Frequently Asked Questions

Does it cost anything to get an assistance dog?
Support Dogs does not charge for an assistance dog. There is a $100 application fee, plus an equipment fee of approximately $400-$900, depending on equipment needed. This is due when the client receives the dog.

Where does Support Dogs get the dogs used in the assistance dog program?
Support Dogs has its own breeding program, as well as relationships with specific breeders who help supply the dogs. As these are working dogs, Support Dogs requires the medical history and substantial medical clearances on each canine to ensure they are appropriate for the program and able to handle the tasks for which they are trained.

Does Support Dogs take donated dogs to use as assistance dogs?
Support Dogs does take donated dogs with proper health clearances, medical history, and the dog must pass a temperament evaluation to ensure it is appropriate for the program.

What are the age requirements to get an assistance dog?
To qualify for a Service Dog, applicants must be a minimum of six-years-of-age and the certification would be with the child, along with a parent. All Hearing Dog clients and Psychiatric Service Dog clients must be 18-years-of-age.

Does Support Dogs provide seizure alert or diabetic dogs?
No. The dogs trained by Support Dogs are to help the physically disabled, as well as those who are Deaf or hard of hearing and those military veterans with PTSD. Support Dogs does not place any type of medical alert or medical response dog.

My dog is already trained. Can Support Dogs certify my dog as an assistance dog?
No. Support Dogs will only certify dogs that have been trained through the organization.

What breeds of dogs are used?
We use Labrador retrievers and Golden retrievers because of their size, their instinct to retrieve, and their willingness to please people. These dogs enjoy the work that they do and that is key in the successful completion of training and placement of the assistance dog.

Does Support Dogs place assistance dogs outside of the St. Louis area?
Yes. Support Dogs serves clients nationwide. For those clients out of the area, they are responsible for all costs associated with travel, lodging, and meals during the Team Training and placement process.

How long is the wait for an assistance dog?
There is no definite wait time. Support Dogs recommends the sooner the potential client can return the application packet with all supporting materials, the faster the approval and placement processes will move.

What happens to the assistance dogs in training that do not make the program?
Support Dogs adopts these dogs out as pets. Adopting families are made aware of the conditions for which the dog was release prior to adoption.  Please contact the office if you are interested in learning more or receiving an application.