For more than 25 years, NSD has placed over 500 Certified Service Dogs across Canada and has helped various training schools around the world develop their own autism programs.
Since 1996, National Service Dogs (NSD) has been training Labrador and Golden Retrievers to assist Autistic children and their families. NSD is proud to be the first school in the world to provide this service to families with children on the Autism spectrum.
NSD Clover and Kyle
NSD Clover has changed our life and the entire way Kyle functions in only 7 short months. So many new firsts experienced I can hardly keep track! The happiness, self confidence, courage, social, language and communication strides she has helped Kyle make are truly immeasurable. He has EXPLODED in his development as of late.
We are forever grateful for the compassion, empathy and guardianship NSD Clover loves and shares with Kyle.She is truly magic in a dog! We could not imagine living life without her. She is truly a beloved member of our family.
Increase Safety Levels: Children with autism have a high tendency to bolt and have no concept of danger. Our dogs are tethered to the child and trained to take commands from the parent. When the child goes to run, the dogs are given a “halt” command, anchoring the child from going any further than the tether allows.
Improve Socialization: Having the safety and security of a Certified Service Dog allows families to get out of the house and participate in new experiences on a more regular basis. When individuals see the child with their Certified Service Dog, it sparks interest and questions that engage the child and encourages the child to talk about their dog.
Suppress Behavioural Outbursts: Individuals with autism have a difficult time transitioning to new environments and often experience sensory overload. Their Certified Service Dog remains a constant in their life and allows them to focus on their dog as opposed to their environment which often assists with suppressing behavioural issues. The dog also acts as a tactile distraction to redirect the child to a more positive behaviour.
NSD’s Certified Service Dogs are valued at $40,000 over their eight to ten year working life; however, each dog is provided free of charge to approved clients.
NSD receives no government funding and relies entirely on donations from the general public, corporate sponsors, fundraising events, and community supporters.
Clients are not obligated to fundraise, and fundraising efforts are in no way tied to when and if they receive their service dog; however, many of them assist by asking for donations from friends and family or hosting their own fundraiser or Pledgeathons. NSD also has many third party fundraisers that host events in support of our working dog teams.
The actual direct cost of the Certified Service Dog to the family is:
- an application fee of $50
- equipment fee of $250
- cost of travel, accommodations and food for the week of Team Training in Cambridge.
All food and veterinary costs are born by the recipient once the dog has been placed with the family.
National Service Dogs has been working hard to keep up with demand and decrease wait times. NSD is NOT currently accepting application requests for this program. For a list of alternate service providers please visit Assistance Dogs International.
The timing of a Service Dog placement is determined by chronological position on the waiting list and the availability of the right dog for the child’s needs and situation, and is in no way tied to fundraising efforts.
To help ensure the success of each Team, National Service Dogs has designed an intensive application process to assist with the placement and matching of each dog.
Each applicant is screened to ensure they meet our application criteria:
- lives within Canada
- has an official Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis,
- is between the ages of two and eight
Upon confirmation of this, a 12 page application is sent to the applicant to be completed and submitted along with multiple reference letters from individuals involved in the child’s life.
If successful, an NSD Client Services staff conducts an in-home interview with an NSD dog to meet the child, learn more about the family, and discuss further questions and concerns.
Final acceptance is determined following the in-home interview; families may be disqualified at any time during the application process.
National Service Dogs has reached its intake quota for this cycle. Unfortunately no spots are currently available and we will reassess our capacity to reopen the list in 2021.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to a large daily call volume of people seeking services we are not always able to return every call. We appreciate your understanding.
Please note: If you reside outside of Canada, please visit Assistance Dogs International at www.assistancedogsinternational.org for a listing of reputable service providers in your area.
Sponsor a Certified Service Dog Team
Title Sponsorship: $10,000