The mission of Helping Paws is to further people’s independence and quality of life through the use of Assistance Dogs. Helping Paws places service dogs with individuals who have physical disabilities—other than the loss of sight or hearing—and veterans afflicted with PTSD. We are unable to place service dogs for the following needs:

  • Assist with the management of mental illness as a primary condition
  • Recognize and/or manage undesirable human behavior
  • Anticipate or detect medical symptoms
  • Provide supervision, navigation, or safety from environmental hazards
  • Respond aggressively
  • Provide personal protection.

Application Requirements for Persons with Physical Disabilities

  • Minimum of 10 years old with a physical disability other than loss of vision or loss of hearing
  • Financially able to take full responsibility for a dog, including but not limited to dog food and veterinary care. Costs such as annual vaccinations, additional veterinary needs, dog food and dog toys may run upwards of $1,000 per year
  • Able to physically take full responsibility for a dog or have someone designated and able to address this responsibility
  • Able to attend the 3-week Team Training course held at the Helping Paws Training Center in Hopkins, MN
  • Willing to participate in follow-up training.

VetsApplication Requirements for Veterans with PTSD

  • A veteran with a diagnosis of PTSD
  • A resident within Minnesota or the bordering areas of surrounding states
  • Financially able to take full responsibility for a dog, including but not limited to dog food and veterinary care. Costs such as annual vaccinations, additional veterinary needs, dog food and dog toys may run upwards of $1,000 per year
  • Able to attend the required Team Training course held at the Helping Paws Training Center in Hopkins, MN
  • Willing to participate in follow-up training. 

Additional Requirements

  • A stable home environment is required (no major changes) during the first year following placement with a service dog
  • Yearly follow-up interviews are required with the Helping Paws Graduate Follow-Up staff
  • A $50 nonrefundable application fee and a $300 equipment fee is due at the time Team Training begins
  • Applicants and graduates are not required to participate in fundraising or public relations activities in support of Helping Paws
  • In general, placement of Helping Paws service dogs is limited to Minnesota and western Wisconsin.