Frequently Asked Questions

What breed of dogs will PwP train?

Paws with Purpose primarily works with Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Lab/Golden Crosses. The sire and dam of the puppies must have a calm, gentle and confident temperament. Labrador, Golden and Lab/Golden crosses are widely used and have the highest rate of success in the industry. They instinctively retrieve; a very important part of their daily work, and the public perceives these dogs to have a gentle, kind temperament, making acceptance with the public easier.

Why doesn't PwP use shelter dogs?

To have a successful program, selection of a dog is critical. An assistance dog candidate must have the right temperament, bone structure and health. Acquiring dogs through a shelter is both labor intensive and time consuming.

A well-known service organization that has been training dogs since 1979 (Paws with a Cause – Michigan) states:

"We test over 1000 dogs annually and only an average of 6% can pass the preliminary temperament test. The ones that we take are then put through another, more comprehensive test at our training center, along with a complete medical exam. 3 out of 4 puppies that we breed have successfully completed training over the past 5 years. In the first 10 months of our fiscal year 2001-2002, we tested 1,081 dogs at shelters and have only taken 56. Of that number 5 have been trained and placed."

Read more on this topic on the Susquenhanna Service Dogs blog where this very question is discussed.

The dogs most likely to pass our rigid standards are also likely the first to be adopted from the shelters. As a relatively small, primarily volunteer organization, Paws with Purpose feels procuring dogs from shelters is neither time nor cost-effective. Our mission is to place quality assistance dogs with people with disabilities. Time and money spent searching for the right shelter dog can more effectively be spent training dogs that have a higher percentage rate of success. Our program does ensure that before finding either a full time placement or a full time loving home, each dog is spayed or neutered, and EVERY dog in our program either goes on to a full time placement or a loving home.

Can Paws with Purpose train my dog?

At this time, we are dedicated to working with the dogs we procure to place as assistance dogs and do not train privately owned dogs.

What does it cost to receive a PwP assistance dog?

An applicant for an assistance dog will pay a $25 fee for the processing of the initial application. There will be no charge for the dog. Individual participants in our program will not be responsible for any of the substantial costs involved in the lengthy process of acquiring, raising and training each PwP puppy.

Who is eligible to apply for a Paws with Purpose assistance dog?

People with physical or developmental disabilities who can demonstrate that a PwP assistance dog will enhance their independence or their quality of life are qualified to apply.

Please note we do not train assistance dogs for the following:

  • Diabetes detection
  • Seizure alert
  • Hearing Dogs – for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Guide Dogs – for the blind and visually impaired
  • Alert to dangerous situations/provide safety
  • Protection work
  • Alerting handler to take medication
How long is the wait for a Paws with Purpose assistance dog?

PwP's priority is for children (8 and above) and adults with physical disabilities and mobility issues. Applications for other needs are reviewed and considered on a case by case basis.

Applications are reviewed and evaluated as they are received. However, since PwP strives to make the best match between dog and recipient, time frames will vary. As it takes 2 years to fully train an assistance dog, applicants can wait, as an estimate, between 3 and 4 years.

How is Paws with Purpose funded?

PwP is funded by private contributions, gifts from businesses, civic groups and service clubs, grants from corporations and foundations, and ongoing fundraising activities such as special events and mailings.