What to Expect When You Apply

Applicants:

If you meet eligibility requirements for a service dog, you may call our office at (314) 653-9466, and request an application. Our Placement Director can answer any questions you might have, and help you determine whether you might be a candidate for a CHAMP service or facility dog.

Complete and return the application, release forms (which allow us to contact a medical professional of your choice), and a check for $50. Once we receive your application and release forms, we will send a questionnaire to the medical professional you’ve identified, requesting additional information regarding your disability.

Our selection committee will meet periodically to discuss the applications we receive. If the selection committee believes we may be able to serve you, our Placement Director will schedule one or more in-home interviews. If you are applying for a Facility Dog, we will also visit your facility. After the in-person interviews, we will review all of the information we have gathered and you will be informed of our decision regarding whether we will accept you as a student.

If you are applying for a Facility Dog, the above information applies except personal medical information is not required.

Students:

CHAMP is a small service dog-provider organization, teaming about five dogs per year with their new partners. The average wait for a service dog once you have been accepted as a student, is about 18 months. The waiting time for a particular individual may be greater than or less than the average of 18 months. Typically, Public Access and Facility Dog candidates have the longest wait, as we need dogs with very specific temperaments for these placements.

We try very hard to match the right dog with the right partner for that dog - the place where the dog's skills and personality will enable it to be the most successful. A match considers such things as the size of the animal as it relates to the partner's needs, the types of skills required, and the energy level and personalities of both dog and human.

During the wait period, CHAMP volunteers and staff will meet with the student to start the education process. We’ll bring education and therapy dogs to visit the student, and cover topics like grooming, feeding, and let-outs, plus help the student select places in the home for the crate, feeding, etc. We also discuss any custom-trained skills the dog might need.

Once we’ve identified a potential match, training visits will increase in frequency until the student is well-prepared for the arrival of their dog. As the placement date nears, we switch from working with the education and therapy dogs to working with the actual dog the student will receive. Training visits will continue before and after placement until the team is working together smoothly.

Please understand that acceptance as a student does NOT guarantee you will receive a service or facility dog from CHAMP. Students must successfully complete the education process and demonstrate the willingness and ability to be a good partner for a service or facility dog.

Graduates:

After placement, CHAMP will continue to check in with the graduate team to ensure all is well. We are ALWAYS available to answer questions, to help the team with any issues that may arise, or to help add new skills the dog may need due to the graduate’s changing health. Active participation in post-placement contact, including phone calls, emails, and in-person visits, is a requirement of our graduate teams. We love our dogs, and we are here to help in any way we can.