Service Dogs

The Story

We started our service dog program because we knew that people with disabilities experienced discrimination by not having equal access to public spaces. We knew service dogs helped them gain that access, but we also knew that service dogs are expensive and unattainable for many disabled individuals.

Because we know that dogs are individuals (thanks to the mapping of the canine genome), we knew that we could train and provide service dogs to people for free, all while helping to decrease the number of dogs in shelters.

In addition to looking at a dog’s individual personality and physical soundness, we choose dogs who were labeled “pit bull” by a shelter or rescue. Our program is challenging and debunking negative stereotypes attributed to dogs labeled “pit bull.”

The washout rate for the dogs who enter our program averages the same as expensive purebred, purpose-bred programs

Due to Covid-19, we are not currently accepting applications for new service dog placement.


Our Types of Service Dogs

Hearing Alert Dogs

Our hearing alert dogs alert people to sounds to assist with their daily life and keep them safe in emergencies.

Mobility Service Dogs

Mobility dogs give people with a variety of physical disabilities more independence.

Psychiatric Service Dogs

Psychiatric service dogs prevent or interrupt things like panic attacks or dissociative episodes.

our applications are closed

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have temporarily closed our applications for new service dog handlers.

How We Choose the Dogs

Our trainers visit shelters across the country to choose our service dog candidates. We spend a few days with the dogs getting to know them, including taking them to dog-friendly public spaces. We look for dogs who are good with handling, loud noises, and other animals, etc… We also look for confidence in their personality.

Once the dogs are back at our shelter in NY, we spend more time getting to know them. At this point, they are service dog candidates. Some of these dogs move to the next level and become service dogs in training, others are adopted into homes. 


Tasks Performed by Service Dogs

Not every dog we train performs all of these tasks, nor is this a complete list of the tasks performed by the dogs.
  • Counter-balance
  • Deep pressure therapy
  • Retrieving objects
  • Opening and closing doors and drawers
  • Retrieving medicine
  • Alerting to sounds
  • Interrupting panic and anxiety attacks
  • Interrupting disassociative episodes
  • Guiding wheelchairs