Service Dogs

Badge of Life Canada does not provide funding, train, or supply service dogs.

Service Dog
We get a lot of inquiries about service dogs throughout the year. Acquiring a Service dog can be an extremely difficult journey since there are no national standards. There are various service dog organizations across the country both private and non-profit. All intake, including the management of waitlists, are conducted by the respective PTSI Service Dog training providers listed on our site.
The information below is to assist you in your journey to obtain a service dog.

First Step

The first step you need to take is with your own doctor – You will require a doctors note stating that you require the assistance of a service dog for personal medical purposes. Any service dog organization you apply to will require this as well in their application process. The letter will also be requested if you have to fly  along with your service dog qualification and vaccinations. Under the new flight protocols – dogs must be trained under a service dog program.

Many private companies charge an incredible amount for a service dog. However, non profit organizations have a very long waiting period (sometimes in excess of 2 years) as demand outweighs supply. Some non-profits supply only their own dogs that have been trained by the organization. While other non-profits will screen your own dog and do the training with you that way for certification. Keep in mind most companies will source a dog that has proven service dog qualities.

For-profit organizations may have quicker access for a service dog – sometimes not all the times – but – the prices can be staggering pending the business – It costs anywhere from $20,000 and up to train a service dog (that is the cost regardless of profit or non-profit). Obviously this scenario can be cost prohibitive for many first responders who are off work for Operational Stress Injury (OSI).

Where and How to Obtain a Service Dog

The Canadian Foundation for Animal Assisted Support Services (CFAS) receives ongoing calls about where to obtain a service dog, how to certify a pet as a service dog, how to train a service dog, and how much it costs to get a service dog. Most service dog organizations have waiting lists and not all organizations train service dogs for every kind of disability.

Note that there is no process for certifying a pet as a service dog. Service dogs are specially trained to support people living with visible and invisible disabilities in order to lead meaningful lives, and to participate in an inclusive society. There can be serious repercussions for passing a pet off as a trained service dog, as well as public safety concerns if the dog is not properly selected, socialized, and trained. As such, the following information is meant to provide some general guidance concerning service dogs.

Service Dog Organizations

Information about the various organizations. Click on the arrows to expand. Link to the organization is provided at the bottom of each box. 

According to the Canadian Foundation for Animal Assisted Support Services, in 2009 Health Canada reported that over 3,300,000 Canadians reported some level of disability and the Canadian Press Report points out that with an aging population and growing awareness the number of people known to have disabilities is on the rise. In Canada alone, 9,000 requests and inquiries were made in 2009 by families, individuals, wounded soldiers, and others concerning their need for animal assisted support services. This need is on the rise, as conventional methodologies are not always effective or accessible.

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Assistance Dogs for All

Providing Service Dogs, including those specialized in PTSD and other mental health issues. Self training programs or fully trained dogs possible. With over 30 years of experience, Wade is one of Canada’s most respected guide dog and service dog trainers. Wade began his career as a guide dog trainer/instructor in 1986 at Canine Vision Canada as a guide dog trainer and instructor, where he completed a three-year apprenticeship program.

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Canine Support Services

Their mission is to provide a remarkable education program that engages communities and empowers students and others in the training of service dogs that will transform the lives of people with disabilities.

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Cope Dogs

They transform abandoned dogs into psychological service dogs. Do you want to adopt responsibly, educate someone to do the same or support the cause? Take a look at Les Chiens Togo’s responsible adoption guide.

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Les Chiens Togo

Their mission is to train and provide high quality Psychiatric Service Dogs in order to better the lives of those who suffer from various mental health conditions. They are a Canadian Registered Not-for-Profit Charitable Organization, operating in Ontario.

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Searchlight Service Dogs

The mission of BC & Alberta Guide Dogs is to meet the growing demand for professionally trained Guide Dogs and Autism Support Dogs for citizens of British Columbia and Alberta, and PTSD Service Dogs for citizens of British Columbia. At all times we meet or exceed international standards as established by the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.

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BC & Alberta Guide Dogs

Their mission is to provide PTSI – OSI service dogs and/or training support at no charge to the military veterans, nurses or other first responders who qualify to enroll in our program. ​
On occasion we will allow candidates with privately owned dogs to enter our service dog program but only after the dog passes an initial assessment conducted by one of our trainers

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Citadel Canine Society

They offer a unique trainer-assisted owner trained service dog and support program. The difference is, that their service dog training program and custom task training will meet each handlers individual needs. They help first responders, veterans and civilians with PTSD. They offer specialized dual skilled training for those who require another skill set such as medical alert and mobility assistance.

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K-9 Country Inn Service Dogs

Their mission is to empower people to achieve their full potential with strategically trained and certified service dogs, catalysts for restorative change. NSD currently offering this service to Veterans and First Responders in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta.

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National Service Dogs

National Standards for Canada

The Development of a National Standard of Canada for Service Dogs is long overdue. Until either a Canadian Industry Standard or National Standard is developed the Canadian Association of Service Dog Trainers (CASDT) has interim benchmark recommendations. You can see their interim benchmark standard by following this link: Interim Benchmark Standard.

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