Helping Paws dogs are not trained for the primary benefit of emotional comfort or social support. Nor are they trained to:
- Assist with the management of mental illness as a primary condition.
- Recognize and/or manage undesirable human behavior.
- Anticipate or detect medical symptoms.
- Provide supervision, navigation, or safety from environmental hazards.
- Respond aggressively.
- Provide personal protection.
- A minimum of 10 years of age with a physical disability other than loss of vision or loss of hearing.
- Financially able to take full responsibility for a dog, including, but not limited to, dog food and veterinary care. Costs such as annual vaccinations, additional veterinary needs, dog food and dog toys may run upwards of $1,000 per year.
- Able to physically take full responsibility for a dog, or have someone designated and able to address this responsibility.
- Able to demonstrate through the application process that a service dog would assist in daily living tasks and help the applicant maintain or increase independence.
- Able to attend the three-week Team Training course held at the Helping Paws training center.
- Willing to participate in follow-up training.
- A stable home environment is required (no major changes) during the first year following placement of a service dog.
- Yearly follow-up interviews will be required with the Helping Paws Graduate Follow-up staff.
- There is a $50 non-refundable application fee and a $300 equipment fee due at the time of Team Training.
- Applicants and graduates are not required to participate in fundraising or public relations activities in support of Helping Paws.
- Generally geographic placement of Helping Paws service dogs is limited to Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
To start the application process, an applicant must submit a written request to the Helping Paws office. In this request, the applicant should briefly describe how a Service Dog would assist him or her in activities of daily living. Mail request to: Application Department, Helping Paws Inc, PO Box 634, Hopkins, MN 55343. Or email request to