Service dogs are special!
Service dogs are very special animals. They serve their partners and are supremely loyal and affectionate. The bond between you and your service dog will be one of mutual respect. This connection of love and trust is essential to the success of a human partnership with a service dog.
What can you expect from your service dog?
Receiving a service dog is both an honor and a responsibility. While you will come to depend on your dog for help and companionship, your dog will depend on you for food, shelter, medical care, and proper exercise.
Your service dog will enjoy its role as both a companion and helper, but it is absolutely crucial that you can provide what it needs in return. You must be able to see to your dog's basic needs even when it is inconvenient or you are not feeling well. If you cannot do so, you must ensure that someone is able to care for the dog's needs, including taking the dog outside for elimination.
A service dog may help you live more independently in your home and in public. While the abilities of your dog will amaze you, you must remember that the service dog is an animal. In times of stress or illness, including the transition into your household, you may have to deal with unwanted chewing, elimination, vomiting, or barking. Although unpleasant at times, you will need to provide prompt clean up and lots of patience. You also may have to deal with dirt and dog hair and additional housecleaning.
Do you have the time and energy?
If you would not consider having a pet dog, are you sure you want a service dog? Remember, a service dog is highly skilled and trained but has the same needs as a pet dog. Your service dog will need time to adjust to its new family and to recognize you as the "leader" of that family. You will have to adjust to new routines and priorities.
You will be required to complete a three-week training course held at the Helping Paws training center. While the dog will come to you having learned many skills, it is up to you to continue reviewing skills and working with the dog. Helping Paws Follow-up Staff will help you with this task. Our goal is to empower you to make the best use of your service dog.
Great Responsibility. Great Reward.
Having a service dog as your partner 24 / 7 is a life changing experience. The emotional bond between you and your companion, and the additional independence you will experience, are wonderful gifts. Through the placement process, we will match you with a service dog that best suits your needs. Yet it is Helping Paws' responsibility and right to ensure that those who seek a service dog can provide the care that the service dog both needs and deserves.
If after reflection you decide that you do have the time, energy, and commitment to partner with a service dog, you will need to complete the application process in its entirety.