INTERESTED IN APPLYING FOR AN ASSISTANCE DOG?
Assistance Dogs have the ability to dramatically improve the lives of the children and families they are placed with.
Assistance Dogs are in high demand, and whilst our dream is to be able to support EVERY family that applies for one, we of course have some constraints (unfortunately!) so there if often a wait time. Our aim is to make the application process as smooth as possible and to support families along every step of the way of considering whether an Assistance Dog is the right option for them.
Please read on below for more information and how we work with our partners at Empower through the process.
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE APPLYING
- Who can apply: Our focus at this point in time remains on supporting families of children with Autism through Assistance Dogs that are specially trained by our Training Partners at Empower Assistance Dogs. We are not currently taking applications for dogs that support with other conditions including PTSD or sight loss, sorry!
- Where you live: Our Training Partners are based at Loganlea in South East Queensland and need to be able to provide ongoing support to families. At this point in time, only families that are within the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay Regional Council Areas are eligible to apply.
- The costs: The costs for fully trained, specialist service dogs can often be a barrier to families being able to secure one for their child. At Compass, we have come up with a number of ways to raise the funds on behalf of families like yours in need. This means that the dog can largely be GIFTED to you. The only costs involved are training for you and your family with the puppy and the instructor when you first receive the dog, which are approximately $3,500.
- You cannot supply your own dog: All of the dogs we provide to families are secured by Compass and trained by Empower, we don’t certify self-trained dogs.
HOW IT WORKS WITH OUR SPECIALIST TRAINING PARTNERS AT EMPOWER
Compass previously had an in-house training team for over 7 years, but in late 2022, we changed our model and partnered with SEQ-based Charity, Empower Assistance Dogs, who are an Approved Training Organisation under the Queensland Government’s Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009.
Empower are experts in this field and have a highly skilled team, focused ONLY on training dogs, to enable the best possible service and outcomes. When you apply for an Assistance Dog through Compass, the Empower team will assess your application and interview you for suitability.
Based on our pipeline of applicants and the capacity of the Empower team and Volunteers to support new pups coming in, Compass gets to work on fundraising, while Empower gets to work on sourcing pups and lining up Volunteers to get ready for their next mission!
The Empower team will then support the Volunteers on raising the pups and providing them with basic training, until puppies are ready to come into formalised training at their facility in Loganlea. Once in formal training with their specialist trainers, the matching process begins to ensure each dog is right for each recipient and vice versa.
It’s certainly a journey! With lots of specialist expertise, time and energy put in to making the process as seamless as possible, and lots of teamwork between Empower and Compass to ensure the best chance of success for everyone involved.
FIND OUT MORE
If you’re interested in applying for an Assistance Dog, please contact (07) 5445-9116 or click the link below, where you can discuss further options available to you and how you can apply to become a service user.
You can also read about some of our Life-Changing Stories here, which have been written by families who have received Assistance Dogs.