FAQ's - Applications

What does the acronym C.H.A.M.P. stand for?
Canine Helpers Allow More Possibilities! We sincerely believe this is true.

How long is the application process?
The application process takes 3-4 months.

As an applicant, what if I have questions not addressed on your website?
C.H.A.M.P., Inc. will contact applicants in a prompt manner. However, applicants are encouraged to call our Placement Director at our office with any questions at any time throughout the process. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs and to determine how we can best assist you.

What types of disabilities does C.H.A.M.P., Inc. serve?
C.H.A.M.P., Inc. serves people who have physical disabilities. People we have served to date with Public Access Service Dogs and Home Service Dogs (see C.H.A.M.P ion Placement Categories ) have had Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and spinal cord injuries, among other things. C.H.A.M.P., Inc. also places Home Therapy Dogs (see C.H.A.M.P ion Placement Categories ) with children who have disabilities. Our Home Therapy Dogs have been placed with children with Asperger's Syndrome, Down Syndrome, and other disabilities.
Please note this is NOT a complete list of the disabilities we serve. It is intended to give you an idea of the types of placements we have made to date. Please call our office if you have any questions.

Why is your area of service so small? Some organizations place dogs throughout a region or even nationwide.
C.H.A.M.P., Inc. is a small organization, yet provides our students and graduates with a very high level of pre-placement and post-placement support. In general, our service area is a 50 mile radius of St. Louis. Our education process involves numerous in-home visits with each person, starting immediately after we accept someone as a student and continuing up to placement of their service dog. For Public Access Dog placements, we spend many additional practice hours at locations frequented by our students - places like local malls, churches, grocery stores, and such. Our education process is worth every minute we and our students invest, but it is very time-consuming and thus severely limits our area of service.

What if I live outside your area of service?
If you are interested in a service dog but live outside the greater St. Louis, Missouri area, we recommend you visit the Assistance Dogs International (ADI) website to locate an ADI member agency that serves your needs.

Who is eligible to apply for a C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dog?
People with physical or developmental disabilities who can demonstrate that a C.H.A.M.P., Inc. dog would assist in daily living tasks and help the applicant maintain or increase independence, or enhance their quality of life, are qualified to apply. Also eligible are professionals working for organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with a facility dog.

How old do you need to be to receive a C.H.A.M.P. Inc. service dog?
Individuals applying for a public access service dog must be at least 18 years old with an established, stable home life. Safe and effective handling of a Public Access Service Dog, however, is a tremendous responsibility that we feel is not appropriate for children. Children must be at least 5 years old to be considered for an Assisted Home Therapy Dog or a Home Service Dog (see C.H.A.M.P ion Placement Categories ) from our organization. C.H.A.M.P., Inc. views each of its applicants on an individual basis.

I called your office, and was told that you were closed for new applications. What does this mean?
C.H.A.M.P., Inc. receives more requests for service dogs than we can fill in a reasonable length of time. We have chosen to limit the number of new applications accepted as a method of controlling the number of people we actively work with at any given time. If we are closed for applications at the time you call, we will give you a date at which we expect to reopen for applications. Please call back on or after that date.

Are applicants and graduates required to participate in fundraising or public relations activities?
No, they are NOT required. But it is very nice to have their attendance at events and gatherings if possible. We are a volunteer organization and our volunteers/staff are highly motivated by seeing the results of their hard work. In addition, we learn from every team we partner so ongoing communication is especially important to us as we improve our programs for future graduate teams.

How much does it cost to partner with a service dog?
The dog is free of charge. Applicants pay a $50 nonrefundable fee, which we will refund if we will not be able to serve you and you live on a fixed income. After that, all of our services, including our service dogs and any specialized equipment that may be required, are provided free-of-charge to qualified individuals. Those receiving service dogs are expected to provide routine care and feeding of their canine partner after placement, as well as purchase some necessary items like dog dishes, leashes, appropriate toys, a kennel, etc. Applicants must be financially able to take full responsibility for a dog. Maintaining a healthy, happy service dog is more costly than maintaining the normal household pet. Your service dog will need a very high quality food and should visit the veterinarian more frequently, as its ability to work depends on continued good health. In addition, you will need to consider the potential costs of professional grooming, if required. Service dogs must be clean and well-groomed at all times. Costs may run upwards of $1,000 per year.

Does an applicant need to have previously owned a pet dog in order to apply?
No. We have served several individuals who had never owned a dog previously.

Can I apply if I own other dogs or pets?
Possibly, as long as your other animals respect the service dog while it is working. No aggression, no resource guarding. C.H.A.M.P., Inc. will look at these situations on an individual basis.

My home does not have a fenced in yard. May I still apply?
Yes, but know that in general we require our applicants to have a fenced in yard. Our dogs need play, outdoor exercise and time to be a dog and a fenced in yard provides a safe option.

My facility would like to have a C.H.A.M.P. Inc. dog live on-site at the facility. Is this possible?
No, we require that our Facility Dogs reside with their facilitator. Could be a nurse, a therapist, administrator, in general, a staff person who works at the facility and is responsible for the dog’s welfare and who takes the dog home with them in the off hours.