types of trained dogs

assistance dogs

Dogs for Mobility

Full Public Access

An Assistance Dog for Mobility can assist an individual who may use a wheelchair, cane or walker or have an unsteady gait. The dog may perform tasks such as picking up dropped items, retrieving items off counters, turning light switches on and off, opening and closing doors, alerting for help, etc. These dogs have full public access rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Dogs for Autism

Full Public Access

An assistance dog for a person with autism can be trained to assist those with autism to better cope with public situations. These dogs are taught to apply deep pressure relief and comfort by pressing on a leg or lying on a person’s lap. They may also be used to encourage a person with autism to stay with their family member in public by providing a handle or leash for the person to hold and aid with increasing social and life skills. These dogs have full public access rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Dogs for PTSD

Full Public Access

An assistance dog for a person with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is taught behaviors that help people with PTSD to better cope with fear and anxiety. These dogs can provide a physical barrier between their partner and the public, provide stress reducing pressure on trained body points and provide a social bridge as a point of conversation. These dogs have full public access rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Dogs for Facilities
Non-Public Access

A facility dog helps professionals who work with people with disabilities: The professional may work in education, counseling, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, ministry, etc. These dogs may serve as innovative teaching tools, motivation, therapy catalysts, rewards for achieving goals, and unconditional love.
These dogs do NOT have public access rights.

Dogs for Skilled Home Companion
Non-Public Access

A skilled home companion dog is trained to help in home settings only. The dog may assist with in-home tasks similar to mobility or autism dogs (as listed above) such as assisting a person with autism or with intellectual disabilities in the home setting to foster bonding relationships and assist with therapies and life skills development.

These dogs do NOT have public access rights.

CHANGE of Career (COC) dogs


Veterans - Veteran Important PAALS
Non-Public Access

The Veterans Important PAALS (VIP) program converts rescue dogs and dogs that did not graduate from PAALS’ service dog training program into companions for veterans. If a soldier returning from war is unable to care for a service dog, or is not in need of an assistance dog to be with them constantly, you can qualify to receive one of the VIP dogs. 

These dogs do NOT have public access rights.

Pets with a Purpose (PWAP)
Non- Public Access

PAALS first tries to match Pets with a Purpose (PWAP) dogs with families that have a family member with a disability who can benefit from a safe companion. Families with a child or adult with a disability often can benefit from one of these highly trained dogs for the purpose of companionship. Although the dog is not permitted to wear a cape for service, they still serve as a loving family pet. 

These dogs do NOT have public access rights.

General Adoption
Non- Public Access

Sometimes no suitable VIP or PWAP home can be found for one of our dogs. In that rare case we make the dog available for a public adoption. PAALS has a waiting list for people who would like to adopt a career change dog in exchange for a donation to help offset the cost of the dog’s training, veterinary care, etc.

If you are interested in applying for a Public Adoption dog, please download and complete the application. Once your application is received, we will contact you about the Public Adoption program.

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221 N. Grampian Hills Road / Columbia, SC 29223  /  803-788-7063