How do I apply to get an assistance dog for my child?
Currently our waiting list is closed for applications for assistance and companion dogs. Please sign up to our mailing list and we will be able to stay in touch and notify you when we are accepting applications again.
If I fundraise enough, can I ‘buy’ an assistance dog?
Sadly we don’t have the resources to supply dogs privately and our ethos is that we provide dogs without charge and without discrimination to those who meet our application requirements. We operate a first come, first serve waiting list with the top 5 - 10 families being assessed for careful matching to the dog(s) that are due to graduate.
Do you charge for your assistance or companion dogs?
We do not charge clients for the dogs that we provide. We fundraise all the costs associated with acquiring, maintaining, training and matching of the dogs that we provide. Once a dog has been successfully placed with a client, the client then takes on the ongoing feed, veterinary and general maintainence costs. We ask those on the waiting list and those who have recieved a dog to support us with fundraising activities if possible.
How long does it take to train an autism assistance dog?
It takes up to 2 years to train, carefully match and place an assistance dog with a child. You can learn more about our training program here.
If I have a dog already can you train or certify it for me?
Unfortunately this is not a service we provide. Dogs must undergo extensive training and rigourous assesments to meet the standard required to be an assistance dog. We are accredited to Assistance Dogs International and follow their guidelines and standards for qualifying assistance dogs. The dogs that qualify as assistance dogs will have spent 18-24 months within our training programme undergoing regular assesments and evaluation.
Can your dogs go into restaurants, shops and other public places?
Yes. According to the NSAI standard IS340, section 4, sub section F1: Assistance dogs and assistance dogs/puppies in training have full access to public places including shops, restaurants, public transport etc. They will be identified by their working dog/puppy in training jacket, bearing the organisations logo.
Note: Companion dogs and dogs released from our training programme without qualification do not have public right of way access and will not be provided with a working/training jacket.
I want to fundraise for you, where do I start?
Thats great that you want to support us! Please pop along to our fundraising page to learn more about how to get started.
Can I buy a jacket for my dog so they can access public places and transport?
Our working dog jackets are only provided to dogs currently in training directly with us or dogs that have qualified as assistance dogs through our training programme. We would also recommend that you DO NOT try and acquire a working dog jacket if your dog is not fully qualified by an organisation accredited to Assistance Dogs International.
What do you do with the dogs that don't 'make the grade'?
The majority of our dogs are placed as assistance or companion dogs with children/adolescents with autism. Very rarely we may have to release a dog from our training programme to be rehomed as a pet. These dogs typically are NOT suitable for households with children.
Do you provide assistance dogs for adults?
Autism assistance dogs are trained to provide safety for a child first and foremost. They are attached to the child via a belt and the dog is trained to respond to the parent handler. They are trained to benefit children with little sense of danger, who are prone to eloping and suffer reactive behaviours due to sensory stimulation whilst out and about. In keeping with European standards assistance dogs must perform task specific skills to be eligible for public right of way access, therefore dogs for emotional support only are not suitable for qualification as service dog animals. Therefore Autism assistance dogs are not suitable for placement with adults. We do, however, consider applications from adults for our companion dogs. You can learn more about the dogs we provide here.