First, fill out an online application or mail a hard copy. To access the application, please click on this link. Select the type of assistance dog for which you are applying. The application has a series of questions that tell more about your disability, your living situation, your lifestyle, and your assistance dog needs. Some of these questions are simple (contact information) and some of them are personal (physical health questions). Please be assured that all of your information will be kept strictly confidential and is used solely to evaluate whether a NEADS assistance dog is right for you.
After you submit you application NEADS will contact you to schedule an interview with its staff at the Princeton, MA office. NEADS will email (or mail) you a medical form for your doctor to complete, prior to your interview. If travel to Princeton for this interview is not possible, the appointment secretary will discuss alternative arrangements with you. However, please note that all clients are required to attend 10-14 days of on-campus training, at the client’s expense, prior to receiving a dog.
After your interview, NEADS will inform to if they are able to train a dog to help you and let you know the approximate wait time for your dog. Wait times vary based on a variety of factors, including your specific individual needs and dog availability. The matching process between an assistance dog and a client is highly specialized and is one of the most important factors in creating a lasting partnership. Your physical needs, personality and lifestyle are all considered in order to pick the right dog for you. NEADS will custom-train the dog to match your specific needs. Therefore, dogs cannot be offered on a first-come first-served basis. Instead, dogs and clients are matched by an experienced team of trainers based on compatibility.
When NEADS has a dog in training that is a good partner for you, the dog’s instructor will notify you of the match and will contact you to schedule a time for you to stay at the Princeton training campus. When you arrive on campus, you will have 10-14 days of on-site training with your new assistance dog. The campus is located on 18 acres of beautiful New England protected land. NEADS will provide you with a comfortable, fully accessible bedroom in a converted New England farmhouse with a communal kitchen, living room and dining room. The campus is peaceful and serene and your time here will be busy and educational. Be prepared to focus all your energy on creating a lasting and productive relationship with your assistance dog.