Apply for a Guide Dog
Changing The Lives of the Mid-West’s Visually Impaired…through the vision and partnership of a Guide Dog!
We differ from traditional dog guide organizations because all of our placements are conducted in the comfort of our client’s home environment. In addition, our small size (our goal is to place to six (6) to eight (8) dogs each year) allows us to provide a highly customized experience to each of our clients. Our clients will will be educated on all aspects of their guide dog companion, including canine health and nutrition, general care and grooming, guide dog mechanics and public access and etiquette instruction. Our clients will learn how to use their guide dog on the routes they travel frequently (work place, school, shopping, doctor’s offices, public transportation, etc.) as well as travel to near by cities and towns for exposure to a wide variety of experiences. The OccuPaws’ “in home” guide dog training program is a 12 to 14 day one on one training period. This time period is determined by our guide dog instructor based on the individual client’s situation and training needs.
We serve clients who:
- Possess the physical, mental, and emotional capability required to train with a guide dog.
- Have, at a minimum, a medically substantiated visual impairment. Clients must have sufficient loss of vision so as not to interfere with the safety and effectiveness of a guide dog, and sufficient hearing to enable them to make decisions in the best interest of the team.
- Are legally blind – the SSA defines legal blindness (also called statutory blindness) as best corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye; or a visual field limitation such that the widest diameter of the visual field, in the better eye, is 20 degrees or less.
- Are able to travel independently with a white cane or other mobility aid.
- Are able to provide a service/guide dog with a safe living and working environment.
- Live in the state of Wisconsin or in surrounding states.
- Wish to be trained with their service/guide dog in their home environment.
- Have the necessary maturity and willingness to learn the skills necessary to work with and care for a service/guide dog.
- Are willing to abide by OccuPaws’ user contracts and other regulations.
- Recognize the benefits a guide dog provides, and wish to experience them first hand.
- Have a realistic plan of use for a guide dog.
- Have a sufficient workload or places to go each week to keep a dog’s skills at the peak of training.
OccuPaws does not train or provide dogs to help with:
- Diabetic episode alert
- Seizure Alert
- Mobility Assistance
- Hearing Alert
- Therapy Dogs
- Autism support
- Emotional Support
- Post-traumatic stress dogs
If you are seeking one of these types of service dogs, you may want to start here and look in their member search section. Assistance Dogs International
We are currently taking student applications for guide dog placements. If you would like to apply for an OccuPaws’ Guide Dog, please complete our ONLINE APPLICATION or please Contact Us for additional information.