Our Service Dog Program
About the Program
We train former shelter “pit bull” dogs as service dogs to assist people with disabilities. We carefully evaluate the dogs we select for the program. Those dogs begin learning various tasks they can perform to mitigate a person’s disability.
These tasks include, but are not limited to:
- bracing and balance
- opening and closing doors
- retrieving up items
- pulling wheelchairs
- deep pressure therapy
- interrupting panic attacks
- hearing alert
The tasks are tailored to the dog’s specific capabilities. Not all dogs can perform the same tasks.
Respecting that all dogs are individuals, some of the dogs who initially pass our evaluations flunk out of the program and go on to be emotional support dogs.
Due to the current number of dogs in the program and our existing waiting list, we are not currently accepting online applications for the program. Follow us on social media for updates on when we will reopen applications.
Please see Assistance Dogs International’s list of other service dog programs across the United States for programs that may be able to assist you.
Meet the Service Dogs in Training
Pepe is a silly boy with a serious job. He’s still in training but has already been matched with a person.
Some of his tasks involve waking his handler from night terrors and waking her when her alarm goes off. He has to be persistent when waking her up because her meds lower her blood pressure and it is hard for her to wake up. He interrupts panic episodes by pushing at her hands or getting in her face. He also makes sure she feels safe by letting her know if someone is behind them.
Mika is the most popular girl in the room, but she only has eyes for her handler. She’s still in training but is already matched with someone who needs psychiatric help.
Her tasks involve deep pressure therapy and interrupting her person’s panic attacks by nudging her hands. She also makes sure her handler has plenty of space to feel safe by doing blocking tasks.
Brooklyn is a relatively new student, as he’s only been in the program for three weeks. He’s a ball of energy but is keenly aware of his surroundings. He loves to learn and is always excited when it’s time for obedience lessons!
Eventually, Brooklyn will learn how to alert his handler to the telephone, door knocks, people calling his handler’s name, smoke alarms, ambulance on the road while he is walking or driving, microwave/oven timer going off and more!
Ziggy is almost ready to graduate service dog college with a masters in helpfulness! He only needs to pass his public access test and he’ll be placed with Amy (pictured).
Ziggy will help Amy with things like opening and closing doors, picking up objects, and pulling her wheelchair, among other tasks.
a service dog in training
Mikey came to us as a loving goofball. What we learned from his time in our PAWS of Program is that he is also dedicated, willing to learn, and has the potential to help a person with disabilities live a fuller life!
We aren’t sure yet what type of work he will be doing, but we’ll keep everyone updated on his journey as he moves further along in his training.
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