What breed of dogs do you train?
We focus on Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers because these breeds have the best temperament to be successful working dogs. In addition, we use Doodles which are either of these breeds mixed with a poodle.
Where do you get your dogs?
For our first litter, we partnered with an already established service dog organization, Canine Assistants, in Atlanta GA. Since then, we have worked with breeders in NC, PA, and OH. We like to get our dogs as early in life as possible so we can begin their socialization training as soon as we can.
Do you train rescue dogs?
No. While we are huge proponents of rescuing dogs and have rescued dogs as our personal pets, we do not use them as our service dogs. We feel it is important to have access to the dog’s family history and health records to ensure that our recipients have strong, healthy dogs who will have a long life of service.
How long does it take for a dog to be trained?
Our dogs are ready for placement between 18 months and 2 years old. We begin socialization training at 8 weeks old exposing them to as much stimuli as possible. We ease them into obedience and service dog specific behaviors as they mature. Our overall training methods are further explained on our Philosophy page.
What is socialization training?
Socialization is the process of exposing the puppy to as many different experiences, sights and sounds as possible as early in life as possible. We ensure the puppies are not afraid of anything as they grow into adult service dogs. They are in public with a child for most of their lives and must be amazing.
Here is a link to an article written by the American Kennel Club detailing and describing what puppy socialization is and its importance.
Where do the dogs live before they are placed?
Our dogs spend their days learning and socializing with us at our training facility in Narberth. They are either out and about experiencing the sights and sounds of the world, or in the training room learning skills. They spend their nights and weekends in the homes of foster families where they learn to live in a home, go on adventures, and snuggle with loving people.
Can people pet your dogs in public?
Yes, as long as they ask first. We feel helping with tasks is not our dogs’ only role in the life of our recipients. They are also there to help with social interaction and we encourage that. Our dogs wear vests that say, “Ask to pet me” which encourages a conversation. It is important they practice this when they are in training and spending time with their foster families. Once the dogs are placed with their recipient, any opportunity for the children to talk about their amazing dogs and boast about the incredible things their friend can do is welcomed by us!
Do you place companion dogs as well?
Yes. Sometimes children are not looking for a dog to assist them in all aspects of their lives. They may want a dog to help them with tasks around the house and in public places where all dogs are allowed, but do not desire public access. These dogs play an important role in the development of a child and act as a fantastic companion and friend. The 2 form a team and a bond that is unparalleled.
Do you place facility dogs?
Yes. Facility dogs fill an interesting and important role often in hospitals or schools. Our facility dogs are placed with organizations or individuals who work with children in some capacity or another. Canine Assistants, a service dog organization in GA, has placed many facility dogs in hospitals. Check out this video to learn more about the amazing things their facility dogs do.
How old are your recipients?
We provide dogs to children who are 9 – 20 years old. We’ve found that children in this age range can handle the responsibility of both taking care of a dog and communicating effectively.
Do you place dogs with adults?
No. We focus on helping children only. There are many service dog organizations that help people of all ages and we encourage all applicants to look at and learn about as many as possible when thinking of bringing a service dog into their lives.
Where do your recipients live?
Currently, our recipients must live within a 1 hour driving distance of Philadelphia and the Main Line. This ensures we can offer any assistance the families may need easily and quickly.
What disabilities do your dogs help with?
Paws and Affection dogs help children who use wheelchairs, crutches, walkers or children with balance and/or mobility difficulties due to conditions such as muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, osteosarcoma, or an injury resulting in a permanent mobility disability. In 2017, we are planning to branch out into diabetic alert dogs as well as psychiatric assistance dogs.
How do I get one of your dogs?
The first step is to review the criteria and eligibility requirements listed on our application process tab. Once you have read these and you meet them, contact us for the full application. Once your complete application is received, the P&A team will review it and contact you.
Where does the money come from to fund Paws and Affection?
At this time, all our funds come from private donations and foundations.
Do the recipients pay for their dog?
They do not pay for the dog, but they do pay a placement fee to cover supplies, training camp costs, and follow up training. We feel there needs to be both a financial and emotional commitment to taking on a service dog.
How much do you charge?
The total cost to acquire, train and place one of our dogs from birth is $20,000. Paws and Affection covers this cost through our own fundraising efforts. We charge a $5,000 placement fee to the recipient for a Paws and Affection dog. This fee is not a donation and does not give ownership of the dog to the recipient. This fee covers supplies, training received for placement, on-going training, and continued communication between the recipient and our training staff.
Why do you charge when other organizations do not?
We feel a financial commitment from the recipient is the first step in understanding the dedication and hard work needed to make this mutually beneficial relationship between dog and child a success.
How can I help?
We are funded exclusively by private donations and foundations at this time so please give what you can. The money is used to acquire and train the dogs, buy food and training supplies, cover veterinary expenses and any overhead costs. If you live locally, we would love to talk to you and give you the chance to volunteer or plan a fund raiser.