To get a dog, send us an e-mail or call!
OK, it's not that easy, but it is the first step you can make to receive an assistance dog. The By-Laws of Helping Paws explain in length what the client needs to do so please read the excerpt here (not available in English). In any case, do not hesitate!
In practice this meand that after you call us we will send you an initial form called "Application". You fill it out and send it to us, we check it out and put you on the waiting list appropriate to the type of dog requested. After that, you will be asked to fill out another form called "Entry form", which is much more in depth and will provide us with the basic information we need to know to organize our training program, it will also tell us something about the extent of your disability and your lifestyle.
Later on, we will arrange a meeting with our trainers and staff, during which you will get a chance to talk to a psychologist, who will prepare you and your family for the changes the assistance dog will bring to your life. Session with another specialist - a physiotherapist - will help us determine which activities you can handle yourself, which you can use an assisting device for and which will be the tasks of your assistance dog.
Then there is the long period of waiting. You will receive periodic information so that you know we didn't forget about you, but until all people signed up ahead of you receive their dogs, there is nothing to do but wait. Once your number is up, you will strart working directly with our trainers. They will try to "tailor make" the dog for you in accordance with your specific needs. And finally, you will get a chance to meet the dogs - candidates and see which one "feels" the best for you.
From then on, the dog will be trained jsut for you and your needs. The hardest part for you is at the end of the training - the "boot camp". You will need to spend about one week away from home in the Exodus Center in Tremosna near Pilsen, where you will learn how to work with your new dog. Under the daily assitance of trainers, you will need to gain respect and control over your dog as well as all the commands you will be giving. Then our trainer will come to your home to train both you and the dog a site specific commands and help you both adjust. Before finishing, you and your dog will be tested in accordance with international rules so that we can be sure we can "send you out there on your own".
In the following weeks or months, you will stay in touch with the trainers over the phone as well as in the form of written reports. They will do their best to finish up the details that way. By then you are definitely "a team" and therefore it's time to celebrate. Your family, friends, our volunteers, trainers, sponsors and the media will get together for a ceremony we call "Graduation". You will receive your certificate, ID card and perhaps some pictures and gifts as well.
That's not the end of your responsibilities though. We will want to know how you and your dog are doing and will require you to write us periodic reports. We also reserve the right to visit you to see how well you are taking care of the dog. Periodically we will invite you for "refreshing" sessions to make sure your dog didn't forget commands that are not used as often - especially those related to emergency situations. But these duties are very pleasant ones because by then, you will be a part of our extended Paws family.
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