Semper K9 Q&A

General Questions

When was Semper K9 founded?
Semper K9 was founded in November 2014. We adopted our first Service Dog candidate ‘Norman’ in February 2015

Who does Semper K9 Assistance Dogs help?

Semper K9 assists active duty and veterans of the US Armed Forced and their families.

How do I apply for a service dog online?

There is a red ‘Apply For A Service Dog’ button at the top of this page. That takes you to the application request form. You will receive a formal application via mail within 3-5 days if eligible. Click HERE to apply.

How do I get involved with Semper K9?

Semper K9 has plenty of volunteer opportunities. To contact our volunteer coordinators, please click HERE to complete our intake form.

How can I make a monetary donation?

If you would like to donate to one of our programs click HERE. Donations can be made via mail:

Semper K9 Assistance Dogs
PO Box 451
Quantico, VA 22134

How can I make a goods donation?

Click HERE to see our wish list. Items can be mailed to us or scheduled to be dropped off at our facility.

How can I coordinate a fundraiser to benefit Semper K9?

If you have fundraising ideas you can complete our volunteer intake form HERE. You can also email our Community Outreach Coordinator Kelley Kearns at


Is Semper K9 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) certified?

Our CFC application is pending for 2018.

Can I make an anonymous donation?

Yes you can. You can contact us at for more information about making an anonymous donation.


Getting Involved

How do I volunteer as a K9 coach?

Semper K9 is volunteer-based and driven. We are always accepting new K9 coaches. A K9 Coach applicant will need to attend 3-6 months of instruction and training classes. As K9 Coach you will be expected to offer a 12-14 month commitment as either a full-time or part-time coach for a service dog-in-training.

Where is Camp Semper K9 located?

14867 Prestige Dr
Woodbridge VA 22193

We have purchased 33 acres of raw land adjacent to MCB Quantico in Catlett that will be our permanent home as soon construction is complete.

Training of our service dogs-in-training is conducted in 3 main locations:

  • Semper K9 facility
  • K9 Coach’s home
  • Public places around the community

How many Service Dogs candidates enter training each year?

Typically, Semper K9 evaluates over 100 candidates each year. Depending on the availability of candidates we accept 10-15 new dogs into our program each year.

What rescue organization does Semper K9 utilize for finding service dog candidates?

Semper K9’s rescue partner is Operation Paws for Homes. We are always open to accepting dogs from other rescue groups or shelters.

How long does it take to train a Semper K9 Service Dog?

It takes as long as it takes. We aim to completion or titration. Our 2017 graduates all completed training in less than 12 months.

Where do the Service Dog candidates come from?
Semper K9 does not have a breeding program. Our mission is to use rescue dogs. Our rescue partner is Operation Paws for Homes, but we will look at other rescues and shelters when trying to find a perfect match for one of our veterans. Occasionally we are provided purebred dogs that are donated to us by members of the community who want to give back to our veterans.

What are common breeds of dogs trained by Semper K9?

We treat every candidate we evaluate indifferently. The majority of dogs that are in our program are Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds or cross-breeds of those.

How much does a Service Dog cost to train?

Depending on the length of time the service dog is in training, the cost could exceed $20,000. Since we are a non-profit and provide our dogs for free to veterans and their families, we rely on grants, fundraisers, and private donations to cover these costs.

Who trains Semper K9 Service Dogs?

All our Service Dogs are trained and supervised by our Directors of K9 Programs, Christopher Baity. Also our founder and Executive Director, Baity is a formally trained Marine Corps working dog handler, trainer, and instructor. The bulk of the training of our service dogs is conducted by our K9 Coaches and their families.


Applying for a Service Dog

I have a dog, can it be trained as a Service Dog?

While we will evaluate and determine the eligibility for your family pet, all service dog candidates require an intense and strenuous training routine and regiment. Semper K9 offers maintenance training on family/companion pets to determine their candidacy as your Service Dog.

What specifically are some of the things service dogs do?
Semper K9 trains and provides Psychiatric (alert) Service Dogs and Mobility Service Dogs.

If I am active duty, can I still apply for a service dog,

If you meet the eligibility requirements then you can apply regardless if you are active duty, retired, medically retired, etc.

As a Veteran, what happens if I’m accepted into the program?
After reviewing your application, you will be contacted by a Semper K9 representative to schedule a phone or in-person consultation. After working on a training plan you will begin getting your veteran instruction hours and work towards getting your handling hours with one of our dogs in training.

How do I tell my employer about my service dog application?

It is always important to be practice proactive communication with your employer. They are expected to allow ‘Reasonable Accommodations’ to all of their employees. During your instructional period after acceptance into the program, you will be advised on submitting an official notification to your employer about your future needs.

I do not have PTSD, am I eligible for a Service Dog?

Yes. Semper K9 provides Psychiatric Service Dogs(PSDs) that assist with a varying array of mental disabilities and limitations. Many of our applicants are diagnosed with various mental health disorders that do not include PTSD. Not having PTSD does not disqualify you from our services.

Once I send in my application, when will I know if I have been accepted to receive a service dog?
Within 30 days of sending a completed application, you will be notified via email or phone.

I am applying for a Service Dog but I have dogs in my home. Am I still eligible?

There are national standards that limit the number of dogs allowed in the home of a veteran who is receiving a service dog from a VSO (Veteran Service Organization). All family dynamics are different with respect to current pets. This will need to be something you address with one of our trainers.

Do I need a doctor’s letter/prescription for a Service Dog?

One of the requirements for our program is a letter from your medical team. We need to ensure that having a service dog is part of your treatment plan. Most other organizations require this as well and it could be requested when traveling by plane.

What are the training standards for certifying Semper K9 Service Dogs?

All Semper K9 Service Dogs are required to meet all ADA requirements. This includes but is not limited to AKC Canine Good Citizen, Public Access certification and Task Training. As a founding member organization of the Association of Service DOg Providers for Military Veterans, we also adhere to their national standards.

How do I talk my spouse into applying for a service dog?

We encourage anyone eligible for a service dog to apply. However, receiving and working with a service dog ultimately is a personal decision for the individual. Please speak with your medical team about the goals of your treatment plan.

How old are the dogs being trained by Semper K9?

Semper K9 generally accepts/rescues candidates between 8 weeks and 2 years old. Most of our dogs are graduating after 1 ½ years of training.

What is a Mental Health Mobility Service Dog?

A mental health mobility service dog is a term we use to reference Psychiatric/Mobility Service Dogs. This is a category that many veterans and their service dogs could be grouped into. Usually, these dogs provide a combination of psychiatric alert and mobility tasks.

Do you train Emotional Support Dogs(ESD)?

Currently, Semper K9 does not train ESDs.

What are Canine Good Citizen standards?

  • Accepting a friendly stranger
  • Sitting politely for petting
  • Appearance and grooming
  • Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
  • Walking through a crowd
  • Sit and down on command and Staying in place
  • Coming when called
  • Reaction to another dog
  • Reaction to distraction
  • Supervised separation


If you have any additional questions please feel free to call us or email questions to