What is a Service Dog?
A service dog is a canine individually trained to perform tasks and assist with activities of daily living (ADL) for the benefit of a disabled individual. A service dog may be trained to open and close doors, turns lights on and off, retrieves dropped items, helps carry packages, pays the cashier, can assist you with dressing and undressing, assist with balance; the list goes on and on. The bonus – they are tremendous companions.
In the United States, service dogs and their handlers do enjoy special protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which gives them equal access to anywhere the general public is allowed, such as restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters, taxis, and aircraft, etc.
What makes us Unique?
Our program is unique in many ways.
- We train using positive motivation techniques.
- We encourage the dog’s natural desire to please.
- We provide strong support before, during and after placement.
- We have methods to ensure a smooth transition from the puppy raiser to advanced training to the final transfer to our clients.
- Our commitment begins prior to you receiving your dog and continues through the life of the dog.
- If applicable, we will consider providing another service dog to you when your dog must retire and is no longer able to provide the assistance you require.
How do I get a Service Dog?
Bringing a service dog into your life is a very serious decision. There are a number of considerations prior to making this commitment such as:
- How will a service dog improve my life?
- Am I able to accept the added responsibility of caring for a dog.
- Am I willing to accept the added responsibility of caring for a dog.
- Am I financially capable of caring for a dog.
- Am I physically able to care for my dog or if I am not able to do so, do I have someone that will assist to ensure good care.
If you feel a service dog will significantly enhance your life and you have answered YES to the above questions, you are ready to begin the process.
Now that you have made the decision to apply for a service dog you must begin the application process. You may obtain an application by clicking HERE.
Be certain to include all of the following materials when submitting your application.
- Completed application
- Medical Necessity form completed by your physician
- Provide a recent close up photograph of yourself
- Autobiography (please use separate sheet)
Once your completed application has been received, a home visit will be scheduled to complete the application process. If accepted, you will be placed on a waiting list until a potential match is found. The “waiting period” for this match will vary depending on the availability of dogs able to fulfill your particular needs. When a potential match is found, a Partner Trainer Educator will begin working with you to prepare you for Partner Training, a two week intensive training period with you and your dog. At the end of Partner Training and prior to taking your new partner home, you will be expected to pass a Public Access Test.
Have your physician complete the Medical Necessity portion of the application. Include a brief autobiography and attach a recent photograph of yourself.