We are here to help our neighbours, friends and family resurface from the depths of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

We are here to help our neighbours, friends and family resurface from the depths of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

We are here to help our neighbours, friends and family resurface from the depths of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


Our Program

Our program begins by carefully matching veterans to their service dog. Broken into three distinct phases, veterans are led through twice-weekly training sessions over the course of one year. Guided by professional trainers, and a mental health clinical practitioner, the program is based on Integrated Victory Management, focused on rewards and accomplishments

The goal of the program is the training and successful graduation of a fully certified Stress Injury Service and Support Dog (SI-SSD) that remains in the veteran’s care.

 VICD recognizes the impact loved ones can have on a veteran’s recovery. We invite family and friends to attend our monthly support sessions to learn about the program and its methods. 

The bond created through each team is life altering. Our dogs learn to be emotionally tuned to their person and their unique triggers. They’re able to wake veterans from nightmares, ground them from a hyper-aroused state, and support them unconditionally through the stresses and trauma of everyday life.  Get Involved, Donate Now.

VICD Graduate
Greg Alkerton, on how
Ace came into his life.

By 52 Media, for the documentary War Stories V.
Read more Team Stories

How to Apply

1. Apply:

Fill out and submit the attached application form. Application form
You will need a letter from a psychologist and/or psychiatrist confirming your diagnosis of PTSD and recommending you for the program. Fill out the application online or submit, by email, fax or mailed to the VICD’s administrative office. Contact us

2. Meet with us:

Once the application and letter have been received an Interview time is arranged with VICD Team, (consisting of the Executive Director, Director of Administration, Director of Mental Health and Lead Trainer). At the time of the interview please bring your Veteran/Service Identification (i.e. Blue Cross, VAC Card).

3. Home Visit:

To complete the application process two VICD representatives will come to your home and meet with all the members of your household to review the program and assess your home for suitability for a VICD dog.


For Professionals Making a Referral:

If you are referring a client we need a letter on your letterhead with the following three items:
1. That the client has a PTSD Diagnoses.
2. That the client is ready for the program.
3. How often the client sees you.

Please review the attached .pdf information sheet here for more detailed information

For Frequently Asked Questions

Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs (V.I.C.D.) Training Program

How long is the Program?

This program is approximately 52 weeks in total. 

How do I get my dog?

Once you are accepted into the program you will be matched with a dog by our training team.

How much does the program cost me?

All dog related expenses will be paid for by VICD including food, treats, veterinary treatments, training equipment, and gas cards to cover travel to the twice weekly classes

How many time a week do I need to come?

You will be required to attend VICD training sessions in Qualicum Beach twice per week.

Obedience lessons: how many and how long are they?

There are 3 levels of obedience classes – each level is approximately 8 weeks long.

What happens on training days?

VICD training sessions are held twice a week and generally only VICD participants attend – guests do attend occasionally (Currently these sessions are being held on Wednesdays either starting at 10:00 am or 11:30 am. Please note this may also change as our program grows)
Schedule is as follows:
10-11 first class
11-11:15 homework given out
11:15-11:30 Meeting for everyone
11:30-12:30 second class

What do we do in the training sessions?

These VICD training session reviews the lesson from your most recent obedience class and provides the opportunity for you to master the lesson with the support of the training team or address any training issues that may have arisen during the week. Suggestions on how to improve your handling skills is provided to you each week by the trainers

How do I know which class I am in?

Every Monday the training schedule will be sent out to everyone via email. One that schedule will be our name and what time you need to attend.

Is there something for my loved ones?

Once a month on these same days, a Support session is available for your spouse or loved ones to attend. And informational seminars are also provided once per month on topics such as: Leadership Skills and Alternatives to corrections, Pet Care and Dog First Aid, Balance State of Mind, Communication with Public of Rights of Service Dogs, and Service Dog Skills

What to I do during rest of the week?

You are expected to practice your lessons several times per day with your dog as well as continue to walk your dog twice a day for 35 to 45 minutes.

Examples of training skills per level

There are the three levels of Dog obedience. Each level is 8 sessions. What is taught in each level is listed below.

Level 1 Core Skills – Basic Obedience, Sit, Down, Stay, Stand, Heel, Recall and Present.

Level 2 Essentials – Handler Confidence training with Obstacles, Automatic Sit Stay, Take it – Leave it, Accepting a Friendly Stranger, Politely Accepts Petting, Door Exercises, Come When Called.

Level 3 Cultivating the Essentials – Loose Dog Exercise, Walking Through a Crowd, Reaction to Passing a Dog, Off leash Recall, Stand for examination, Accepting a friendly Stranger, Walking through a Doorway with a Dog Present, Come When Called Off Leash, Meet and Greet (dog to dog interactions), Reaction to Distractions.

What happen when I finish my obedience lessons?

Once you have completed all 3 levels of obedience classes you will take our compassion dog Test – this is done by a proctored examiner hired by VICD , some of the tasks that are tested include: Accepting A Friendly Stranger, Politely Accepts Petting, Appearance and Grooming, Out For A Walk, Walking Through A Crowd, Sit/Down On Command and Stay In Place, Come When Called, Praise/Interaction, Reaction To A Passing Dog, Reaction To Distractions, Supervised Isolation, and Walking Through A Door/Gate..

How do I prepare for Public Access?

If you choose to proceed to Public access certification you will no longer be attending weekly obedience classes in Nanoose Bay, but will continue to attend the VICD weekly training and will begin attending additional training sessions with our trainers to prepare you for the Public Access test. You will be expected to practise in public on a daily basis in preparation for this test.

When do I take the new BC Government Guide Dog and Service Dog Assessment?

Currently the Government of BC has enacted new legislation regarding certification of Service Dogs and a Public Access test is performed by a government assigned evaluator to test you and your dog’s ability to safely be allowed in public – some of the test tasks include: loading and unloading from a vehicle, approaching a building, recall, noise distraction, restaurant etiquette, escalator and elevator use as well as use of public transit.

How do I prepare?

You will be well prepared by our training team prior to any testing being arranged.

What is special about our program?

Our 52 Week Client and dog training program creates a strong bond and relationship that allows the dog to learn how to help you when re- experiencing, having nightmares, having a fight or flight response or dissociating, the dog will reorient and guide you to a safe place by helping to physically ground you or will bring your attention to your dog by a variety of methods: pulling, licking, pawing, barking, etc.

If there are any questions you may still have, please contact us.

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