If you are interested in an application, please complete the form below and we will review your information. If we determine you might be a good candidate for one of our Assistance Dogs, we will email you an application.
Please list your name and contact information including phone number in case we have a question. What type of dog you are in need of, the age of the individual, and what type of tasks you are looking for the dog to do for you and include where you are located? If you have previously requested an application prior to February 2022. We are now emailing those out, please keep an eye out over the next few weeks. Receiving an application does not guarantee placement of a Service Dog in our program.
Here are some common questions pertaining not only to our program, but also Service Dogs in general.
Q. How has COVID affected New Hope?
A. We would like to thank you for your patience during this time as we were forced to reduce staff, volunteers and consequently our clientele and dogs. We are experiencing a significant increase in applications and a decrease in our normal availability of dogs. Due to this reduction in available dogs, please consider your need before applying for a dog. We carefully strive to place dogs with needy recipients who will reap the greatest benefit from an Assistance Dog. If you have additional questions that are not answered here, we ask that you be patient during this time and allow us time to respond.
Q: What are the different types of dogs that you offer?
A: Full Service, Companion, Seizure Response, Diabetic, PTSD, TBI, Autism, Balance, Medical Alert, Narcolepsy, Hearing, and Facility/Therapy Dogs (school, hospital, treatment facility, etc.) are some but not all of the types of dogs that we offer.
Q: What is the difference between an Assistance and Service Dog?
A: An Assistance dog is a generic term for Guide, Hearing or Service Dog specifically trained to do more than one task to mitigate an individual’s disability. Therefore, all Service Dogs are a type of Assistance Dog.
Q: How can I identify a Service or Assistance Dog in Public?
A: Most Service or Assistance Dogs can be identified by a backpack, jacket, scarf or harness, but not all Assistance Dogs are wearing identifying equipment. You should always ask an individual if you are allowed to approach or pet an Assistance or Service Dog prior to doing so. Most individuals prefer that their working dogs are not touched while working.
Q: Do you train dogs for children as well as adults?
A: Yes, we specialize in placing dogs with young children, many with complex multiple special needs.
Q: What type of dogs make the best Assistance or Companion Dogs?
A: Generally Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles and Golden or Labradoodles. The crosses of the two breeds have the characteristics that make for a good Assistance Dog. For our Military family, we also offer German & Dutch Shepherds for some placements. However, there are many other breeds that have proven successful when trained as Assistance Dogs and occasionally we will have another breed that is available. We also accept both puppy and adult donations in accordance with our training program. Occasionally other breeds from rescues are available.
Q: How old are your dogs when placed into a home as a Service Dog?
A: Approximately two years of age.
Q: How long does it take to train an Assistance Dog?
A: There is no set time, as each dog is customized to the individual needs of the recipient. We strive to place most dogs by the age of two. Each dog generally completes it socialization and undergoes specific training (obedience, task work, etc.) before being matched with the future owner. Once we match the dog with the recipient, the custom training is then added to the Assistance Dog.
Q: What types of tasks are your dogs trained to do?
A: A Full-Service Dog is trained in up to as many as 95 commands. This includes retrieving and delivering dropped items. They can push buttons, turn lights off and on, help to alert you of a doorbell, provide balance, and even help with emotional support. They can also be taught to bark to indicate when help is needed, go and find a person and lead the person to the handler. There are many other tasks that may be needed by a person with a disability. We customize the training of your Service Dog to perform the tasks that are needed by you.
Q: Why shouldn't a Companion or Assistance Dog be protective?
A: Assistance Dogs are to help make an individual more independent, not protect them. Assistance Dogs are taken into public with a disabled individual, many of whom are not able to physically restrain their dogs. Therefore, their dog must be safe for the public. Many dogs, especially working breeds, naturally sense their owner's disability and their vulnerabilities. These dogs generally learn on their own to protect at inappropriate times. This may be compounded by individuals who don't recognize that they are unconsciously encouraging this behavior.
Q: Do you train dogs for Veterans with PTSD, TBI, and other related military injuries? Click here for our Veterans page.
A: Yes, we offer dogs to Vets, with commands that help with hyper vigilance, panic issues, flash backs, TBI and other PTSD issues. Our dogs can even help with emotional support and the daily issues connecting back with society after returning from combat. Our 4-pawed friends become their best buddy and are always there for them.
Q. Is there an application fee?
A. Yes, there is a non-refundable $50 Application fee. Applications that are not complete or have any missing documents will be put on hold, at which time you will have 30 days to get the information to us before you must reapply. If you must send additional documentation, please allow extra time for processing your application.
