Q: What documentation do I need?

A: When you sign up for one of our orientations, you’ll be provided with an enrollment packet (either via e-mail or in person at the orientation itself). You’ll need to fill out and return to us the program application and letter of agreement, and there is also a client health form for your therapist to fill out.

Q: If I already have a dog, can it be trained to be a service dog in your program?

A: If you already have a dog that you think would be a good service dog but needs further training, we’ll set up a time to meet with you and your dog to perform an evaluation. Do not bring your dog with you to orientation.

It is important to bear in mind, if you already have a dog or are looking at getting a dog on your own before entering our program, that not all dogs end up being suitable for public access work. This is true of both privately owned dogs and the dogs that we bring into our own training program. There’s no sure-fire way to tell from the start whether a dog will turn out to have the rare aptitude and personality required for this job. If a dog that is placed with a veteran through our program turns out not to be suitable for that veteran’s needs, we will take the dog back and arrange a different placement for it (either with another veteran or in a private home). If a veteran brings their own dog into the program and for whatever reason it turns out not to be suitable for service work, we will not be able to help with alternate placement for that dog.

Q: How do I get one of the dogs trained at the prison from the Pawsitive Healing for Veterans program?

A: After you attend orientation, we’ll discuss and evaluate your needs and together determine which program is best for you. If we decide you need one of the dogs from the Pawsitive Healing for Veterans program we will go over all the necessary steps at that time.

Q: Where are the classes held?

A: All classes are held in our Salt Lake City training facility in the Holladay area.

Q: If I live outside of the area or outside of the state, can I still get a dog?

A: CWAC does not provide fully trained service dogs; our program depends upon the veteran’s attendance in weekly classes, where we train the veteran to train their dog. We do not generally place dogs that we consider to be service dog candidates with anyone who is not enrolled in our training program, which means being within a reasonable commuting distance to Salt Lake City.

Q: Do you have programs outside of Utah?

A: We are a small, local organization, and do not have affiliated programs outside of the Salt Lake City area. If you live elsewhere and would like to find an organization to help you, there are other organizations providing service dogs to veterans, and private trainers who can help you train your own service dog. You can start your search by checking Assistance Dogs International or the International Association of Service Dog Partners.

Q: I have a dog that I believe is already well-behaved enough to be a service dog. Will you give us a test and certify us so my dog will officially be a service dog? Will you provide us with documentation for a landlord or employer certifying the dog?

A: There is no officially recognized service dog certification or registry. We do “certify” our canine partnership teams at a certain point in their training, meaning that we put our organization’s name behind their training and ability, but we do not provide that endorsement to anyone who has not trained with us. Similarly, we will not in any way endorse a companion dog or emotional support animal (both of which are different classifications from a public access service dog) to landlords or employers for people and dogs who are unknown to us. For veterans who are enrolled in our program, we will be advocates for them when they’re facing challenges or difficulties with their dogs’ status or their own housing with their dog. We are happy to offer what advice or referrals we can, if you’d like to contact us.