Hope Heels Service Dogs
We are a small, dedicated group of volunteers with experience in a wide variety of areas including psychology, human services, service dogs and professional dog training.
If you have something positive you would like to contribute by volunteering with help with Hope Heels, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
After an individual applies to become part of Hope Heels, they first complete an application form and medical/character reference forms. Then they undergo a comprehensive evaluation to determine if they would benefit from a service dog and if they will be able to safely care for the service dog. As part of this evaluation, the individual receives a report about what type of service dog they may benefit from (none, pre-trained, self-trained), what basic qualities they would need in a service dog candidate, what types of tasks the dog should be trained to do and how the handler can prepare the dog to do work to mitigate their disability.
If they are a suitable match for a self-trained dog, they will be matched with a service dog candidate, often adult dogs from breeders or rescues. Once matched with their candidate dog, they attend regular group training sessions and have regular individual training sessions with a professional dog trainer. Individuals also receive extensive training on service dog handling theory and appropriate protocol when working with a service dog in public. When the team is fully trained, they are invited to take a test to determine if they are suitable for unrestricted public access. If they are suitable, they receive a Hope Heels ID card.
Hope Heels is made up of professionals and community members from a variety of backgrounds that are dedicated to supporting individuals with mental health disabilities train their own service dog. Psychologists, administration specialists, dog trainers and volunteers work together to help achieve the goals of helping people with disabilities to help themselves.