Applying for an Assistance Dog

Our clients are the driving force behind our work at Eyes Ears Nose and Paws. Potential clients will become acquainted with our programs and staff during the application process, and we will be better able to determine if one of our programs can meet their needs. Read on to learn more about our application and placement process!

Applying for an Assistance Dog

Criteria
EENP is invested in the success of our assistance dog teams.  The application process helps us determine if our programs can meet applicants' needs and gives applicants a chance to determine if EENP is a good fit for them.  We have found the following qualities create successful assistance dog partnerships, and are criteria we look for in our applicants:

  • An EENP-trained dog is likely to provide skills the applicant needs.
  • The applicant possesses the personal qualities necessary to ensure success in the EENP facility-based training.
  • The applicant has adequate emotional and cognitive skills, and appropriate judgment, to provide for an EENP-trained dog’s safety and well-being, OR has a support system that will ensure these things.
  • The applicant has access to adequate resources for housing, exercising, feeding, and providing medical care for an EENP-trained dog, OR has a support system that will ensure these things.
  • The applicant should reside within a reasonable proximity to the EENP training facility to promote easy access to training and post-placement follow-up. (Currently, 2.5 hour driving radius from EENP’s facility.) Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.

Call Us
The entire application and interview process gives both you and our staff a chance to explore the possibility of an assistance dog placement together. Let us know you're interested by giving us a call and we can talk you through how the application process works and answer any of your questions. If one of our programs looks like a good fit for you, we will send you an application to get the process started.

Application
EENP's application includes an letter introducing our application process, an information packet, and forms that you and your medical team will need to complete. The information you provide helps our staff better understand your situation and needs. A completed application includes:

  • Application Form
  • Medical History Forms (1 completed by you; 1 completed by your doctor)
  • Personal Letter of Reference (from a friend, teacher, or someone other than a family member)
  • Professional Letter of Reference (from a therapist, social worker, teacher, employer or any other professional with whom you have contact)
  • Signed Service Area Agreement
  • $25 Application Fee

Once we have received your completed application, we will review it and follow up with any questions that may arise. A staff member will contact qualifying applicants for an in-person interview.

In-person Interview
During the in-person interview, applicants will have a chance to meet our staff and our dogs at our facility. We will discuss our Training Seminar, Assistance Dog placement, and fill in any details needed to complete the application process. At the same time, this meeting gives applicants a chance to decide if EENP's programs are a good match for them.

Partnership Placement

Waiting List
Applicants who are selected and wish to become one of our program clients will be placed on our waiting list. A careful matching process is used to find an assistance dog that is a good fit for each individual client's needs and lifestyle. When a proposed match has been made, clients will be notified and invited to the next Assistance Dog Team Training Seminar for potential placement.

Team Training Seminar
The Training Seminars are two week classes held in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area, and they are designed to teach you the skills you need to maximize the benefits of an assistance dog partnership, to give you a chance to bond with your new partner, and to allow you to become comfortable with being in public with your partner. We move from initial classroom training sessions to supervised outings to a final solo outing at the end of the training.

After Placement

After the Training Seminar, you'll return home with your new partner, but our involvement doesn't end there. We encourage you to call us if you are having problems or questions, as well as if everything is going well! We will check in with you regularly during the first year to make sure everything is going well, and to offer additional training where needed. After you've had time to settle into your partnership together, we'll do an in-person "recertification" where we observe you in some common situation to be sure your partnership is benefitting you. Recertification typically takes place 6 months to 1 year after initial placement. After the initial recertification, we assess partnerships annually to see what help they may need to keep the team in top working condition.

We have a strong alumni community, and organize regular opportunities for our teams to get together to socialize as well as train in group settings.

If you are ever unable to take care of your partner, let us know! We can offer help.

Full Cost and Scholarship

We feel it is important for everyone to know the full cost of an Assistance Dog Placement. It costs EENP about $50,000 to raise, train, and place an assistance dog and then support that team through the life of the placement. This is a bargain when you consider that an assistance dog may offer 50,000 hours of service over the course of a placement!

EENP does not charge the full cost of a placement to our clients, but we do charge a placement fee that reflects the investment of time, energy, and money that EENP makes in a successful partnership:

  • $20,000 for a Service Dog or Diabetic Assistance Dog placement

In addition to the placement fee, we also charge tuition for the Assistance Dog Team Training Seminar of $600. Clients are responsible for travel, accommodation, and food costs during that training.

Placement cost may be out-of-reach for many applicants, and EENP has a generous Scholarship Program for people who need financial help. We offer scholarships that cover up to 75% of the cost of placement (up to $15,000). Scholarships are awarded based on income and medical expenses. If the placement fee represents a challenge which might prevent you from pursuing an assistance dog partnership, please let us know. We can help you with fundraising ideas and send you information on applying for scholarships. We're committed to making sure that expense doesn't keep anyone from getting an assistance dog.

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