Inquiries For Our Service Dogs
Our dogs are trained to address balance and mobility difficulties with the use of minimal equipment. While each dog receives extensive training for balance, we like to consider our dogs well educated so once a dog is paired with an applicant the dog continues to adjust to the needs of their partner. This work is ongoing through the life of the partnership. Our working service dogs have been placed with individuals with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Cerebral Palsy and more. Our dogs are NOT trained to assist with hearing or visual impairment, epilepsy, seizures, diabetes, psychiatric disorders or autism.
With that in mind we work with the following guidelines for matching potential partners:
Military veterans and first responders are given first preference.
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 75;
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 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.
The dog should be at least 45% of the person’s height and 65% of the person’s weight.
The potential applicant must come for ongoing evaluations, as required.
Recipients are solely responsible for their dog and its care. We ask that new recipients set up a separate savings account with a minimum balance of $5,000.00 specifically for veterinary care.
The dogs are service dogs; they are not family pets.
We donate our dogs. Our recipients are not asked or required to participate in fundraising for SDP.
Process time can vary due to the number of applicants, the number of dogs available and the ability to match a dog to a person's size, gait, lifestyle, etc.
We cannot always guarantee we can provide an applicant with a dog.
If you meet the above guidelines and are interested in a service dog:
Complete an Inquiry Form (found below). Please mail your completed inquiry to SDP, 37 Boxford Rd., Ipswich, MA 01938. Please write INQUIRY on the front and back of the envelope. Do NOT send via email. Once the inquiry is received and reviewed, typically within six weeks, you may be invited to visit SDP for a preliminary, informal meeting or be referred to another better suited organization.
After visiting SDP you may receive an application (to be completed and returned), or it may be determined at that time our dogs are not suitable to meet your needs.
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. So 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.
Once partnered the applicant will be required to bond/train with the dog at the farm in Ipswich, MA and visit for ongoing training, re-certifications and other requested visits.
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 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.
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.
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.
For possible emergency veterinary needs we ask you to open a separate savings account with a minimum balance of $5,000.00.
Please take the time to become fully familiar with Service Dog Project. Read through our website, educate yourself about the Great Dane breed and volunteer when possible.
An Open House is held every Sunday from 12:00 - 4:00 pm. Come meet the dogs, staff, and volunteers.
If you would like to inquire about a service dog, please complete the following questionnaire -- print it, fill in the requested information and then mail to Service Dog Project, 37 Boxford Rd., Ipswich, MA 01938. You should expect a response from us typically within six weeks, if not please resend. This is NOT an application.
Click Below for PDF (Printable) Version
Questions Listed Below
Date of inquiry:
Address including city/town and state:
Date of birth: Age:
Are you a veteran? If so what division?
Are any family members veterans? If so who?
What is your primary diagnosis?
Is your diagnosis due to your military service?
Do you have a handicap plate or placard?
Do you work? If so, please describe your job, i.e., what you do, your work environment, is there any physical activity required?
Do you drive?
Do you have a yard? If so, is it fenced in?
Do you volunteer? If so, where?
Other household members including pets:
Service Dog Project
37 Boxford Rd.
Ipswich, MA 01938
You should receive a response within six weeks; if not please resend. This is NOT an application.