It costs us about $20,000 to take a dog from start to finish. Because most people live on a limited disability income, we donate the dogs to the qualified applicants. However, because we have to spend as much time raising the necessary funds as we do training the dogs, most organizations have waiting lists from 2 to 10 years or they won’t even take new applications anymore. While it does not cost the recipient anything for the dog itself, we always welcome any fundraising efforts among the family and friends in expediting this process. Keep in mind to qualify for a dog, you must be able to afford the initial expenses for the supplies (food, bowls, toys, etc.) and the long term commitment of about $160 a month for expenses including wellness and health insurance.
For a recipient that would like to apply for a service dog, we have an in-depth application process that allows us to custom train and choose the most suitable dog for the recipient’s personal challenges and environment. We also require various references (doctor, personal, professional). Once all of the paperwork is completed and approved, the recipient will be placed on a waiting list of approved candidates. Prior to pairing, we will make an in home visit to confirm that we have chosen the right dog for the recipient. When the dog is ready to pair with his recipient, the recipient must then be prepared to come stay for three to four days to transition the bond and teach the recipient how to deliver the commands. Because of the extensive training necessary and the cost involved in raising money to donate one of these dogs, we have developed the following programs:
- With our original program we will fully train the dog for you and once it is ready, we will have you come spend a few days training with your new dog. Currently, the wait for this program is one to two years for a PTSD dog and three to four years for other disabilities such as mobility and hearing impairment, etc.
- Our “Foster Pairing” program allows you to take a dog home within the first month. You must commit to coming to class once a week. Classes are held on Thursdays at 2 pm and Saturdays at 10 am. You can come to either or both. We will work with you and the dog together to be sure he/she learns the proper manners and skills necessary to become a federally protected service dog. These dogs will require a little more work with polishing their house training skills and obedience work. We try to start most of them in advance so they have their basic manners and are not too much work. With this program, you will be responsible for their food (about $75/month), spay/neutering (about $120 – a one time cost) and on going care. Once we feel you and the dog are working well together and can pass your test, we will officially pair you which includes your vest and ID cards, etc.
- If you have your own dog and believe that he or she may qualify as a service dog with some training, we will refer you to Dogs Delivering Independence (www.DogsDI.com) to evaluate your dog. If he/she appears to have the basic temperament necessary to do the work, they will teach you and your dog the obedience and skill work necessary. Visit their website for more information.
Getting a service dog is a great decision. We at Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs will do our best to pair you with a dog that will be perfect for you and your challenges that allows us to custom train and choose the most suitable dog for the recipient’s personal challenges.
Veteran’s Administration Service Dog Pilot Program
For the past year, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. has been partnered with the Veteran’s Administration in a pilot program that pairs very highly skilled, federally protected medical service dogs with veterans suffering from the challenges of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). While it is not a cure, the results have been nearly immediate and the positive impact on restoring the lives of our veterans is amazing. We are having a 100% success rate with these dogs assisting their veteran.
Due to numerous delays and issues with the Veteran’s Administration we are no longer partnering with them, however, we still continue to specialize in dogs trained to mitigate these challenges.
You need not be a participant in the VA pilot program to receive a service dog from us. You will not receive money for dog food, monthly health insurance or the quarterly visits, however you WILL receive the greatest service dog chosen especially for you. You will also get the very best follow-up anyone could ask for.
For additional questions about getting a service dog please call 352-425-1981 or email Carol@MedicalServiceDogs.com.