Applying FAQ

   

  Applying FAQ

How long is the wait after applying, before receiving a dog?
How old do you have to be to get a guide dog?
Does the guide dog user own the dog once they graduate?
How much does it cost a visually impaired person to get a guide dog from OccuPaws?
Do I have to be totally blind to receive a guide dog?
How long does it take to learn to use your new guide dog?
Do graduates receive any type of support from OccuPaws after graduation?
Are graduates given priority when getting a new guide dog?

 
 

How long is the wait after applying, before receiving a dog?

A student may wait 1 month – 1 year for a dog after applying. The waiting period is dependent upon the availability of fully trained dogs and whether any of those dogs would be a good match to the student. If multiple students would be a good match for a dog, priority is given to the student who has been waiting the longest.
 

How old do you have to be to get a guide dog?

Most guide dog schools will not place a dog with someone younger than 18 years old, but we have a program called the Children’s Visual Companion Dog (CVCD) for qualified children as young as 6 years old or the Visual Assistant Dog (VAD) for adults that have cognitive challenges and may be unable to use a full guide dog.
 

Does the guide dog user own the dog once they graduate?

OccuPaws will retain ownership of the dog for at least 1 year after graduation. If after this time, the team is determined safe and the dog well maintained, OccuPaws will offer to transfer ownership to the graduate.
 

How much does it cost a visually impaired person to get a guide dog from OccuPaws?

Nothing! The dogs are given to Wisconsin and surrounding state residents FREE of charge.
 

Do I have to be totally blind to receive a guide dog?

No, you just need to be certified legally blind (which may include many different visual impairments).
 

How long does it take to learn to use your new guide dog?

The initial in-home training typically takes 2-4 weeks with follow-up visits from our certified guide dog instructor provided as needed.
 

Do graduates receive any type of support from OccuPaws after graduation?

Yes! Graduates will continue to receive follow-up instruction and training for the life of the team.
 

Are graduates given priority when getting a new guide dog?

No. We believe that it is critical to find the right dog for each student. Therefore, graduates will still have to wait for the right match when looking to receive a new guide dog.