-Funded Programs



Palo Alto Dog VA center

A dog must be certified by one of these organizations to be eligible to receive the AKC Therapy Dog title.

10-step Canine Good Citizen test

Copy of CGC test PDF file
The CGC test includes

This is an example of training a therapy dog.

First, find a trusted dog trainer. Maybe, the dog trainer is from the animal behavioral college dog trainer (ABCDT) or from the Association of professional dog trainers (APDT).

Second, find a private dog shelter. The municipal dog shelters may have problems.

Third, have the handler and the dog trainer talk about what type of dog the handler wants. Some communities fear the aggressive breeds. The dog trainer should do a assessment of the handler.

Fourth, the handler and the dog trainer will go to the dog shelter, and the trainer will do a temperament test to see if the dog is okay.

Fifth, go to the AKC website and find canine good Citizen. Then go to the AKC website and fine advance canine good Citizen. If you live in the city, you may want to take the urban canine good Citizen. Someone from the AKC will test the handler and the dog. The handler needs as much training as the dog to pass the test.

The most important thing is to talk to as many people as you can.

Public Access of a Service Dog... Staff may ask two questions

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

Service Dogs
There are many opinions about service dogs. This opinion is the simplest and straightforward. The VA does not provide any service dogs. They can potentially reimburse veterinary costs through the prosthetics department. The only thing a veteran need to get a service dog is a disability. They must get their dog from an accredited organization (listed on the Assisted Dog International website) if they want reimbursement only. Otherwise, they can get a shelter dog, or a puppy and even train the dog themselves.

Here is some detailed information about service dogs.



2. How do I determine if I am eligible for a service dog through VA?

To receive any type of medical service through VA, you must register at the Health Administration/enrollment section of a VA Medical Center or online at: http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp. Once registered, a referral to a specialist may be requested through the assigned VA primary care provider. The Veteran's VA medical team will perform a complete clinical evaluation to determine how best to assist the Veteran. Each guide and service dog request is reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Currently, VA does not provide service dogs for physical or mental health conditions, including PTSD. VA does provide veterinary care for service dogs that are deemed medically necessary for the rehabilitation or restorative care plan of Veterans with permanent physical impairments. If research supports the use of service dogs for PTSD, VA will provide veterinary care for such dogs. Read more information on VA and service dogs.


How do I get a service dog?

Each Veteran's case is reviewed and evaluated by a prescribing clinician for the following:

Ability and means, including family or caregiver, to care for the dog currently and in the future

Goals that are to accomplished through the use of the dog

Goals that are to be accomplished through other assistive technology or therapy

The Veteran will be informed of an approval or disapproval of their service dog request. Veterans approved for service dogs are referred to Assistance Dogs International-accredited agencies. There is no charge for the dog or the associated training.

What benefits does VA provide?

Veterans with working service dogs are provided veterinary care and equipment through VA Prosthetics and Sensory Aids. VA does not pay for boarding, grooming, food, or any other routine expense associated with owning a dog.

Assistance Dog International North America

The Assistance Dogs International Public Access Test example
Public Access Evaluation


Can Veterans with post traumatic stress disorder benefit from service dogs or emotional support dogs?


International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) is not Assistance Dog International North America. This is only an example of some of the tasks for a service dogs.


Develop a Plan to train a service dog... Example only
1.  Go to http://www.iaadp.org/doj-def-comments-Title-II-III-SA.html and do a find on mental health practitioners.
These tasks are based upon input from mental health practitioners, dog trainers, and individuals with a history of working with psychiatric service dogs.
Go to http://www.iaadp.org/psd_tasks.html and do a find on tactile distraction and then Deep Pressure for Calming Effect

2.  AKC Community Canine is the advanced level of AKC's Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program.

3.  The Assistance Dogs International Public Access Test example   
Public Access Evaluation

4. Sign off from mental health practitioners, dog trainers, and individuals with a history of working with psychiatric service dogs

Two questions you must be able to answer: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.

 I found the following links. Not sure if they are OK. There are thousand of organization wanting donations. The problem they do not deliver a free service dog. The price is from $20,000 to $45,000 per dog.

Assistance Dog from Warrior Canine Connection

Paws for Purple Hearts

There is much confusion on how to get a PTSD/TBI service dog.
If anyone had a good experience on getting one please to contact us.
Joe DeJong
845 787 3960

Other Activities Lucy is involved in...

Mid-Hudson Valley Disabilities Meetup

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 24/7
1-800-273-8255 press 1 for VA or hold for civilian



05/18/2019 version