Freedom for Veterans, Dogs with a Mission.
Your generous donation helps fundamentally transform the lives of our veterans, their families, and our communities.
Frequently Asked Questions
*Click on the (+) symbol for each question below for the drop-down answer.
General Frequently Asked Questions
Is Believet™ a non-profit?
Yes, Believet™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a registered public charity. Our Tax ID Number is: 47-2829459
Where is Believet™ located?
We are located 3 miles outside of Northfield, Minnesota, on 12 acres of country property.
What kind of service dogs does Believet™ train and provide?
Believet™ trains psychiatric and mobility dogs for disabled veterans battling post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and related conditions.
How do you train the dogs?
We use positive reinforcement methods, using treats to get the desired response. This method makes the transition from trainer to veteran seamless.
How long does it take to train a service dog?
It takes an average of six months to a year and a half to train a service dog from start to finish. It depends on how quickly the dog catches on to the training, how motivated it is to work, and what kind of tasks and how many tasks the veteran requires it to learn.
How long does it take for a veteran to get their service dog?
The veteran has to complete a minimum of 120 hours of training with Believet trainers and pass a public access test before being placed with their service dog. The process can take from 3 months to 6 months depending on how often the veteran can come for training, and readiness of the dog and veteran’s handling skills.
How much does the program cost?
Veterans receive Believet™ service dogs free of charge. Incidental expenses such as travel to and from the training facility is their responsibility. Believet’s dogs are custom-trained for mobility and psychiatric tasks to help them lead more productive, independent lives. The cost of a veteran completing the Believet™ program is typically $30,000 as a result of the extensive, customized training that is involved for the veteran and dog team. The value this program brings to veterans and their families, enabling them to lead full lives, is priceless.
Do you train service dogs for the deaf or blind?
Believet™ can train service dogs for veterans who are hard of hearing but does not have the ability to train guide dogs for the blind or service dogs for the deaf. Someday we may have a program for it but not at this time.
Where do you get your service dogs?
Believet™ uses dogs that were bred for the purpose of service work as well as dogs from shelters and rescues.
Do purebred dogs work better than rescue dogs?
As of 2021, Believet™ had a 65% graduation rate of service dogs adopted from shelters and rescues and a 97% graduation rate of service dogs donated to the program as puppies. Rescue dogs usually take longer to finish their training, though when we adopt them they can start training right away whereas a puppy will not start training until 8 months – 1 year old.
Can anyone train a dog to be a service dog?
Yes. Currently there is no law or regulation in place to disqualify a service dog that was not trained professionally. Although, a recent bill that was passed will only allow service dogs who were trained by accredited organizations to become a dog of record through the VA.
Is Believet™ an accredited organization?
Believet™ is in the last phase of a 3 year accreditation process through Assistance Dogs International. Once accredited, Believet™ service dogs will become eligible to become dogs of record though the VA.
What is Assistance Dogs International and what does it mean for Believet™ to be accredited?
Assistance Dogs International is a coalition of non-profit organizations that train service dogs. ADI sets the overarching standards for service dog training and ethics. For Believet™ to be accredited by ADI means that veterans can be assured that Believet™ is providing service dogs that are trained at a higher standard and provides excellent standards of care for the dogs in the program.
What is the differences between service dogs, facility dogs, and emotional support dogs?
- Service dogs are specifically trained to perform specialized tasks to aid a person’s disability, and are trained to be under control in public places and a variety of situations.
- Emotional support dogs are not trained to perform tasks to aid a disability and are not trained to be good citizens in a variety of public spaces. Emotional support dogs provide a person comfort merely by their presence. They do not have the access rights like a service dog.
- Facility dogs are trained to be canine good citizens but are not trained for specialized service tasks for a disability. They are allowed in hospitals, schools, nursing homes to provide comfort to residents. Facility dogs do not have the same rights as service dogs. They are not allowed in restaurants, stores, and other public places because they are not needed to perform tasks for a person’s disability.
Frequently Asked Donor Questions
Where do Believet™'s funds come from?
The majority of Believet™’s funds come from public donations. Believet™ does apply for and receives grants from foundations and trusts as well as state and federal grants.
Does Believet™ receive funding from the VA?
At this time, the VA does not give grants to service dog organizations for psychiatric service dogs that aid with PTSD and related symptoms. A bill was passed recently requiring the VA to provide funding for such accredited organizations.
Is my donation tax deductible and will I get verification of my donation for tax purposes?
Yes, you will receive acknowledgement for your donation.
Can I mail my donation?
Yes, you may send donations to:
P.O box 385
Northfield, MN 55057
Frequently Asked Veteran Questions
How do I get a service dog?
Start the application process by selecting our Application Process page. On that page, there is a link for our Eligibility Survey. Once you complete the survey, it will be emailed to a Believet™ representative who will send you the full veteran application. If your application is approved, you will be invited to start training.
What is the application process?
First, a veteran completes the eligibility survey found on our website. If all requirements are met, they will receive the full veteran application. The application consists of general information about their needs, living and work situation, and medical information from both physician and mental health provider. Once the application is completed and given to Believet™, Believet™’s Admissions Committee of professionals will evaluate the application. Either an in-person, or over the phone interview will be conducted. Once accepted into the program, Believet™ will schedule a date for initial training.
How long does it take to get a service dog?
Veterans must complete a minimum of 120 hours of training with Believet™ trainers. It will depend on how often the veteran can come in for training, how long they stay for training, and how well they utilize that time in the training room. It also depends on 1) if we have a dog suitable for the veteran at the time you start training; 2) how much time the dog needs for training to learn the service skills the veteran requires; 3) how skilled of a handler the veteran is.
Can you train my dog to be a service dog?
Generally no, but if the dog is older than 6 months old and younger than 2 year of age, we will evaluate your dog for suitability as a prospective service dog. We are willing to train veteran owned dogs when appropriate.
Will I get to pick my dog?
Our trainers are very good at matching veterans to service dogs and they make every effort to make the best possible handler/dog team based on their expert judgment and experience. In most cases, the personality of the dog matches the personality of the veteran and possesses the qualities that are beneficial to providing the services that the veteran needs from the dog.
Do you have a wait list?
Yes, we do. Our veteran coordinator will provide you with estimated wait times.
Do you need to provide documentation to prove a dog is a service dog?
On the state and federal level, there are NO requirements for individuals with service dogs to have registration or proof that the dog is a service dog. Although most organizations including Believet™ give their recipients Service Dog Identification Cards. Any place that asks for proof of identification for a service dog is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
What if a business refuses service because I don’t have service dog documentation?
What you can do in that situation is ask to speak to the manager or person in charge. Educate that person on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the fact that there is no state or federal law requiring anyone with a service dog to provide proof. The only valid reason a business owner can deny access is if the dog is not under control. Be polite and calm. If they still refuse service, go somewhere else. It’s up to you if you want to get authorities involved.