Service dogs Ruby, Toby, Frankie, Subie and Cozy during a training session. Photo: Bronwyn Edwards.

'PAWSitive' toolkit available for service dog groups working with veterans

In commemoration of Remembrance Day, registration is now open for a free online course, led by University of Saskatchewan (USask) health researchers, for service dog organizations working with veterans.

Dr. Colleen Dell (PhD), USask Research Chair in One Health and Wellness and co-founder of the PAWSitive Support project, and a team of experts have put together a two-hour course. It's part of a toolkit that informs service dog trainers about recovery from substance use harms and the important role of peer support.

The course also reviews the connection to animals, humans and the land in the wellness of veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

This self-paced course includes an online certificate and is funded by Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program.

The project team includes more than 30 individuals from universities across Canada, the veteran community, service dog organizations, and guidance from Indigenous Elders and from working alongside service dogs.

Service dog organization staff and volunteers can register at www.servicedogtoolkit.ca. The course and complete toolkit will be available in January 2022.

This project has been made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

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