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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will you “certify” my pet dog, so I can take it on the plane or into a hotel with me? Can I buy a service dog vest from you?

No. It’s illegal to falsely misrepresent that your pet or other animal is a service animal. Pets are not service animals and neither are emotional support animals.

For people with disabilities, specially trained service animals play a critical role in their lives. They make it possible for those with disabilities to work, travel, stay safe, and, in some cases, stay alive.

If you falsely claim that your pet is a service animal in order to, for example, bring it into a hotel with you or take it on the plane, you may be breaking the law. Moreover, you are poisoning attitudes towards true service animals, and leading bystanders and proprietors to believe truly legitimate users may be “faking it.” In addition, if you enter a facility where an actual service animal is working, your untrained animal may jeopardize the safety of the service animal and its handler.

Leave your pet at home, and allow true service animals to do their jobs.


What is your “Tax ID Number?” Is my donation to PawPADs tax deductible? What is your EIN?

Our EIN (often referred to as a Tax ID number) is 510593176.

PawPADs is a 501(c)(3)charitable organization and all contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.

We recommend that you consult with your tax adviser for additional information regarding your contributions.

How much will it cost me for an assistance dog?

The following is a listing of some of the expenses involved with obtaining an assistance dog from PawPADs:

  • Application Fee: $25 (non-refundable)
  • Placement Fee: $5,000
  • Your costs associated with attending our required Partner Training Camp: transportation, and lodging, all lunches, one movie, one dinner

  • I can’t afford the placement fee. Does that mean I can’t have a dog?

    Not necessarily.

    We recognize that many people, though not all, living with disabilities often face financial restraints.
    Despite this expense, the life-changing benefits these dogs can provide make them invaluable to many seeking increased independence.

    Many friends, family members, employers, schools, churches or civic groups will often help you raise the amount to cover your contribution for your dog.

    PawPADs has a limited number of scholarships allowing us to place Service Dogs with veterans with service related disabilities without cost to the veteran. Ask us about it!

    Where do you place your dogs?
    We place our dogs with those living within 200 miles of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.
    Why do you charge for your dogs?

    We believe that when an applicant actively participates in the effort to raise the small fraction ($5,000) of the total value of their new partner ($20-25,000), they are really building a support system of friends, family, co-workers, donors, church and other civic organizations that can have your back as a healthy, successful, happy service dog team for many, many years!

    Many friends, family members, employers, schools, churches or civic groups will often help to fund-raise these amounts to cover your contribution for your dog. Assistance dogs win not only the hearts of their partners, but also the community!

    It takes hard work, commitment to take care of and maintain the health and training of a service dog and we all need a little help occasionally. But don’t be discouraged!

    What types of service dogs do you train?

    Our primary focus is on training service dogs for people with physical mobility disabilities.

    Our dogs can also be trained as Diabetic Alert dogs (trained for detecting changes in blood sugar levels), Home Help-mate dogs (these have been trained in the same skills as Service Dogs, but are NOT granted public access qualifications due to not meeting our high standards of performance. The dogs assist their partners with every day, in-home tasks, such as opening doors, loading the clothes dryer, retrieving items off the floor), and Facility/Animal Assisted Therapy dogs on a case-by-case basis.

    Do you train support dogs for placement with veterans experiencing PTSD?

    PawPADs does not place “PTSD dogs,” that is dogs trained to “clear” a room or apartment, check around corners, or similar tasks that some persons experiencing PTSD symptoms seek to alleviate the hyper-vigilance or lack of security some feel as a result of PTSD.

    Absent an accompanying physical disability, it is not our focus and we do not train and place dogs specifically for these situations.

    However, our wounded warriors veterans who have physical disabilities 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.

    Do you train Emotional Support Dogs (ESD), Autism Support Dogs, or Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSD)?

    No. We do not train our dogs to work specifically with psychological or emotional challenges (bipolar, anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, depression, etc). Absent an accompanying physical disability, it is not our focus and we do not train and place dogs specifically for these situations.

    We encourage you to visit at and search for Emotional Support Dogs (ESD),Autism Support Dogs, or Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSD), as you may be able to locate an organization in your area that can meet your needs.

    I already have a great dog. Can you train him as a service dog for me?
    Not at this time. PawPADs only trains and places service dogs that belong to our program.

    What happens after I send in my application?

    After we receive your completed application, our staff will review it. If you meet the criteria and we feel that you may benefit from one of our service dogs, an in-home interview will be arranged so that we may meet with you in person to get a better sense of your needs, abilities and living situation. If accepted as a client, you will be placed on the waiting list for the next suitable dog.

    If for any reason and at any time during the application process we determine we cannot provide an assistance dog to meet your needs or have concerns about the safety of yourself or a dog in a partnership, we will inform you immediately and the application process will be discontinued. These decisions will not be made lightly and as such will be final.

    How long will I have to wait for a dog?

    Because each dog is unique and trains differently than the next, it is difficult to predict with certainty the readiness of each dog for placement. Depending on several factors, our goal is to have the dogs ready for placement when the dogs are approximately a year and a half of age to two years of age.

    Although we keep account of the order we receive applications, we place dogs based on the “best match” between dog and client so placements will not necessarily be done on a first come basis. Teams will be formed based on social/personality style matching to create the strongest bond possible and maximum opportunity for a long and successful partnership.

    Can I have other pets at home?
    Currently, Diabetic Alert Dogs are placed as the ONLY dog in the home. Other placements are considered on an case-by-case basis such as clients who have other pets (dogs, cats, birds, etc.) at home.

    How long is the training program?
    It takes about a year and a half to two years to train an assistance dog. The variation in time results from the dog’s individual differences and abilities.

    Following the dog training, there is a two week client placement training and specialized training as needed.

    How old are the dogs when they are placed?
    Depending on several factors, we attempt to place most of our dogs with a recipient when the dogs are approximately a year and a half of age to two years of age.
    What happens to the dogs that aren’t cut out to be service dogs?

    Our first goal for any of our dogs that aren’t suited as a service dog is to find a job they CAN do! There’s a job for every dog that trots out our doors, even if it is simply to be the best partner and family companion you’ve ever had.

    Check out our “Release Dogs” page at this link to see the dogs we’ve released from the program and which are currently available for adoption. Maybe there’s a life-long companion waiting there for you!

    What breeds of dogs do you train?
    We primarily work with Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, along with other breeds appropriate for specific jobs.
    Where do your dogs come from?
    Our dogs come to us as puppies from a variety of places: Rescue shelters, Breed specific rescue organizations, families kennels, and carefully screened professional kennels.

    Our goal is to train one rescue dog for every dog bred for our programs!

    Support PawPADs

    PawPADs is a 501(C)(3) charitable organization so your contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. (EIN: 510593176)
    Contact Us

    9877 234th Street East
    Lakeville, MN 55044-8299
    Sorry, visit by appointment only
    Phone: +001 (612) 643-5671

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