Q: How long does it take to receive an answer from New Hope once your application is sent in?
A: Our response time is usually within 10-12 weeks; in some instances, if more documentation is needed, it may take more time. This allows us to review your application, obtain documentation from therapist and doctors. If after reviewing this information we believe one of our dogs could be a good fit for your needs, we will reach out to discuss setting up a Zoom video conference. After the video conference, if we still feel you could be a good fit, we will email you the next set of paperwork to start filling out. Once we receive the 2nd set of paperwork back, please allow four to six weeks to review. If you are chosen for our program, we will provide you with a potential plan and time frame needed to complete a dog. Once you look over the plan and accept the agreement you will need to make a $5000 deposit to confirm your spot. If you have not already done so, at this time you would need to start your grant applications and fundraising efforts.
Q. What is the portion of the fundraising that I would be responsible for?
A. It cost New Hope on average about $32,000 to raise and train a full-Service Dog for an individual. The portion that you would be required to pay would be $17,000 (this includes the deposit stated above). The remained would be raised through our own fundraising efforts. All funds need to be paid prior to scheduling Team Training and the release of your Assistance Dog.
Q. I am a 100% disabled Veteran, what is the portion of fundraising that I am responsible for?
A. Veterans qualified through our program, generally receive their dog FREE of charge.
Q: How long is the wait time to receive a dog?
A: Companion dog wait time is normally six months. Service Dog wait times are the longest they are normally between six to twelve months or more. Your waiting time is determined by the specialized training that goes into your dog. Of course, these times could be less or more depending on the availability of dogs that we currently have on hand and the type of training that is needed.
Q: Do you offer Seizures or Diabetic Alert Dogs?
A: No, we offer Seizure or Diabetic Response Dogs. They are trained to provide comfort and/or a sense of safety to a person who is experiencing or has just experienced a seizure. We then work with you, while you're bonding with your dog to potentially alert on these items. We work towards hopefully obtaining a few minutes alert on Seizure, Diabetic, Narcolepsy, and PTSD.
Q. Are you able to train my puppy or dog that I already own?
A. No, we are not able to keep your puppy or dog and train it for you. We are offering a Self-train Service Dog Course. You would work with our trainers at our local facility to learn to train your dog or puppy to become a Companion/Therapy/Emotional Support or Full-Service Dog. Full details to be released in March 2022.
Q: Where can I learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
A: The American with Disabilities website can be found at this link: http//:www.ada.gov
Q: What is Team Training and how long does it take? Click here for our page on What to Expect at Team Training.
A: Once your Service Dog is ready for you, we have you come to our facility to obtain the training needed for you to work with your service dog. This is called Team Training because you and your Assistance Dog are now a team, working together to assist in your daily living. This training period is different for each recipient and their new Companion or Service Dog. Time for Team Training is approximately a total of 14 days. You should expect to work with our trainers for approximately 6 to 8+ hours per day while at our facility. These times vary due to the recipient’s disabilities and the extent of the training that has been taught to the dog. Of course, please keep in mind, the more extensive training the dog has, the more time that will be needed to work with the recipient.
Q: Where will I stay during my training session/s?
A: There is a Hampton Inn & Days Inn within a 15-minute drive of our facility. Both offer a business rate to our clients based on availability. Please click on each hotel for the direct link to that hotel. They may also offer a lower seasonal, AAA, or AARP rate if applicable to you.
Q: Does New Hope provide food, meals or cooking services during team training or a training session?
A: No, we do not provide food or meals during the training session. We do offer an accessible kitchen facility where clients can prepare their own meals using food, they bring with them or purchase at a nearby grocery store. The semi-equipped kitchen does offer pots, pans, plates, silverware, oven, microwave and fridge. There are a variety of sit down and fast-food restaurants within a 15-minute drive if you prefer to eat out.
Q: Does New Hope provide any kind of assistance with travel expenses?
A: No, we do not assist with travel expenses, this is something you will be responsible for. If you visit Mapquest you can view a map of our location, and also get driving directions to our location. This will include the number of miles from your location to our facility, which will help you decide the best way to travel. We do have a local PA Welcome Center located just 1 mile from our facility if you would like information on things to do locally.
Q: I require assistance from a personal aide, do you provide personal aides, or do I need to arrange to provide my own aide?
A: No, we do not provide personal aides for our clients, so this is something that you would need to provide on your own along with any associated costs for your aide to travel with you.