MELIORA SERVICE DOGS, Inc. is a bilingual, program for injured “Veterans, First Responders, or direct family members of a Veteran or First Responder” (This group is further referred to as the "Qualifying Group"). The program is operated by volunteers coming from the program itself. It is a Canadian Registered Charity dedicated to the principle and practice of making highly skilled and effective certified service dogs a reality for persons traumatized in the line of duty and whose quality of life depends on it. MELIORA Service Dogs meet the highly regarded Standards for Service Dogs developed by this and other organizations, while using principles derived from Canadian research projects.

The MELIORA team is made up of a volunteer Board of Directors, and numerous committees: Executive, Legal, Research, Operations, Outreach and Social Media. MELIORA’s vision is to be Canada’s preeminent service dog provider, preserving and improving the Qualifying Groups quality of life, through restorative change with the support of psychiatric service dogs.

MELIORA applies a unique evidence-based and holistic model to the User/Handler - service dog partnership or "Service Dog Team". Key features of the program include its commitment to peer support and personalized curriculum that responds to learning styles. This approach mirrors peer “Service and Support” conditions when veterans and first responders are on deployment; it creates an individualized experience that draws on familiar routines and peer members to decrease unnecessary stressors. Second, a combination of both in-person and virtual learning materials are used. In-person training of the Service Dog Team (SDTm) is based on positive reinforcement with the canine learning to process information and remain focused on its User/Handler (Team Leader) while managing stimulus and distractions. The overall intention is to create a co-ordinated Team, building the canine and Team Leaders skills in parallel. A third feature of the MELIORA program is active and mandatory participation on the part of the Team Leader in their regular medical and mental health treatment plans, and involving the Service Dog in these plans. And fourth, MELIORA program Service Dog Teams must be involved in ongoing SDTm training.

The wellbeing of both the Team Leader and canine are central to the MELIORA program. A “Fit for Duty” annual veterinarian visit and report is required for each participating SDTm. Procedures are in place to ensure the dog is consistently treated well by the Team Leader and that the dog stays mentally and physically sound. The "Qualifying Group" member must likewise provide a physician's prescription/referral attesting to the need for a Service Dog prior to being accepted into the program and yearly to confirm the need for a Service Dog continues. The wellbeing of human and animal program beneficiaries are continually monitored by the program’s peer support component.

The MELIORA program applies a client-centred approach that adheres to trauma and gender-informed care principles. It has positioned itself to lead by example with both comprehensive programming and standards and an experienced, interdisciplinary and community-based team. Research is integrated into the program to address the lack of evidence on the impact of a highly trained SDTms. MELIORA Service Dogs leverages expertise at all levels of its ongoing program development and offerings. The program evolves training delivery as new evidence-based data emerges from the research undertaken by its own team and others. The MELIORA program is also culturally sensitive, with awareness that the Qualifying Group originates from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

MELIORA is a no-cost program for the Qualifying Group. It is a Registered Charity [Reg#: 724345137RR0001] and [AB Reg#: 5322984120]), and operates through in- kind services and partner and community donations. The program includes training of the SDTm in 4 stages, certification and re-certifications, as well as peer support. This occurs all at no cost to the Qualifying Group. The program offers support in the identification and acquisition of a dog and initial vetting regulations for potential service work.



The MELIORA Program Standards are outlined in a comprehensive manual that is aligned with the program’s vision and logic model. All descriptions and definitions of substantive and non-substantive procedures embedded throughout the MELIORA organization in its practices are detailed in the manual. The Standards include expectations for each level of the Qualifying Groups development in the SDTm program, and align with User/Handler agreements. The Standards also serve as a framework to guide administrators on their roles and responsibilities in delivery of the MELIORA program. Development of the Standards into a manual took into consideration the mental health learning challenges that accompany mental health injuries. A manual with sub-manuals design was chosen to align with Military and RCMP Standards formats. The familiarity provided by a similar approach can assist the Qualifying Group with comprehending the material, reducing anxiety, and providing consistency throughout all levels of the program: administrative, operational procedures and learning/development. The comprehensive standards manual was developed to assist the Qualifying Group with meeting the expectations of MELIORA’ SERVICE DOGS comprehensive SDTm program. The manual is a living document; it is continually evolving in-line with new training and mental health material and learning approaches identified by the latest evidence.

The Dandelion - The Official Flower of the Military Child

Image of the Meliora-dandelion


“The official flower of the military child is the dandelion. Why? The plant puts down roots almost anywhere, and it’s almost impossible to destroy. It’s an unpretentious plant, yet good looking. It’s a survivor in a broad range of climates. Military children bloom everywhere the winds carry them. They are hardy and upright. Their roots are strong, cultivated deeply in the culture of the military, planted swiftly and surely. They’re ready to fly in the breezes that take them to new adventures, new lands, and new friends.


Experts say that military children are well-rounded, culturally aware, tolerant, and extremely resilient. Military children have learned from an early age that home is where their hearts are, that a good friend can be found in every corner of the world, and that education doesn’t only come from school. They live history. They learn that to survive means to adapt, that the door that closes one chapter of their life opens up to a new and exciting adventure full of new friends and new experiences.”

                                                                                - Unknown Author