According to a US Veterans Affairs study, 15.7% of those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq screened positive for PTSD. Though every single day is a battle for these veterans, optimism comes in the form of service dogs who ease the burden of these mental issues. Patriot Assistance Dogs is a nonprofit organization located in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota that train service dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI, and more.

Mission Statement

“Our mission is to serve those who served by providing highly trained psychiatric service dogs to veterans with disabilities at no charge to the veteran, in hopes that they may live a fuller life. Reintegration into society is one of the big struggles our deployed veterans face. With these service dogs, we hope to mitigate signs/symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression/anxiety, panic attacks, military sexual trauma, hypervigilance, and other psychiatric disabilities. We also hope to encourage greater community involvement, a healthy, active lifestyle, and increased well being.”

About Patriot Assistance Dogs

PAD was founded in 2011 by Linda Wiedewitsch and it is a non-profit, charitable organization that aims to provide help to military veterans with psychological impairments. Veterans have lived through horrific experiences and traumatic events that often lead to PTSD and other forms of mental disorders. A PAD-trained dog is capable of:

  • Reminding the veteran to take medication
  • Interrupting harmful behavior
  • Leading away from stressful situations
  • Getting help when necessary
  • Waking from night terrors
  • Interrupting panic attacks
  • “Clearing” a room or apartment
  • Maintaining a veteran’s personal space

As such, Patriot Assistance Dogs are specifically trained to mitigate symptoms associated with mental impairments and/or disabilities for veterans of the United States Military. These service dogs are provided to these veterans absolutely free of charge.

How Does Patriot Assistance Dogs Operate?

PAD currently has 166 certified Service Dog Teams spanning 12 states. The organization relies solely on the generosity of donors, volunteers and fosters who share their passion for rescuing dogs and helping veterans.

How Patriot Assistance Dogs Benefits Animals and Serves the Community

Seventy to eighty percent of dogs that come through their program are rescued from local shelters. The other twenty to thirty percent are donated. Each dog goes through twelve to eighteen months of training before being sent into the community. Not only is the organization saving dogs, but they’re helping veterans as well!

PAD’s service area is in Minnesota and the border states of Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. If you’re a veteran seeking for a service dog, you can download the application form which has the additional information you need. This application can be filled out and mailed to:

Patriot Assistance Dogs
1478 Mallard Street
Detroit Lakes MN 56501

How Did Derek Briggs, International Falls Mn Event Coordinator, Got Involved With Patriot Assistance Dogs?

Derek Briggs who submitted the organization to our Rescue Spotlight Program says, “I am a recipient of a Patriot Assistance Dog and she has saved and changed my life. I want to give back the gift that was given to me to another Veteran in need! Kelsey, my Service Dog, I got from our local Humane Society and is a rescue!!”

How Can You Help?

Each dog has an initial veterinary cost of approximately $750 to $1000, plus the total cost of training, lodging, vet care, etc of each dog is approximately $10,000. Any monetary donation is much appreciated. All gifts are tax-deductible as Patriot Assistance Dogs are a 501(c) 3. Here are ways you can help Patriot Assistance Dogs:

  • You can make a donation via Paypal on the homepage of Patriot Assistance Dogs’ website.
  • The organization also participates in the Smile Program through Amazon.
  • You can also donate Frontline Gold 45-88lb Flea and Tick Treatment.
  • PAD hopes to find a volunteer who speaks fluent “grant writer” to acquire long-term funding for their program.
  • The organization is now registered with MinnKota recycling. You can name Patriot Assistance Dogs as the beneficiary your proceeds when you drop off your recyclable goods.
  • PAD is also looking for volunteers, fosters, and trainers who can house the dogs and work on basic or more advanced training.

Susan Pizarro who does administrative work at PAD also wrote that “on a grand scale, we hope to find land and facilities to host not only our dogs, but the veterans who come through the program. We offer our dogs free of charge to veterans, but they do have to pay for one week’s food and lodging (plus travel) to attend our 40 hour, one week class that teaches them how to use the dog they will be issued.”

Upcoming Events

Please visit Patriot Assistance Dogs’ Facebook page and follow them to stay up to date with news and happenings.


If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact Patriot Assistance Dogs.

Phone: (218) 850-2425




Skye is a 10month old purebred lab. She is one of the 3 puppies donated to PAD from Montana. Skye is a sweet little girl who loves to learn and receives affection with paws wide open.

Do you run a charity or volunteer at a rescue that you’d like us to feature? We’d love to hear about your work! Just click on the link below to send us a quick message and we’ll be in touch.