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Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the Forgotten Coast K9 FAQ page, where we aim to address common queries about our organization dedicated to supporting veterans and first responders through the provision of service dogs. At Forgotten Coast K9, we understand the unique challenges faced by these brave individuals and believe in the transformative power of canine companionship. Our frequently asked questions cover a range of topics, from the training process our service dogs undergo to eligibility criteria for applicants. Learn more about the impact of service dogs on mental health, the application process for veterans and first responders seeking a furry partner, and the ongoing support we provide to ensure successful partnerships. Explore the world of Forgotten Coast K9 and discover how our organization is making a meaningful difference in the lives of those who have served and sacrificed for our communities.

  • What is Forgotten Coast K9, and what is its mission?
    We are a non-profit organization that helps provide service dogs to Veterans and First Responders through a program called Build a Battle Buddy through Top Tier K9, one of the top dog training schools in the world. Our mission is to stop suicides among our veteran and first responder community, by getting them the service dogs they need.
  • How do service dogs from Forgotten Coast K9 benefit veterans and first responders?
    Our service dogs are chosen meticulously to guarantee success for both the handler and the service dog. We do not just give a veteran or first responder a service dog, we make sure they create a lasting bond from the very beginning that matches the veteran or first responder and their personality.
  • How are service dogs trained by Forgotten Coast K9?
    We don't necessarily train the service dogs. Top Tier K9 created a program called Build A Battle Buddy, which trains our recipients on how to train their service dog. The recipient receives their dog at 6-8 weeks old, and the training for both our hero and k9 begins. Then after 28 weeks of all online classes, the recipient comes to Madison, FL for 2 weeks to finish their training with us.
  • Why do you use pointy-eared dogs?
    Over the years of working with K9s, we have found that pointy-eared dogs demonstrate the highest success rates as service dogs. We understand that people may have preferences for other breeds, such as chihuahuas, and we respect those choices, even though they may not fit into our programs. However, when it comes to proven facts and success stories that guide our work, we choose our breeds carefully and thoughtfully. Pointy-eared dogs consistently meet our already high standards, which is why we prioritize them in our selection process.
  • Who is eligible to apply for a service dog from Forgotten Coast K9?
    A veteran and/or first responder who has been diagnosed with PTSD, along with any other illness that needs a service dog can apply, such as seizures.
  • What criteria do you consider when matching a service dog with a veteran or first responder?
    We look at the application submitted to us, go through the questions, and see how they are answered. We then call our applicant to go through our interview process and pick up on their demeanor, mannerisms, personality, etc. After these steps, a meeting is set up within the acceptance committee to carefully go through each applicant, to see if we will accept them or put them into a more fitting program.
  • Is there a cost associated with obtaining a service dog, and how is funding managed?
    There is a cost, the veteran and/or first responder has to have skin in the game, so we ask for $5,000. That money can come in through fundraising, their funding, or reaching out to the other organizations they associate with if that is an option. We also help with fundraising. We don't just hand out training, and a service dog and say good luck after a short few weeks of class. We want to make sure our recipient wants to take this step because it is a big step to get a service dog, and the requirements are not those of your typical service dog organization.
  • Are there any specific rules or guidelines for interacting with a service dog in public?
    The first rule of Forgotten Coast K9. You Don't.
  • How do I know my donations go right back to the veteran or first responder?
    Our books are always open, and we can assure you that more than 80% of the funds that come into the organization go right back to our veterans and/or first responders. We truly care about this community, and we show that by giving back to those in need.
  • How long does the training process for a service dog typically take?
    It takes 30 weeks for our handler and dog to be fully trained as a service dog. The training is very consistent, repetition is key, along with positive reinforcement, and so much more.
  • My health won't allow me to complete the Build a Battle Buddy program, is there another program available?
    For cases such as this, we do work with veterans and first responders, if they need a dog that is already trained, that is perfectly fine. We have a program called Buy a Battle Buddy, you do have to go through an 8-week pet trainer course, so you know the basics of taking care of a service dog, and what is required of you to maintain a service dog. Remember they are not pets, and the one person that will keep your service dog from becoming a pet is you.
  • What breeds are commonly used for service dogs by Forgotten Coast K9, and why?
    We typically use Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepards, German Shepards, and British Labs, we are looking at other breeds right now, but these are the main breeds we use right now. We chose these breeds due to their ability to mature fast and finish the Foundation Dog training provided by Top Tier K9. We have heard concerns about these breeds being horrible as service dogs, but through the success stories we have, along with a multitude of testimonials from professionals, k9 handlers, veterans, first responders, and many more. These dogs have become highly successful through the Foundation Dog program, which is trademarked through Top Tier K9.
  • Can individuals outside the military or first responder community volunteer or contribute to Forgotten Coast K9's mission?
    We hold events all over the east coast, and up in St. Louis from time to time. We have active social media pages with numerous updates on where we will be, and if you would like to volunteer, reach out to us through our contact page. If you aren't able to volunteer, you can also donate to us, we have one-time donations, or we have something called monthly giving, which helps us out tremendously. Donating the price of 4-5 cups of your favorite coffee a month adds up, and again, goes right back to our veteran and first responder community.
  • How does Forgotten Coast K9 ensure the well-being of their service dogs throughout their lives?
    Our vetting process with repeatable breeders has proven to be highly successful due to our ability to see the lineage of K9, and we make sure there are no genetic diseases within that line.
  • Can recipients of service dogs share their success stories with Forgotten Coast K9?
    We encourage it. There are many veterans and/or first responders that do not seek help, or think they don't deserve it. We want them to know the biggest step is seeking help. They are not alone, and reaching out to us is a crucial part of getting the help they deserve. Our stories help those that want to change their lives but don't know how.
  • What sets Forgotten Coast K9 apart from other organizations providing service dogs to veterans and first responders?
    Other organizations give dogs away, we do not operate that way. Giving someone a service dog is great, but we have found that it is not the ultimate answer to a suicide rate that continues to go up. We have programs set in place that make the veteran work and we help provide the necessary steps to make a change in their life. PTSD is not curable, but service dogs help cope with it.
  • How can businesses or organizations collaborate with Forgotten Coast K9 to support their mission?
    We have multiple partnerships with businesses and individuals that share the same mission we have, which is to stop suicides among our veteran and first responder communities. We have seen a pattern of organizations providing lip service rather than supporting the community, we are on the front line to make a true change and are honored to have these partnerships to help our heroes overcome the true cost of war.
  • Are there any specific events or fundraisers organized by Forgotten Coast K9 that the community can participate in?
    We have an events page on the website that we update constantly, if you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X(Twitter), we share our future events all over the lower east coast.
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