Overview of the Canine Program

The USO understands the strong bond between humans and animals, and the critical roles a dog can play within the military community to help address mental, emotional, and physical needs. The USO Canine Program includes therapy dogs, family pets and military working dog programs. Interacting with therapy dogs can reduce stress and provide a unique morale boost for service members and their families. Including canine family members in programs enables families to participate more fully in USO activities and feel connected to their community. USO’s support of military working dogs honors their contribution, as well as that of their human handlers, who also feel cared for as their canine battle buddy is acknowledged.

How to Volunteer

Visits from therapy dogs at USO centers provide service members with some levity and fun after long days in the field. | Photo credit USO Photo

Therapy and Comfort dogs and their handlers are considered volunteers and should follow the guidelines for application and reporting volunteer hours through USO’s Volunteer Management System. All USO therapy dogs and their handlers must provide documentation confirming that they are certified by a therapy dog certification organization that is recognized by the American Kennel Club, and that they have completed all corresponding requirements for such certification, including screenings and liability insurance coverage.

Please reach out to USO’s Canine Program Manager, Nate Vandenberg, at [email protected] with any questions.