Application Info

We regret that we cannot certify your family pet to become a service dog. Those with disabilities are welcome to apply for one of our dogs-in-training. ADA law and our liability insurance do not allow us to certify dogs we have not taken through our program. There are very specific steps to our training, as well as extensive temperament testing before the dogs are placed. Those who try to claim a family pet is a service dog when they don’t have a disability risk being charged with fraud. Our trainers do offer private, in-home training sessions that are not connected with PGI, but we do not certify service dogs outside of our program.

The purpose of our organization is to train and provide high-quality service dogs to individuals with disabilities. There is no age limit on those who can apply, but recipients do need to have a documented disability. We train full-service dogs, facility dogs, and facilitator assisted companion dogs (FACD).

In order to ensure our dogs are placed with people who have a documented disability, we may require a note from the applicant’s doctor verifying the need for a service dog. We hope you understand this practice is in place to ensure the rights of those who truly need service dogs. Our recipients are chosen from those who can best benefit from the skills of our dogs.

Minimum requirements to be considered for a PGI dog:

  • The individual must have a documented disability.
  • PGI must be able to train a dog to help with their specific needs.
  • All dogs must be kept in the family’s house.
  • All animals in the home must live inside and be kept up-to-date on shots by a vet (the vet will be contacted).
  • The potential recipient/family must complete 25 hours of training in Peoria, IL.
  • The potential recipient/family must successfully complete three home passes where the dog is exposed to other family animals and family members.
  • Recipients must be able to attend weekly classes for one year after receiving the dog.

Failure to follow these rules results in the dog being returned to the program.

Please remember, service dogs are highly trained in many commands, but they are not machines that will respond automatically to commands. It is important for our recipients to learn, gain, and maintain handler qualities. These qualities include quick decision making, good judgment to make the appropriate handling decisions, consistency, and strong memory.

A PGI dog cannot take responsibility for the safety of the recipient.

PGI can only accept a limited number of applications per year due to our volunteers and financial resources.

If you are looking for a family pet, you are welcome to add your name to our waiting list for dogs that do not become service dogs. These dogs are adopted out as family pets. Please contact us through the contact page of our website.


Application Instructions

Step 1: Complete an application. Please note the waiver must be printed and signed by hand for the application to be complete.

Step 2: Once we receive your completed application request, we will review it and may contact you. You may receive a letter containing additional information needed for your application. PGI will run a veterinary check on all other animals in your home and call personal references listed on the application. Annual update forms are sent to applicants. These forms must be completed and returned for PGI to keep your application on file.

Step 3: Once the application materials are received and reviewed, PGI will contact the applicant to schedule a telephone interview.

Step 4: After completing the telephone interview an in-person home visit will be completed by a PGI staff member.

Step 5: After the home visit, your information will be presented to the Board of Directors and a
decision will be made on if you are able to move forward in the application process.

Step 6: If an applicant is accepted to move forward in the application process, they will be added to the waiting list to begin coming to class and collecting their required 25 training hours in Peoria IL.

Step 7: The applicant will be contacted to attend training classes for 25 hours, complete an
animal care workshop and complete at least 3 successful home passes with a potential service
dog match.

Step 8: Service dog placement in recipient’s home.

*PGI reserves the right to add or remove steps from this process at any time.

Service/Companion Dog Application  :::::::::  Medical Form  :::::::::  Facility Dog Application

Paws Giving Independence reserves the right to deny service to an applicant for any reason, including, but not limited to, failure to meet the established criteria for receiving a service dog or lack of match between the dogs’ skills and disability of the applicant. PGI also reserves the right to remove a program service dog from a home at any time for mistreatment/neglect, failure to continue training or an inappropriate match.