VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- In just a few more months, two-year-old Cane will be ready to help a veteran in need at no cost to his new human.
It's part of California Service Dog Academy's Sentinel Dogs training program.
"The support and guidance of having trainers there to guide them and kind of take away the anxiety that comes with having a service dog in public -- it's a badge that says you have a disability, and that can be very frightening," says Brygette Branco. "Seeing that there are other people in that situation, being in the same spot and creating a community around that type of training is very, very helpful to a lot of people."
CSDA opened in 2018 because Valley veterans had limited affordable options for getting service dogs.
Now, the organization has expanded its reach.
"We recently started our civilian program, so we help people from 16 and up," says Renee Cardoza. "Most of the time, it's psychiatric mobility service dogs."
Handlers are welcome to train their own dog for the service role, or one can be provided by CSDA.
By the end of the training, the dog and handler will have the education and skills necessary to prosper in their everyday lives.
"They have like a friend that comes with them, helps get them out, makes them feel like a little stronger," Cardoza said. "Just helps them gain their independence a little bit more."
As they continue to meet the Valley's needs, the non-profit is looking for "recruit raisers," who will foster the CSDA dog as they prepare to be assigned to a handler.
For more information, visit their website.
For news updates, follow Amanda Aguilar on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.