How to Apply for a Service Dog
What is the process?
You’ll need to fill out our online form, email us or call us to discuss your needs. This is only an informational contact. Every person and situation is different so it’s important for us to understand how we can best assist you.
Depending on your needs, we may guide you towards another organization or decide together that we can be of help.
Fill Out Our Application
After our initial conversation, if you’re interested in getting a service dog from us, we’ll send you an application to fill out, with questions about your condition, your living situation and your lifestyle.
Schedule an Interview
Once we get it back from you, we’ll schedule an interview. Depending on how far away you live, the interview can be carried out at our facility in Indianapolis Indiana, or by Skype/Zoom. The interview takes about an hour and allows us to discuss in person what getting a service dog involves and what to expect. It’s an opportunity for you to ask all the questions that you might have and for us to gather all the information that we need in order to best help you. The cost of the interview is $100.
The Waiting Starts
After the interview, we’ll send you a contract. Once you’re in the system, the average wait time to get your dog is between a year and a half and two years. Some clients have received dogs sooner, some have waited longer, depending on their situation and needs and on the dogs that we find.
We do our best to place dogs on a first come first serve basis, but we mostly look for the best match for you.
During this waiting period, we’ll send you documents to read in preparation for your service dog.
This is also the time for you to fundraise if you need. Most insurance companies do not cover the cost. To get a service dog, most people either have the funds, fundraise to cover the cost or take out a loan. We’ll ask for an initial downpayment and the remaining once you get the dog.
Meeting Your Dog – Team Training
Once your service dog is ready, we’ll call you and schedule a time for you and your family to come to our facility for a week. We have found that the transition is easier when the dog can get to know you while in their familiar environment.
We’ll help you and your dog bond with each other and will teach you how to get him/her to work for you. We’ll also spend lots of time out in public places so you can become familiar with taking the service dog out everywhere. We’ll go to restaurants, malls, supermarkets, etc. At the end of Team Training, you and your dog will be given the Public Access Test and will receive an ID and certificate from us.
Getting a service dog is a process. Just as for an athlete, the training has to be maintained or the behaviors will deteriorate. A good service dog requires time and commitment from the owner. We’ll teach you how to maintain the behaviors but will also follow up with you after you go home.
We’ll need to hear from you weekly at first and any time you have questions or concerns. At no additional cost, if needed, we’ll take the dog back in training or you can come back to work with us. We want to see you and your service dog succeed.