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Applying for a Service Dog

Our Services
Eligibility

How the Process Works

What We Do For You

  • We breed Great Dane dogs of European descent, free of charge, due to their heavier and sturdier frame over their American equivalent, which enables recipients to rely on our dogs for mobility with more assurance.​

 

  • We train our dogs to address balance and mobility difficulties with the use of minimal equipment, free of charge.  While each dog receives extensive training for balance before being paired with an applicant, the dog continues to adjust to the needs of their owner throughout the partnership.  Our working service dogs have been placed with individuals with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities.

 

  • Our dogs are NOT trained to assist with hearing or visual impairment, epilepsy, seizures, diabetes, psychiatric disorders or autism.

  • Before being paired, our dogs are issued with pet insurance, which is transferred to their human partner after graduation.  

    • For civilians, human partners are required that they maintain this insurance policy for a minimum of 12 months after transfer.

    • Veterans are transferred this policy, however SDP retains the monthly premium and will reimburse the veteran for specific veterinary services.

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Candidate Qualifications

The potential applicant should:

  • Be able to care for a service dog 100% of the time as it is necessary that bonding be strictly between them; 

 

  • Be older than 12 and younger than 65;

 

  • Possess the maturity to learn the skills of a partnership with a service dog;

 

  • Live within close proximity to SDP as our dogs are required to return frequently to SDP for ongoing training and assessment;

 

  • Have no more than one dog (pet) in the household at time of application. This is necessary to allow for easier bonding and reduce distractions while our service dog is at work.

 

  • Have a fenced in yard.  Apartment dwellers will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis;

 

  • Utilize the dog in public at least three hours a day;

 

  • Volunteer at SDP if local, and when practical if afar.

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Inquiry Form

  • The first step for applying for a Service Dog is to complete our online inquiry form (click below)

  • Once the inquiry is received and reviewed, typically within three weeks, you may be invited to visit SDP for a preliminary, informal meeting or be referred to another better-suited organization.

Click to access SDP Inquiry Form

Inquiry
After Applying
Candidates
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Mailing Address

Personal and Confidential

Attn:  Lynn George

Service Dog Project

PO Box 629

Ipswich, MA 01938

Once You Apply

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  • Once an application is received, there is an undetermined waiting period before a partnership may be made.  Great Danes have individual personalities.  This is a unique program and we do our best to match every applicant.  

  • Please keep in mind that even at this point there is no guarantee we will have a dog to meet your needs.  We encourage volunteering at SDP while you are on the waiting list for a dog and do research regarding the breed.

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When a Candidate is Chosen

  • After we decide one of our dogs can help, we ask the candidates to the farm to do some voluntary work with dogs around because they need to know about Great Dane and their behaviors.

  • If they look like a good match, we will call the candidates to come to the organization for a week of training

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Becoming a Recipient

  • Once one of our dogs is donated to a recipient, they will assume responsibility and provide a safe home for the dog.  

  • Here are some of the responsibilities you can expect:​

    • The welfare of our dogs is our highest priority, therefore throughout the dog’s lifetime their medical records are required to be sent to SDP. 

    • Pet Insurance is placed on all service dogs prior to a match. We require the insurance is kept in place for the lifetime of the dog.

    • Recipients must respond to wellness emails or phone calls from SDP staff or volunteers. 

    • Ongoing work on partnership skills and going out in public 3-4 hours per day.  Volunteerism and community work is highly encouraged.

    • The cost for the leash, harness, food, dishes & stand, vitamins, toys, bedding, dog coat, clipping nails, cleaning ears, monthly tick and flea preventatives, vet visits (annual exams/rabies and other vaccines), other general care & daily exercise for your dog. 

Recipients
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