Newsletter December 2017
an interview process where candidates meet and work with service dogs to determine the right fit. Once matched, candidates and their new service dog attend Team Training. Team Training is an intricate, refined 10- day program where trainers teach the candidates the skills and techniques needed to be the dog’s handler. Once Team Training is successfully completed, the new partners go home with their service dogs. The follow up begins immediately and Saint Francis trainers travel to the partner’s hometowns to work with the team in their own environment. After six months of successful work together, the team is considered a partnership. The evolution from application to Graduation is systematic and extremely complex. The result is one which we are proud to support for the working life of the dog. Once the teams graduate, our work is not over. Saint Francis happily supports our teams, offering partner classes, regular certifications, and additional training as needed.
Saint Francis Service Dogs serves many extraordinary people, all with unique needs. Our service dogs are just as unique. Finding the right fit for each dog and person is an important part of what we do. A lot of time and expertise is invested into decisions about the teams we match, so making sure we know as much about our applicants as we do our dogs is a top priority. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements, submit an application, undergo an in-depth interview process and a home visit before being approved as a candidate for a Saint Francis Service Dog. This process is designed to ensure that we can provide a service dog that fits the needs of each applicant and that a safe, healthy, loving home will be provided for each service dog we place. People have compared it to an adoption and it is! A Saint Francis Service Dog is a family member. Once someone has been approved and is considered a candidate for a Service Dog, their wait for a service
dog begins. While they are waiting, candidates attend classes where they meet and work with dogs in training, learn about proper dog manners, public access laws, are taught games and how to play and exercise their dog appropriately, dog obedience, and health and grooming techniques. Candidate classes provide valuable information to the candidates as well as Saint Francis staff because everyone gets to know each other better. Classes also set candidates up for success for their life with a service dog. The matching process is a system of measuring the needs of the candidates and the strengths and weaknesses of the dogs that are ready for placement, and
Saint Francis is constantly improving its programs to elevate the exceptional standards under which we operate. We strive to offer the highest quality service dogs and programs to the people we serve, so we collect feedback from our partners and use that information to enhance the experience. The process fits together like a puzzle—there is no complete picture without each individual piece. The result of all of the pieces of the puzzle is what makes the final, magical picture — a person united with their devoted Saint Francis Service Dog.
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