Thank you for your interest in applying for a Smart Pups Assistance Dog to help your child with special needs. The process can be an emotional undertaking and can also be a little unnerving, as you will need to provide personal and sensitive details about the unique circumstances of your child and family. Please be assured we only ask for information we need to properly assess your eligibility for a Smart Pup Assistance Dog and objectively determine how, and if, a Smart Pup could help.
Before applying for a Smart Pup Assistance Dog, please be aware that we do not charge for our dogs but we do ask you to either donate or fundraise to help with the costs of training your assistance dog.
We ask for a minimum donation of $20,000. Each certified Smart Pup Assistance Dog costs around $30,000 to raise and train. Smart Pups will work to fundraise $10,000 for you.
Smart Pups requires written confirmation from your doctor detailing your child’s diagnosis. We also ask for a professional opinion as to how an assistance dog would assist your child on a daily basis and the likely immediate and long-term benefits for the child and the family as a whole. Your Smart Pup will be individually trained to master skills to help enhance quality of life and improve the level of independence for your special needs child. Your Smart Pup will also be certified for Full Public Access with your agreement to be the ‘Handler’ of a Three-Unit-Team, which includes the Smart Pup, the Child and a Handler.
As the Handler, you [or a person/s nominated in your household] must be prepared to dedicate time each day to work with the dog to maintain its health and wellbeing. All dogs must be walked and exercised daily for at least 30 to 40 minutes; your Smart Pup will require the same commitment. One of our trainers will show you what to do and how to work with your Smart Pup when the dog is ready to be placed with your family.
If your application is successful, your application has demonstrated to the Smart Pups Selection Committee that you:
- are able to provide your Smart Pup with a safe, secure and loving home with a healthy balance of work and play time.
- are committed to reliably maintaining the quality of training throughout your Smart Pup’s working life.
- agree to look after the long-term health and wellbeing of your Smart Pup.
- are physically and financially able to provide your Smart Pup with regular exercise and healthy food and attend to veterinarian needs in a timely manner.