****Please review the entire application before beginning to input your answers. You MUST submit the correct attachments in order for your application to be processed****
Below you will find the form to apply for a service dog from Canine Assistants. Please complete all required fields and read below for more information regarding the application process.
Step 1. Complete all required fields in the online application below.
Step 2. Download the Medical History Form here. Ask your doctor to email or fax the Medical History Form directly back to us. You must sign and date the medical history form before giving to your doctor.
Step 3. Once we have your completed application on file, we will conduct a phone interview.
Step 4. If we believe we are a good fit for you, we will ask for a taped virtual home visit.
Step 5. Once you have completed the virtual home visit, your file will be sent to our application committee for a final review. If approved, you will be placed on our waiting list for a recipient camp. Wait times for camps average 5 years, but may be even longer.
When you are invited to a recipient camp, you will be asked to cover camp costs if possible. If you are unable to cover those costs, we will require you to apply for financial aid. If approved, Canine Assistants will help you cover your camp costs.
If you need additional information, feel free to call me at (770) 664-7178 ext. 203 or
at (800) 771-7221 ext. 203.
With warmest regards,
Recipient Services Coordinator
**Please note that we are not able to place guide dogs nor are we able to place dogs with individuals who manifest behaviors beyond their control. For information on other programs better suited to help under those particular circumstances, please visit the internet.
Please read the letter from our Founder and Executive Director, Jennifer Arnold regarding Canine Assistants and our Teaching Methodology before proceeding to the application.
Dear Canine Assistants Client,
Hope you and yours are well. We would like to take a moment to tell you about our program. We are happily flooded with puppies at CA these days. It is incredible to watch these tiny creatures enter the world so helpless and then, some 18-months later, graduate 60-70 lbs. heavier and indescribably more capable. Not only are these dogs able to help people, they are kind enough to do so with great joy.
A few months ago, I was on a stage with the seven dogs we currently have working fulltime in the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta system. As I looked from dog to dog, I was struck by the compassion and generosity of spirit that they show day after day. They really are quite extraordinary creatures—as are all of our dogs.
I began reflecting about what makes them tenderhearted enough to sit completely still as sobbing children hooked up to various medical equipment clings to them yet still brave enough to jump on elevators and escalators in the chaotic Atlanta airport without hesitation. It starts with their extraordinary kindness; the kindness with which they were born and that which has been poured into them by the staff, volunteers, and other animals of Canine Assistants. Since before they were born, these dogs have been adored. They have never experienced a leash correction or a shouting voice. They have been taught with kindness and they return that kindness to us a thousand fold. Because they’ve not been made to fear, they have complete and total trust in the people they love.
This is our 26th year in operation. When we first started, we used the harsh training techniques that were standard in the day. That punishment-based approach made everyone involved miserable and resulted in much heartache for people and dogs. We simply didn’t know any other way. Now we do. Our dogs are happy under our current methodology and, as a result, capable of forming stronger bonds than we’ve ever imagined possible. And of all we have learned in the past 23 years, one fact has become clear above all else—The bond is all that matters. From that bond comes the willingness to work for success (though it feels like play) and the ability to handle any difficulties that might arise.
We have also learned that those who worry more about what they want FOR their dogs rather than what they want FROM their dogs end up being most successful under our methodology. In order for the dogs to be able to focus on making you happy and healthy, they have to be happy and healthy themselves.
Please understand that camp is the time when you meet your dog and you BEGIN to establish that bond. Much of the necessary work will have to be done after you get home. You and your dog will not be at your best as a team until you have been together for six months or more. Great partnerships require two components— an immediate spark upon meeting and slow strengthening over time as you come to understand one another more clearly. While you are here, we will help you recognize the spark and give you the tools needed to strengthen the bond but the remainder is up to you.
We have also learned something else over the years—our dogs aren’t right for everyone. Type A personalities often have a very hard time with our relatively loose structure. If you find it difficult to imagine asking a dog to do something rather than telling him, we will flat make you crazy. We do not believe in the use of punishment and do not allow the use of correction with our dogs. For those who are more traditional in their views of dogs and discipline, this may be difficult. And, if you have thoughts of saying what you need to say and then handling the dog as you choose when you get home (that might well be my first thought!), I have bad news. Methods other than our own don’t work with our dogs. They fall completely to pieces when handled differently resulting in such delights as diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety-based barking and chewing, failure to perform as requested—the list goes on and on. I promise it just isn’t worth it to start with one of our dogs if you aren’t 100% committed to doing it our way. If you cannot commit to our approach, that’s okay. Not every program is right for every person. There are other programs that might be a better fit if you have a more traditional view of dogs and what constitutes appropriate treatment of them.
If you’d feel more comfortable with another program, please visit the internet to find other organizations that will be able to help you.
If you are willing to fully and completely embrace our methodology, I look forward to reviewing your application.
NOTE: Canine Assistants reserves the right at any point in the process and at our sole discretion to not place a service dog if we feel the placement would not be beneficial. If you have any questions, please contact Theresa at (770) 664-7178 Ext 303 or (800) 771-7221 ext 203.
If you are still interested in applying, please fill out all required fields below, and this form will be sent directly to our Recipient Coordinator.