Since 1996, National Service Dogs (NSD) has been training Labrador and Golden Retrievers to assist children and families living with autism. NSD is proud to be the first school in the world to provide this service to families with children who have autism.
Over the last 18 years, NSD has placed nearly 300 Certified Service Dogs across Canada and has helped various training schools around the world develop their own autism programs.
- Increase Safety Levels: Children with autism have a high tendency to bolt and have no concept of danger. Our dogs are tethered to the child and trained to take commands from the parent. When the child goes to run, the dogs are given a “halt” command, anchoring the child from going any further than the tether allows.
- Improve Socialization: Having the safety and security of a Certified Service Dog allows families to get out of the house and participate in new experiences on a more regular basis. When individuals see the child with their Certified Service Dog, it sparks interest and questions that engage the child and encourages the child to talk about their dog.
- Suppress Behavioural Outbursts: Individuals with autism have a difficult time transitioning to new environments and often experience sensory overload. Their Certified Service Dog remains a constant in their life and allows them to focus on their dog as opposed to their environment which often assists with suppressing behavioural issues. The dog also acts as a tactile distraction to redirect the child to a more positive behaviour.
NSD receives no government funding and relies entirely on donations from the general public, corporate sponsors, fundraising events, and community supporters.
Clients are not obligated to fundraise, and fundraising efforts are in no way tied to when and if they receive their service dog; however, many of them assist by asking for donations from friends and family or hosting their own fundraiser. NSD also has many third party fundraisers that host events in support of our working dog teams.
The actual direct cost of the Certified Service Dog to the family is an application fee of $50, an equipment fee of $250, and the cost of travel, accommodations and food for the week of Team Training in Cambridge. All food and veterinary costs are born by the recipient once the dog has been placed with the family.
The timing of a service dog placement is determined by chronological position on the waiting list and the availability of the right dog for the child’s needs and situation, and is in no way tied to fundraising efforts.
If your child meets the above criteria, please complete our online application request form HERE and a staff member will be in contact within one week.
Please note: If you reside outside of Canada, please visit Assistance Dogs International at www.assistancedogsinternational.org for a listing of reputable service providers in your area.
Sponsor a Certified Service Dog Team
Title Sponsorship: $10,000