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Thinking of applying for a PAWS Assistance Dog, but unsure of what to expect? Let us walk you through the process.


Paws with a Cause


“Just like my disability is a part of me, my dog is a part of me. I can’t imagine what life would be like without an Assistance Dog.”

Jeff, PAWS Hearing Dog Client


Once applicants have read the Application Process and Frequently Asked Questions, they complete a form to request an application. By learning about an applicant’s goals with an Assistance Dog, disability and location, PAWS can determine if they meet the program’s initial guidelines. Qualifying applicants will be mailed an application to complete and non-qualifying applicants will be notified in 10-14 business days.


A qualifying applicant must submit a completed application, including the medical portion completed by their treating physician. When the finished application is returned to PAWS, it is reviewed by Client Services and the applicant’s references are contacted. In 10-14 business days, an applicant will receive a letter stating if they qualify to continue through PAWS’ application process.


Within 18-24 months, a PAWS Field Representative will visit the individual’s home to complete a needs assessment. This is an in-home interview to determine the needs of an applicant and whether a PAWS Assistance Dog can meet those needs. A video is also taken for PAWS Client Services and trainers to review. Four to six weeks after the needs assessment, applicants will receive a letter letting them know if they’ve been accepted as a PAWS client.

To learn more about what to expect as a PAWS client, click here.