The Disability Assistance Dogs Programme is for Families of Children who are full-time wheelchair users and are under the age of 12 year old. Even though the funding under this programme is up to the age of 12 years old, our cut-off age is 10 years old, as it takes 16-18 months to train a Disability Assistance Dog.
The Disability Assistance Dog would be trained in tasks specific to the needs of the child.
Disability Assistance Dogs are provided free to our families however there will be some initial costs involved such as the purchase of a dog crate.
However the recipient’s are requested to participate in fundraising and other appropriate functions for the Charity as we receive no government funding.
Whilst we provide our Disability Assistance Dogs free, the charity is not in a position to cover the ongoing costs of caring for the Assistance Dog. Therefore individuals /individuals that are provided with the dog are expected to cover all the costs associated in caring for their allocated Disability Assistance Dog.
Unfortunately, the waiting list for this programme is closed. We are currently working through our existing waiting list.
Placement of a fully trained Disability Assistance Dog
This programme relies on our ADNI Foster Volunteers, who take on the full-time responsibility of caring for and training an ADNI puppy.
Training takes approximately 16 to 18 months to train and it is a 24/7 commitment. Foster carers attend a weekly puppy training class which lasts approximately one hour. As the puppies grow training extends to outside the training hall. This socialization training is a vital component of the dogs training. At present training classes are in Belfast, other venues can be arranged throughout Northern Ireland, subject to acquiring adequate numbers of foster carers.
When the puppies are approximately six months old the recipient family are introduced to our ADNI Dog Training classes. Attendance at these classes is required either on a weekly or fortnightly basis . An ADNI puppy will be identified for the family (however sometimes changes will have to be made). Initially at the training classes you will be observing the foster carer and your puppy, and gradually you will be taught how to control the pup using the relevant commands.
Where possible recipient families will care for their pup over a week-end, this will give families the opportunity to experience first hand the commitment and work involved in having an Assistance Dog within the family home. It will allow families the opportunity to make an informed decision whether they want to proceed with their application. Throughout the whole process you will be supported by ADNI.
The Charity receives no government funding and we rely on fundraising and grants in order to provide these ‘life-changing’ dogs. At present we have no specific funding stream to provide Disability Assistance Dogs to children and adults over the age of twelve.
We have four types of Assistance dogs - Autism Assistance and Autism Companion Dogs, Disability Assistance Dogs and Therapy Dogs.