Our Services

Assistance Dogs

PAALS currently trains and provides five different categories of assistance dogs. These dog categories are not mutually exclusive. For example, a veteran may have PTSD as well as mobility issues. Once matched with a specific client, each dog is specifically trained for the needs of that client.

Some categories of dogs have public access while others do not as noted in the description for each type of dog.

Assistance Dog for Mobility

An assistance dog for a person who has mobility problems 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, carrying items in a backpack, tugging open doors, alerting for help, pulling someone using a manual wheelchair up ramps or short distances, etc.

These dogs have full public access rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you are interested in applying for a this type of assistance dog, you can start the process by completing and submitting an application.

Fred is a gift of Hope, Independence and LAUGHTER!!!Becky with Mobility Dog Fred

Assistance Dog for Autism

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.

If you are interested in applying for a this type of assistance dog, you can start the process by completing and submitting an application.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” I would have to say that Aubrey, Smith’s autism service dog feels the same way towards her buddy.Erin, Team Facilitator, for Smith and Autism Dog Aubrey

Assistance Dog for PTSD

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.

If you are interested in applying for a this type of assistance dog, you can start the process by completing and submitting an application.

Dutch is the change the world wants to see in me.Brad with PTSD Dog Dutch

Facility Dog

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.

If you are interested in applying for a this type of assistance dog, you can start the process by completing and submitting an application.

Home Skilled Companion Dog

A home skilled 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.

If you are interested in applying for a this type of assistance dog, you can start the process by completing and submitting an application.

Career Change Dogs

At PAALS we believe that every dog should love their job! This means that not all the dogs who start in our training program will go on to become service dogs. Some of our trainees are disqualified for service work due to a medical condition or a temperament incompatible with the strict standards for public work.

A puppy may change career paths for many different reasons.

  • Hip and elbows X-rays show that the dog may not be strong enough for a working role
  • Temperament problems demonstrate that a dog is too shy, too aggressive or too protective
  • Skin allergies develop which can be too big a problem to be handled by a person with a disability
  • The dog has difficulties with the stress of the kennel or public work

While these dogs may not qualify for service work, they can still provide a well-trained companion as dog in our Veterans Important PAALS program, our Pets With a Purpose program or as a Public adoption dog.

Dogs put on this list are prioritized first as a Veteran’s Important PAALS dog, then a Pets With a Purpose dog and finally as a Public Adoption dog.

Veterans Important PAALS (VIP) Dog

The 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, they can qualify to receive one of the VIP dogs.

PAALS was placing  service dogs with soldiers and veterans with combat-related injuries, whether they aid with the mental, physical or combination of disabilities. While meeting local soldiers through our PAALS Patriot program and interviewing potential service dog applicants, PAALS realized the need for a different type of dog to serve therapeutically. This realization was the start of the VIP program.

PAALS believes in giving rescues a second chance while assessing their ability to become service dogs and does not want to put these rescue dogs back into shelters if they do not meet the strict physical and behavioral requirements of a service dog. Thus the VIP program is a win-win: Local veterans can obtain an obedience trained dog that has been trained by Prison PAALS inmates and assessed by PAALS trainers and a rescue dog is removed from a shelter.

VIP dogs do NOT have public access rights

The VIP program is free to veterans as it falls under the Rob’s Best Friend Fund.

Pets with a Purpose (PWAP) Dog

PAALS first tries to match 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.

Public Adoption Dog

Sometimes no suitable VIP or PWAP home can be found for one of our dogs. In that 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.