Mutts with a Mission provides Service Dogs for United States Service Members who served on active duty and have a service connected disability as well as Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders, and Federal Agents with a line of duty connected disability. We DO NOT provide training for the dogs of spouses or their children. If you do not qualify for our program we recommend visiting the Assistance Dogs International website.
How long is the application process?
Once you submit a completed application decisions are usually made within 3-4 weeks. You will be notified by email if you are selected and to set up an onsite interview.
What is Assistance Dogs International (ADI)? Assistance Dogs International is a worldwide coalition of non-profit organizations that train and place Service Dogs. ADI is the leading authority in the Service Dog industry.
Why does ADI accreditation matter? Accreditation is a pillar of Assistance Dogs International. ADI accredits non-profit programs that place Service Dogs to ensure that they adhere to the highest standards in all aspects of their operations, including ethical treatment and training of dogs, ethical treatment of clients, solid Service Dog training and follow-up care.
I have a dog I’d like trained to be my Service Dog, do you offer this? Yes, we are one of a few ADI accredited organizations in the United States that offers owner-training. For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are Service Dogs trained to do?
Each dog will be trained to complete work or tasks that help mitigate the handler's documented disability. While dogs can provide emotional, social, and safety benefits for their handler these benefits are not tasks that qualify a dog as a service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore a dog making someone feel better because of their presence is not a task and does not qualify a dog as a service animal. Dogs that show any type of aggression will not be considered for training and if occurs during training will be dismissed from further training.
Tasks our dogs are trained to do (this is not an all inclusive list)
Tasks for Service Dogs for Mental Health Disabilities
Bring the phone in an emergency
Get help of a house member
Help a person get up
Steady a person
Carry medical equipment (not a task)
Provide tactile stimulation during a flashback or anxiety attack
Turn on lights
Wake up a person during night terrors
Wake up a person for work or school
Provide an excuse to leave a situation
Create non-aggressive space in crowds
Search a dark room and on return turn on a light
Helping handler decide if a situation is safe - handler hears voices-gives dog command-dog decides if a real person is there or not
Retrieve dropped items
Retrieve requested items
Brace/help handler up
Assist in taking off certain items of clothing
Open/shut drawers, cabinets, etc.
Turn on/off lights
Steady a person
How much does it cost to obtain a Service Dog through Mutts with a Mission?
There is an application fee of $50.00, and some equipment costs (specialized leashes, etc. if you so choose) other than that there is no charge for the training. This is our way of showing our gratitude and saying thank you for your service and sacrifice.
Are there dogs that Mutts with a Mission will not train as Service Dogs?
Yes, there are dogs because of heat/cold tolerance issues, breathing issues, and some guardian breeds that will not be considered as Service Dog candidates. MWAM reserves the right to make the decision on a dog's suitability on a case by case basis. We do not train pit bull type dogs, pit bull mixes or wolf-hybrids.
At what age does a dog start training?
We start working with puppies as early as 8 weeks old in order to provide the puppy a sound background and foundation and a love of learning for Service Dog training.
Do all Service Dogs need to be spay/neutered?
Yes. In order for Mutts with a Mission to comply with ADI standards, all Service Dogs must be spay/neutered before they graduate from our Service Dog program.
I want to owner train with Mutts with a Mission but I live more than 2 hours away. I'm willing to make the commitment for training. What do I do?
If you are able to make bi-monthly training sessions and can pass the application process you are welcome. Currently, we have several teams in training who come for bi-monthly classes due to their distance from our location. It will take longer, but you can graduate from our program if you are committed.
I need a Service Dog and was in the military, but my disability was not related to my military service. Do I qualify for a Service Dog from Mutts with a Mission?
No, because your disability was not service connected you do not meet our application qualifications. We suggest individuals that do not qualify for our program visit the Assistance Dogs International website.
What is the maximum age of a dog you will allow into your program?
The maximum age of a dog we will accept into our program is 2 years old, if they have had substantial amount of demonstrable obedience training. We like for our dogs to have a working life of 8 years before they need to be retired. We retire our dogs at 10 years of age.
What kinds of breeds does Mutts with a Mission allow?
We are not breed specific (but we do have restrictions). We look more for temperament and physical soundness in our dogs. For approval of owner trained dogs, we will first work with your veterinarian to weed out any physical problems that would prevent a dog from being a viable Service Dog. Every dog coming into the program is REQUIRED to be temperament tested.
What happens when we graduate as a team? Am I finished with your program?
No, once you graduate you will be retested yearly. You are a member of the program for the working life of your dog. Before it is time to retire your Service Dog we will work with you on finding and training/matching you with a replacement.
Service Dogs & The VA
I have been told that the VA will cover the medical expenses for my dog if it is trained through an Assistance Dogs International (ADI) accredited program. Is this true?
Yes and no. If you are medically approved, meaning your paperwork has gone through the correct channels and has been accepted, AND your dog is a Service Dog or a Guide Dog from an ADI accredited program the VA will pay the medical expenses for the WORKING LIFE of your Service Dog. (Note. Once your Service Dog is retired, the VA will no longer pay its medical expenses.)
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