About working together:
- The program is based on teamwork. Both you and your dog will be working hard toward a common goal: certification as a service dog team. The Operation Freedom Paws (OFP) team is here to support your success.
- OFP may look to some like a charity, but we think of it as an organization that supports and enables you to achieve success. We’re not just giving you a dog, we’re giving you the tools you need to overcome challenges.
- Most of the dogs in our teams are rescued from shelters. Thus, the team is healing together, and providing each other with a new lease on life.
- All the elements you’ll need to be successful will be provided at no cost to you. Except the most important element; You bring your desire and determination to succeed.
The program to train your own service dog will follow a defined protocol and timeline. Here’s what you will do:
|1. Apply||Fill out and submit the application form. You’ll also need to have a letter from a doctor recommending a service dog. **Please note that while we do our best to serve everyone in need, not all applications will be accepted into the program**|
|2. Meet with us||In a one-on-one interview, we’ll discuss and assess your needs and the most important tasks for your service dog to perform, as well as determining the characteristics of a dog that you will find most important.|
|3. Match with a dog||We’ll use our best judgment and intuition, but the dog and you really find each other. In rare cases, existing pets can be trained as service dogs.|
|4. Begin the training program||You and your dog will meet with us weekly for approximately 48 weeks (350 hours) for lessons, guidance, and exercises you will practice at home.|
|5. Become certified||Once you’re certified as a service dog team, your dog will have all the rights and responsibilities defined for service dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).|