Is there a fee for getting a service dog from Pawsitivity?


Short answer: Yes, unless you are a veteran (we currently have a 100% veteran scholarship available).

Long answer: For any organization, the approximate amount spent on rescuing, socializing, training, and placing, and then providing a decade of support for a service dog throughout its life is $39,000 [1]. This amount is approximately the same for ALL service dog organizations. Some organizations do all the fundraising (but have long wait lists). At Pawsitivity, we raise half, and we ask that your responsibility is to the other half of the costs, which is $19,500. As one of our board members once said, “Half the fee, seems fair to me.”

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 does all the fundraising, that means that their waiting list is many years long. 

Are service dogs tax-deductible? Yes--the fee for a service dog is a tax-deductible medical expense.

How the process of getting a service dog goes:

1 - Pawsitivity works with rescues and shelters across the country to find that "1-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 us (or you) train your current pet dog.

2 - 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.

3 - When we find who we believe might be a good fit for the dog we're working with, 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 handler's fee is the other half.

4 - Even after graduation, we are available for questions and advice.

[1] Coutts, Jason. "Cost of Canine Programs Across the United States." Syracuse, New York: American Society of Canine Trainers, 2012: 24.