Contact Us + FAQ

Contacting Us With A Question?  You May Find Your Answer Here:

YES, we DO train dogs to assist with:
Hearing Dogs: Deafness, hard of hearing, hearing impairment
Service Dogs:  Loss of use of legs and/or arms, e.g., Paraplegia, quadriplegia, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Spina Bifida, stroke, etc.

NO, we do NOT train dogs to assist with:
Children (younger than 18)
Autism
Alzheimer’s
Cognitive challenges
Diabetes
Emotional Assistance
Protection / Guarding
PTSD only
Seizures
Visual impairment / blindness

No, we do NOT train:
Non-Texas residents
A dog you already own

Other Things People Ask A Lot

Will you train a dog I already have?  I have a great dog at home.  

No.

Service Dogs, Inc. only trains dogs we rescue from shelters, which is part of our mission.

If you are looking for a trainer for an existing dog you own, these websites may offer resources:

Can I donate a dog to Service Dogs, Inc.?

No.  We do not accept donated dogs or puppies – our mission is rescuing dogs from shelters.

If you are looking for a home for your dog, please search on the web for a rescue group near your location.  Many of these groups will help publicize your dog on their website.  There are groups for many breeds as well as groups that work with any breed or mix.  See Finding a Home for Your Dog for more ideas.

Who can apply for a dog from Service Dogs, Inc.?

To receive a dog through Service Dogs, Inc. you must:

  • Have a medically diagnosed hearing or mobility impairment
  • Live in Texas
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a stable, independent living arrangement or home life
  • Deal personally and directly with Service Dogs, Inc..  (An applicant may get assistance, but family members or other support people may NOT be the primary contact.)
  • Not have another dog in the home.  Cats and other species of pets are okay.

How much does it cost?

SDI provides each dog free of charge.

We have to raise $20,000 in donations to pay for each recipient and dog’s training. We welcome donations from applicants and appreciate any fund raising efforts, but these are not required.

The charges applicants must cover are:

  • Application Fee:  $25, non refundable
  • Travel Expenses:
    • Transportation to and from our training campus in Dripping Springs, Texas (near Austin)
    • Meals and lodging during Applicant Orientation Day (1 day) and Matching (1 day)
  • Team Training – 5 days (Mon – Fri)
  • Expenses for the Hearing or Service Dog Living With You:
    • Approximately $1,200 annually for premium dog food, veterinary needs, training supplies and other needs. This is the same as the cost of a pet dog in your home. See What’s Required of Assistance Dog Partners for more information.

What are Service Dogs, Inc. dogs trained to do?

Hearing Dogs

  • Alert their deaf partners by touch to get their attention and then lead them to a variety of important everyday sounds, including the doorbell or door knock, smoke alarm, alarm clock, oven timer, microwave oven, phone ringing, someone calling your name and baby’s cry
  • We teach them to respond to spoken cues and also hand gestures

Service Dogs assist mobility challenged individuals by:

  • Opening/closing doors, drawers, cabinets and refrigerators
  • Retrieving dropped items or out of reach wheelchairs
  • Turning lights on and off
  • Getting help
  • Moving paralyzed limbs
  • Customized tasks such as assistance with clothing and specialized equipment
  • May pull a lightweight wheelchair

I need a different type of assistance.  Does Service Dogs, Inc. train other types of Assistance Dogs?

No.

Service Dogs, Inc. trains dogs to assist people with a severe loss of hearing or mobility.

We do not train or place dogs for:

  • Children under 18 years old
  • Medical alert (seizures, diabetes, medical symptoms, etc.)
  • Soley PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) needs
  • Emotional support
  • Social support (panic attacks, emotional comfort, undesirable human behavior, etc.)
  • Guide or work for people with a severe loss of vision
  • Balance assistance
  • Supervision or safety
  • Personal protection

To find other organizations that may provide these services, visit Assistance Dogs International at www.assistancedogsinternational.org

How long is the application process?

