Can Do Canines announces that there is currently less waiting time than normal for clients who need one of the following types of assistance dogs:
- Mobility Assist Dog,
- Hearing Assist Dog,
- Diabetes Assist Dog, and
- Seizure Assist Dog.
Each of these types of dogs, along with Autism Assist Dogs, are provided free of charge to accepted applicants. Interested applicants must meet the following criteria to be considered for a Can Do Canine assistance dog:
- Must be a resident of Minnesota or Wisconsin
- Must be physically and financially able to take full responsibility for the dog after certification
- Must be at least 10 years old for a Mobility Assist Dog or at least 18 years old for a Hearing, Diabetes or Seizure Assist Dog
- Must not have an additional dog in the home, if applying for a Hearing, Diabetes or Seizure Assist Dog
- Must meet other physical-need criteria related to the type of dog needed (detailed on the Can Do Canines website, candocanines.org)
Of the five types of assistance dogs Can Do Canines trains, Autism Assist Dogs (provided to children, ages 4-12) consistently have the longest waiting list. Executive Director Jeff Johnson explains that it is difficult to control the different waiting lists, because Can Do Canines intentionally allows the dogs to choose their own career type, if any. Approximately 30% of dogs who begin in the program do not end up being placed with a client. Many of the dogs are “career changed” to become a family pet instead, due to identified allergies or other health concerns. For other dogs, the life of an assistance dog is just not their calling. Johnson states, “We want our dogs to love what they do.” If Can Do Canines trainers sense that is not the case for a dog, it will not be placed with a client. “Our mission statement talks of a mutually beneficial partnership between a person and a dog,” says Johnson. “And so while this is really important that we know what can help our client, it’s also really important to us that this enhances the dog’s life.”
The Can Do Canines training staff performs certain assessments with each dog to see what its true passion is. A hearing dog, for example, is often one that is extremely alert and eager, as it is working 24/7. These dogs must be able to jump right into action at 3 a.m. if the smoke alarm goes off, for instance. Can Do Canines Autism Assist Dogs are often described as being “bomb-proof,” because they cannot be alarmed by possible screaming, tugging on their harness, etc. while being around their child. Diabetes Assist Dogs are often those that are so loyal that they always want to be near their person–something that is critical for keeping an eye…or in this case, a nose, “on” their handler. These are just a few examples, but Can Do Canines takes pride in not only allowing dogs to have their own say in what they grow up to be, but also in customizing each dog for its particular client’s needs.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, all Can Do Canines assistance dogs are provided at no cost to clients.
To apply for an assistance dog, visit our Assistance Dogs page.