Imagine having a dog that could turn on lights, pick up dropped keys or open a door. Canine Companions for Independence service dogs are partnered with adults with physical disabilities to assist with daily tasks and increase independence by reducing reliance on other people. A service dog can pull their partner in a manual wheelchair, push buttons for elevators or automatic doors, and even assist with business transactions by transferring money, receipts, and packages.
A Canine Companions service dog not only assists with physical tasks, but also provides social support. During a two-week training session, participants learn how to effectively handle an assistance dog to maximize use of the 40 commands.
Disabilities served include, but are not limited to, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, arthritis and cerebral palsy.
To Receive a Service Dog:
- Be at least 18 years old. If disabled due to injury, be one-year post-injury rehabilitation.
- Request an application.
- Find a friend or family member to be a training assistant.
- Have a support system in place to facilitate a successful assistance dog partnership.
- Apply. This process involves several steps designed to ensure success.
- Once the application is accepted, attend a two-week Team Training class at a Canine Companions training center.
- After the training session and graduation ceremony, attend on-going Canine Companions training and follow-up support services.
Canine Companions service dogs and follow-up services are free of charge.