Apply For Our Program
Before filling out an application for our program, please take some time to read through some of the questions below. If you still feel as if a service dog is the right choice for you, fill out the form at the bottom of the page!
Do you have a disability?
Are you able to financially cover the cost of owning a service dog?
The overall cost of a service dog is not just paying for its training. A service dog is still a dog; you must be able to plan for and afford regular veterinary visits (sometimes more often than pet dogs, especially for dogs that have physically-demanding tasks), a high-quality diet, gear, toys, beds, etc. not only for the dog’s working life but into retirement.
Are you able to provide your service dog with adequate exercise and care when he/she is not working?
There may be days where your service dog is required to be idle for long stretches of time, whether that’s during your work or school hours, during travel, doctors’ appointments, or any number of other things. Service dogs still require adequate physical exercise to keep them in good condition and keep their energy well-balanced enough to focus on their work. In addition, you must be able to provide for the every-day needs of your service dog such as feeding, grooming, playing, picking up waste, etc.
Are you comfortable with/able to handle the extra attention you will get from the public?
Especially for those with psychiatric disabilities, having attention focused on you can be a trigger that negatively affects you and can make some conditions worse. Because service dogs are not common, handlers often will get stopped and asked questions, may get challenged by employees of certain businesses, and even have members of the public talk/pet/interact with your dog without permission. Wind River will help to prepare you for public interactions as part of the owner-training portion of our programs, but these interactions will still happen, and while some of them are positive, not all will be.
Are there other ways to mitigate your disability that are effective and require less of an accommodation from public entities?
This is a tough question, but must be asked. For example, if you need help remembering to take medication, you could train a service dog to remind you to do this, or you could set an alarm on your watch or cell phone. If the alarm is sufficient to remind you, that is the option you should choose. Service dogs CAN be a risk for certain businesses (like those that serve food), and it can sometimes be difficult for businesses to make the necessary accommodations.
If you feel that you can successfully cover all the necessary requirements of a service dog AND it is the best way to mitigate your disability, please fill out our service dog program application form!
Steps for enrolling in our program:
- Fill out the form at the bottom of the page – This will give us the preliminary information we need to determine whether or not we can assist you with your needs.
- Identify your service dog candidate – This could include searching for a shelter dog to meet your needs or assessing your current dog for suitability
- Schedule a consultation – This is a meeting with our service dog specialist to identify your specific needs and to develop a training curriculum for you and your dog that will met those needs. This will also include the creation of a written training plan submitted to you with training goals, estimated time frames, and cost.
- Secure funding source and/or payment plans – While you do not need to have the entire cost of the program covered in order to begin training, we do require a minimum deposit of funds and an organized payment plan in place prior to beginning any of our training programs.
- Schedule training!