Daisy, an Army Veteran, heard about Joybound’s psychiatric service dog training program from a contact at the local Department of Veterans Affairs. While she didn’t have a lot of experience with dogs, she was curious to learn how a service dog could bring more ease and unconditional love into her life.

When Daisy met her new companion, a 10-pound Shih Tzu mix from a municipal shelter just outside of Sacramento, it was love at first sight. The little pup was soon named Princess Leia after Daisy’s favorite character from Star Wars. “I’m a big Star Wars nerd,” she said. “And Leia is definitely living up to her princess name!”

When a dog enters Joybound’s Shelter to Service program, it goes through rigorous training in preparation for a service skills test they must pass to earn their Joybound service dog vest.

“I’m a big Star Wars nerd. And Leia is definitely living up to her princess name!”

Daisy, Shelter to Service Participant

From there, each dog is paired with a handler, and together the pair train and learn everything they need to know about each other. Daisy told us, “It’s been incredible learning about dog training, proper care, commands, grooming, and all that – in each class, we are also learning all about our fur babies!”

The benefits of Daisy’s furry friend were immediately evident. “I feel so happy to get those snuggles,” Daisy gushed. “Princess Leia always knows when I need them and she’s there for me right away. Also, it’s quite helpful to be forced out of bed to start our morning routine when she gives me the stare-down.”

Now, in addition to training psychiatric service dogs and emotional support animals for Veterans like Daisy, Joybound’s Shelter to Service program (formerly known as Pets & Vets) is expanding to include anyone who may benefit from a psychiatric service dog.

This may include first responders, survivors of violent crimes, or others diagnosed with emotional or mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress (PTSD), a traumatic brain injury, anxiety, or agoraphobia.

More Articles from Joy Magazine

  • Joy Online – Summer 2024

    Joy Online – Summer 2024

    Joy is the quarterly magazine for Joybound People & Pets. With a gift of just $25 to Joybound, you can be added to our mailing list and receive Joy in your mailbox for one year! Inside This Issue From Our …

    Continue Reading

  • Pet Safety Net Helps Robby and Lightning Get on Track

    Pet Safety Net Helps Robby and Lightning Get on Track

    Joybound’s Community Solutions Keeps Pets with Their Loving Families Robby found the friend of a lifetime in a little, scrappy, black cat named Lightning. They met while they were both experiencing homelessness. As Lightning began to trust him and their …

    Continue Reading

  • Tribute Gifts

    Tribute Gifts

    Summer 2024 Tributes This edition of Joy recognizes $500+ tribute gifts made between August 1 and May 31. For more information, please contact [email protected]. In Memory Of: In Honor Of:

    Continue Reading