Short answer: Yes...half of the cost.
Long answer: Luckily, there is a clear-cut answer for the cost, determined by a peer-reviewed study: For any organization, the approximate amount, adjusted for inflation, spent on rescuing, socializing, training, and placing, and then providing support for a Service Dog throughout its life is $39,000. Source: Coutts, Jason. "Cost of Canine Programs Across the United States." Syracuse, New York: American Society of Canine Trainers, 2012. This $39,000 cost is approximately the same for ALL Service Dog organizations.
Half of $39,000
- Some organizations do all the fundraising (but have long waiting lists).
- At Pawsitivity, we raise up to half, and your responsibility is the other half of the costs, which is $19,500.
If you do not have the resources, i.e. savings, for your half, we totally understand, and in that case, we highly recommend another organization which is ten times as large as us: Canine Companions for Independence. Their area code is 740 and their phone number is 833 - 3700. Note that while CCI pays for all the costs, that policy creates a waiting list that is many years long.
- Bonus question: Is a Service Dog tax-deductible? Yes--a Service Dog is a tax-deductible medical expense.
How the process goes:
- Pawsitivity partners with rescues and shelters across the country to find that "one-in-a-thousand" dog that tests as being appropriate for training. Check out our page on breeds to find out more about the difficulties of finding the right candidate dog for training. We find that our selecting and training the dog works better than having you (or us) train your current pet dog.
- Once we have spent a month or so evaluating the dog and confirming that his/her suitability for training, then we open up the application process for people to apply. You can sign up for updates to be notified when we open up for applications.
- We select who we believe might be a good fit for the dog we're working with, and then we contact that person for an interview. If everything works out, we the train the dog (and the person). We fundraise half the cost of training, and your fee is the other half.
- Even after graduation, we are available for questions and advice throughout the Service Dog’s life.