The application process takes 3-6 months.  If your application is accepted, you go on our waiting list which is usually 10-24 months.

I completed the online application request form, but haven’t been contacted. Why?

We do our best to reply to all application requests within 7 days.  At that time we will either send you additional forms to complete or notify you SDI cannot meet your needs.  If you have any concerns, please contact the application coordinator at our training facility at 512-858-1495.

How long is the wait list?

The wait is usually about a year and can vary considerably.   The wait time depends on:

  • The number of people on the waiting list
  • Your specific needs
  • Our success in finding a dog that meets your needs and suits your living environment

What kind of dogs does Service Dogs, Inc. use?

We adopt all of the dogs in our program from animal shelters.  We adopt young adult dogs with a temperament suited to this type of work which includes both mixed breed and pure breed dogs.

Hearing Dogs are typically small to medium dogs (30-50 pounds).  Service Dogs are generally larger (50-75 pounds).

When will I know if I’m close to getting a dog?

After you submit all the requested documents and your $25 application fee, we will invite you to Applicant Orientation Day.  After that, we will notify you in writing about whether you have been accepted into the training program.

When we have one or more dogs that we think might work well with you we will invite you to Matching. At Matching, we will introduce you to the dog or dogs we have in mind.  If we decide on a dog at that time, we will notify you.

Once you are matched to a dog, we will give you a Team Training Week date.  Shortly after Team Training your new partner will move in with you.

How old are the dogs when they are matched?

Service Dogs, Inc. dogs are usually 1-2 years old when adopted. As the training to be an Assistance Dog takes nearly a year, they are usually 2-3 years old when matched with their partner.

I have a dog now.  Can I keep him when I get a dog from SDI?

No.

This is sometimes a hard choice for applicants, but the Assistance Dog must be the only dog in the home.  That is so its focus will be on helping its partner, not being distracted by another dog.  One positive aspect of the waiting list is applicants have plenty of time to find a relative or friend who can provide a good home for their current pet.

I have other pets.  May I keep them?

Other pets are usually not a problem, though cats may affect how quickly we can match you with a partner, as many dogs react to cats.  Remember you will be responsible for keeping both your other pets and your Hearing or Service Dog safe and healthy, which may mean keeping them separated.

Do I have to have a fenced yard?

Yes, if you live in a house.  You will still need to take the dog outdoors for exercise and toileting. We do not allow recipients to leave their Hearing or Service Dogs in the backyard unattended.

If you live in an apartment, you will need to take your dog outdoors multiple times daily for exercise and toileting.  You must also arrange to clean up after your dog or we will not place a dog with you.

I’d like to help pay for my Assistance Dog.  What can I do?

Service Dogs, Inc. welcomes donations though they are not required in order to receive a dog.  All donations are tax deductible.

Our tax ID. number is 76-0260567
You may donate online on this website, or, make a check out to Service Dogs, Inc. and mail it to:

Service Dogs, Inc.
4925 Bell Springs Rd.
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Other ways to help raise donations:

  • Social media requests via Facebook or email.
  • Matching donations through your employer
  • Donations as birthday gifts
  • Donations as Holiday/Christmas gifts
  • Donations as wedding gifts
  • Memorial gifts for people or pets who have passed
  • Graduation gifts when you get your dog
  • Garage sales
  • Church group donations
  • Club or community group donations
  • Promoting Service Dogs, Inc. to friends and family for charitable donations

If I raise money, will I get a dog sooner?

No.  We greatly appreciate donations, but we do not prioritize matching on fundraising.  Finding the best dog for you and training it to your needs is what affects how long it takes to get a dog.

What if I have a complaint or concern?

Please address your concern directly with the Applicant Coordinator or a Service Dogs, Inc. staff member. If you need further help, you can contact any of our executive team listed on theContact Us” or the “Board of Directors” pages.

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