Joybound’s Shelter to Service program trains shelter dogs to become psychiatric service dogs and facility animals. 

Through the power of the human-animal bond, these smart, loving animals help people diagnosed with emotional and mental health conditions find a new *leash* on life.

My service dog has changed my life and brought me back to me.

– Ethan, Shelter to Service Graduate

About Shelter to Service

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Psychiatric Service Dogs Transform Lives

Psychiatric service dogs are more than just pets; they’re trained professionals capable of assisting individuals with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, agoraphobia, and beyond. While any animal can provide much-needed companionship, these dogs offer a lifeline to those battling mental health challenges, drastically enhancing their independence and security. Like all service animals, psychiatric service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks that address the symptoms of their handler’s condition. This can include providing comfort during an anxiety attack, reminding them to take medication, or interrupting harmful behaviors. The presence of a service dog can also help stabilize emotions, leading to more predictable routines and a sense of control over one’s life.

Improved Social Interactions

58% of U.S. adults report regularly feeling loneliness (Source)

Having a psychiatric service dog can help reduce feelings of isolation or alienation. These dogs act as social bridges, facilitating more interactions with others and reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues. Handlers often find increased confidence when engaging in social settings, knowing they have the support of their canine partner.

Proactive Safety

20% of patients with medication for mental illness regularly forget to take their pills (Source)

Psychiatric service dogs are trained to recognize signs of distress or escalating symptoms, such as an oncoming panic attack. This proactive assistance helps ensure the safety of the handler and can significantly reduce the risk of emergencies related to mental health conditions.

Increased General Health

60% of dog guardians meet the CDC’s recommended weekly amount of exercise. (Source)

Regular walks and care routines associated with service dogs promote physical activity, which is beneficial for mental health. This increase in physical health activities can lead to improved mood, better sleep patterns, and overall enhanced well-being. Many of our program participants report that even just the structure of caring for their service dog comes with tremendous benefits.

A Bond Built on Respect

It takes 6 months to train a psychiatric service dog.

While our dogs receive 12 weeks of basic training from a volunteer foster trainer before being paired with their future partner, the majority of the service dog training is done by the handler themselves, under the guidance of our team of experts. This relationship fosters emotional resilience and offers a constant, comforting presence that can make challenging days more manageable.

Support Shelter to Service

Your gift will connect service dog candidates with  individuals with mental or emotional health conditions and will help place facility animal candidates in facility settings to assist staff and clients meet their goals. Your generosity makes it possible for us to provide animal placement and professional training at  little to no cost.

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Goliath receiving medical treatment


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