Wolfkeeper University is proud to be Chicago's expert service dog provider. With the Road Home program at Rush Hospital Wolfkeeper University has been able to provide several veterans with a service dogs. Wolfkeeper University has strong ties to veterans. Our CEO, Toriano Sanzone, comes from a family of veterans, having had several members fight in the armed forces. Additionally, his girlfriend was also a veteran. However, after returning from service she came to take her own life. Losing someone close to you causes a huge shift in your life. In the case of Toriano, he has made it his personal mission to put a stop to veteran suicides through his greatest skill: loving dogs. By providing any veteran in need with a service dog we hope to fight the emotionally traumatic factors that can lead towards veteran suicide.
What We Offer
This program offers, at no cost to veterans, a professionally trained service dog, unlimited classes to ensure that you are reaching your maximum potential with your dog, and many other services through the Road Home program. Once you get in contact with Wolfkeeper University we will do some preliminary screening to ensure that you have a space where you can support a dog and possess a veteran status. After you have been sent towards Rush Hospital for intake into the program and return to us we can begin things like selecting breed and talking about the extent of our training.
What Service Dogs Can Do
It seems pertinent to ask what service dogs can contribute to our veterans on an emotional level. Dog owners across the country can attest to the healing power of dogs. Numerous studies have shown that dogs can reduce stress, decrease anxiety and depressive symptoms, increase self-esteem, and increase overall social interaction. The unconditional love of a dog is incredibly powerful.
The Need for Service Dogs
The most important issue that we believe veterans are facing, due to its severity, is suicide. In 2016 the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that 20 veteran suicides occurred each day. Of those 20, 14 (70%) were not receiving any care through Veterans Affairs. To increase the outreach to veterans and to their families, we hope to emphasize that veterans may be experiencing unimaginable psychological trauma that treatment can't just take away. We also hope to extend our services to any veteran who may be suffering to find a new way to fight back with a new treatment: the unconditional love and support of a service dog.
The Difference Between Service and Therapy Dogs
Although Both Service Dogs and Therapy dogs offer similar help to people, we do want to clarify that we are providing service dogs through this program, not therapy dogs, and what that means. Information on our therapy dog training and certification can be found here. A service dog is a dog specifically trained to help someone with a disability. They are trained for a person's specific needs and can range from mobility limitations to what to do in the event of a crisis such as a seizure or panic attack. Therapy dogs, however, work with numerous people in many different kinds of situations and is typically meant to comfort those in hospitals, schools, or similar locations through interaction with people in different situations.
At Wolfkeeper University we hope to reach a day in which no veterans come to the decision to take their lives. Through the care and support of the Wolfkeeper Community and all those who have served in the armed forces we hope we can fught and defeat the trauma that war leaves behind. Our first step is finding veterans in need of our services in the Chicago Area, although it is our hope to expand our ability to help those in need well beyond the confines of one city.
If you or a veteran you know could be in need of a service dog don't hesitate to contact us at (312) 933-1528 to schedule an evaluative appointment