Eligibility and The Application Process
Q. Who is Eligible for an ADAI Dog?
A. Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence pairs dogs with children and adults who have mobility-impaired disabilities or special needs. Individuals who wish to apply for a service dog must be at least 12 years of age. Individuals who wish to apply for a special needs therapy dog must be at least 5 years of age. Applicants must live Ohio, Indiana or Michigan.
Q. How Do I Apply for an Assistance Dogs?
A. If you meet the eligibility requirements, contact ADAI at 419-855-5733 for an Application Packet. Upon receipt, you will be required to provide written information about you, a medical reference form, and a personal reference form. You will need to send the completed application forms and a $50 non-refundable application fee to ADAI. A staff member from ADAI will contact you for a phone interview after we have received your application. If you qualify, a home interview will be scheduled with our Client Services Director. The home interview will be videotaped and reviewed by our Training staff for approval. If you are approved, you will be placed on our waiting list for an assistance dog.
Q. How Does ADAI Choose a Dog for Me?
A. ADAI chooses dogs for each consumer based on your application and personal interview. ADAI primarily uses Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and mixes thereof.
Q. How Long is the Waiting Period?
A. Currently, the average wait for a dog is 18 to 24 months. The waiting list is necessary to allow ADAI to place the right dog with the right consumer based on the dog's strengths and the consumer's needs and environment.
Q. What is the Cost?
A. The only fees required by ADAI are the application and equipment fees. These fees help to offset the travel expenses for home interviews, paperwork, and supplies provided once the dog is placed with a consumer.
Q. What Type of Training Do I Receive With an ADAI Dog?
A. Consumers are required to attend training classes at our Education and Training Center in Sylvania, Ohio (Northwest Ohio). Prior to attending classes, ADAI may require you to complete some reading and testing about dog behavior and pre-training information. You will be notified a month in advance of the date of the scheduled training class. The class usually lasts 10 days. If the consumer and dog graduate together, they can leave together as a team. However, training does not stop there. You and your assistance dog will be on probation for 180 days during the transition.
Q. Where do consumers stay during the training period?
A. If you live outside daily driving distance to our center, you will stay at a hotel near the training center at your own cost.
Q. Who pays for expenses during the training class?
A. Our consumers are responsible for their travel expenses, the majority of their meals, their lodging and personal care during the training period. Many of our consumers host fundraisers to help with these expenses and donate any extra proceeds to ADAI.
Q. What does training with the dog include?
A. You will come to the ADAI facility each day to learn your dog's commands and functions and begin the bonding process. Our training includes formal class lectures, training and practice sessions at the facility for both you and your dog. You will also go on community outings to local supermarkets, restaurants, shopping malls and so on during the training.
Q. Where does the dog stay during training?
A. After the first two days of training, the dogs begin spending all of their time with their respective consumers. They dogs return to the hotels with them in the evening, have breakfast with them in the morning, etc. During that time, consumers will begin their responsibilities of exercising, feeding, and grooming their dog.
Q. Does every consumer who comes to the training class take home a dog?
A. Most do, but some do not. An ADAI staff member will monitor daily how each consumer is practicing with his or her dog as a viable team. The final decision on each consumer's ability to return home with their dog will depend on their successful graduation of the program. ADAI staff members will make that final decision.
Q. What happens after graduation?
A. The training process continues. Each consumer will receive a temporary access tag for a three-month probationary period. Each dog is trained in ADAI's required commands. Consumers will need to incorporate these commands into their daily routines to continue daily training with their dog in their home and community. We encourage consumers to call us during this time with questions or to review any problems they may be having. One of our staff members will evaluate each consumer to determine how they are connecting with their dog and to determine if they are eligible for team certification.