What does a service dog do?
Our dogs are taught to perform such tasks as:
- Opening doors,
- Turning lights on & off,
- Retrieving dropped – or needed – items,
- paying at a counter,
- pulling wheelchairs,
- providing balance,
- and so much more!
Loki and Angie (Left)
Loki was donated to PawPADs (following an extensive suitability evaluation/testing), making it possible for him to have a wonderful life helping someone. Loki certainly is a successful assistance dog! He was partnered this past year with Angie, a Marine Corps Veteran. Here is a photo of this loving team with one of our volunteers, Audrey Bergstrom, who help make this kind of team possible. Loki provides so much more than physical assistance to Angie - and she is a loving and wonderful partner for him!
Through our Paw Corps program, we give placement priority to wounded warriors. PawPADs has a limited number of scholarships allowing us to place Service Dogs with veterans – with service connected physical disabilities – without cost to the veteran. Ask us about it!
While PawPADs does not place "PTSD dogs" (dogs trained to "clear" a room or apartment, check around corners, or similar tasks that some veterans experiencing PTSD symptoms seek to alleviate the hyper-vigilance or lack of security some feel), we recognize that Wounded Warriors who are partnered with our dogs often experience dramatic relief from many symptoms of PTSD due to the bonding and close work the partnership requires.
Service Dogs provide specific services to their partners; providing physical assistance and performing tasks useful to a person with a physical mobility challenge; bringing companionship, psychological, and social benefits. Even better, through partnership with an service dog, people often experience a joy and confidence due to the increased social interaction and independence. One of PawPADs focus’ is training these service dogs for Wounded Warriors with service/combat connected physical mobility disabilities.
Basic Service Dog placement criteria
In order to achieve the highest rate of success for clients and assistance dogs, PawPADs has established the following criteria for applicant acceptance:
- We place our dogs with those living within 250 miles of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (all of Minnesota in the case of wounded warriors)
- You must be able to meet the emotional, physical, and financial needs of the service dog and must offer a stable home environment. This includes providing the dog with appropriate exercise and grooming.
- Preference is for a home environment that has a safe, fenced enclosure area attached to the home to exercise the dog off lead.
- You must also be capable of managing the dog once you are living together.
- Your medical situation should allow you to work with the dog for several years.
- You must be actively pursuing the goal of independent living and seek to improve the quality of life through the partnership with a service dog.
- You must be able to attend a two-week Partner Training Camp (PTC), to receive proper instruction on how to care for and work with your dog. (You will be responsible for living expenses – travel, accommodation, food, etc. during this time).
- You must complete an intensive certification process, which includes a written final, an oral exam, and multiple dog handling tests.
- Following service dog placement, you must complete monthly written evaluations on your dog’s behavior and as needed, participate in training lessons and evaluations given in your home. After 6 months, your partnership will be re-evaluated and, if appropriate, full ownership will be transferred to you.