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Program Overview 

Our program strives to give “hope at both ends of the leash”.  In doing so we raise, train and place rescue dogs who are trained to industry standards to help individuals with disabilities.  The dogs are trained for over a year by our staff and fosters accumulating over 150-200 hours of hands on training with trainers in conjunction with the countless hours of time committed by fosters.  When the client is placed with a dog they are expected to commit to 120 hours of training to be completed on a schedule over the course of a year.  The client once placed with a dog is committing to fund-raising $6000 for the cost of the program.  This is to be paid in full over the course of two years.

Handler Education 

Leash of Hope provides a unique training program to clients placed with a service dog. The 5 level system developed by the program is specially designed to equip any handler regardless of skill level with dogs to be able to handle and care for their new companion to the high standard set by the program. Once a client has past the application process the levels and learning objectives are as follows;


Level 1: a client will learn basic obedience with a dog including hand signals, verbal commands, basic dog body language as well as standards of care of a dog as outlined by the program. During this level the staff closely observe the applicant handling different dogs to determined the clients needs in a dog and to further determine suitability for the program.


Level 2: a client is paired with a dog on a trial basis for one month. During this time the handler will get a crash course in public access etiquette.


Level 3: the client and dog are now considered a working team as they embark on new advanced public access skills. The bond between the client and dog have now been established enough that the client can learn how to use the dog for specific tasks to mitigate the disability and fullfill the international standards for what a service dog is defined as (A person who uses a specially trained dog who preforms 3 or more tasks to mitigate their disability)


Level 4: the team undergoes fine turning of all the skills they have learned. This level is less intense with only once a month checkins allowing them to demonstrate their ability to maintain the dogs training independently.


Level 5: the team graduates and becomes fully independent with only reporting to the program on an annual basis. At this level the program will also offer on going support as needed in order to keep the dog working at the high standard set by the program.

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Our Dogs

Our dogs are little different…


You may notice when you see our dogs that no two dogs look alike.  This is because we believe that by using rescue dogs, we are giving these wonderful animals another lease on life.  Quite often these dogs come to us shut down and despondent but with the correct guidance, motivation and love blossom into amazing partners for an individual with a disability.  Our dogs have been assessed by our network of rescue partners and then rigorously tested throughout their training program once brought into the program.  These dogs are not just health tested, they are temperament tested, work drive tested and work aptitude tested.


Though our main mission is to support the rescue dog instead of supporting the overbreeding of purebreds, we do work with assessed dogs donated from the community members and a few select ethical breeders.  For this reason we will take desired breeds into consideration, but it is not a guarantee.


Owner Assist Program

When you apply (complete the required paperwork) for a service dog from our program you are applying for a life changing tool. This process is not immediate and requires an immense amount of patience as we work to review and assess, match and place you with the most appropriate partner.  The process will definitely come with some challenges as you will be learning to work alongside a living, breathing four legged helpmate. We strive to ensure that the client, dogs and public are safe. As such this is why we have very stringent approval process around our accepted clients (both children and adults) and who can be accepted into the owner trained program.


For those considering the owner trained program we ask that you trust us to be knowledgable and the risk that you are embarking on with this endeavour.  As you or the family member you are applying for are someone with a disability who has limitation in their lifestyle, ability and resources.  Our program strongly recommends that you consider your energy needs in a day, the realization that you will be under more scrutiny from the general public and the training, social, and mental stimuli time required.  Our program has strict criteria that we must follow as per industry standards for the dog, client and public, thus this is a route we strongly discourage.

Our owner trained program is over the course of two years, the cost associated with this program is $6,000.00 to be paid to the program over the course of two years.  The client is expected to commit to training the dog outside of the training sessions with the foster, along with completing regular quarterly assessments and passing each stage of the canine training program.  Should you decide to withdraw from the program or choose not to uphold our standards you are required to pay the program for the training utilized and as the training of the dog is the intellectual property of the program you will no longer be allowed to work the dog in public.

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