Service animals are one of the saving graces of having a spinal cord injury. For many, a service dog is their best friend, their favorite caregiver. It can be life-changing, even if many may be hesitant to get a service dog at first. But once most witness in-person what service dogs can do, they too want to welcome one into their home.
The good news is that there are several organizations across the country that offer service dogs. We've compiled five of the most renowned service dog organizations in the country for your convenience below.
5. Paws4People Foundation
Founded by Kyria Henry in 1999, a woman impassioned about dogs, she was just 12 years old when she founded paws4people. paws4people is a nonprofit that gives assistance dogs to people with physical, neurological and brain injuries nationwide. Since its founding, they have placed dogs in over 25 states. If you have a child or an adolescent with a disability, this is a great organization to consider as youth are considered first over adults for dog placement. Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, paws4people also offers training for your own dog if you would like to pursue assistance dog certification for your furry friend.
4. Paws with a Cause
Founded in Michigan over 40 years ago, Paws With A Cause places custom trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities across the country. They have placed over 3000 assistance dogs since their inception and their service dogs are trained to help people with a wide range of physical disabilities from muscular sclerosis to spinal cord injuries. You must be 14 years or older to receive a service dog from Paws with a Cause and you can request a dog between January and the end of March each year.
3. Duo Dogs
Duo Dogs is a national nonprofit based in St. Louis, Missouri that places service dogs nationwide to anyone who qualifies. They were founded in 1981 and they have highly skilled service dogs that provide a wide range of tasks. Each dog is trained for a total of two years. While they place dogs nationwide, you must come to St. Louis for a two-week training session. Duo also charges $100 for the application and equipment fees to get your service dog.
2. Service Dogs for America
Service Dogs for America (SDFA) has been training service dogs since 1989. This organization is based in North Dakota, but they accept applicants from anywhere in the United States. They provide mobility assistance dogs for a wide range of disabilities, including invisible disabilities. SDFA offers a preliminary application online, however, they do charge $50 for the full application. And there is a hefty fee to get a dog, but they offer funding assistance programs, payment plans, and scholarships. In-person training in North Dakota is also required.
1. Canine Companions for Independence
One of the most well-known service dog organizations in the country is Canine Companions for Independence. They have been around since 1975 and provide assistance dogs that are completely free of charge. Canines Companions is the largest provider of the assistance dogs in the world and they provide free follow-up support as well. Canine Companions has placed over 6,000 dogs since 1975 as well. They provide dogs for adults with disabilities, as well as children with disabilities and veterans who have been injured. They also offer training locations across the country where you can learn your dog's skills.
Service dogs are truly priceless. We hope you find success in receiving one from one of the organizations above. For more service dog organizations, there is a list of everyone in the country organized by state-by-state, which you can find here: https://usaservicedogregistration.com/service-dog-training/
Written by Spinal Cord TeamSpinalCord.com has been created as a resource for patients of spinal cord injuries and their families. Find everything you need to learn more about your injury, locate a doctor or treatment center, or discover financial relief to support you through this difficult time.
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