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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How is GCI funded?
We are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, therefore, we rely solely on individual donations and corporate sponsorships.

Do recipients pay for their service dog?
No. All of our services are provided completely free of charge.

How long does it take to train a service dog, and what does it cost?
It takes 2 years to train a fully certified service dog, and each dog is valued at over $25,000.

Is there an age requirement to receive an assistance dog?
Individuals applying for their own dog must be 12 years of age or older. Individuals under the age of 12, must have a parent or guardian submit the application and name an individual that will share in the care of the dog.

Can GCI train my dog to become an assistance dog?
No. We only work with dogs in our programs starting at 8 weeks of age that have been carefully screened for health & temperament and raised within our program.

What happens to dogs that fail the program?
When a dog does not meet the requirements for full service dog certification, we attempt to qualify the dog for one of our other assistance dog areas (companion, therapy, etc). When this is not possible, the dog is placed as a pet in a private home.

Are service dogs allowed in public?
Yes! According to federal law, the American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, service dogs are allowed to go anywhere the general public is accepted. Georgia State Law (30-4-2, 1998) also specifies that trainers are allowed public access with service dogs in training.

How do I recognize a service dog?
Our dogs wear a harness or backpack with a patch identifying them as a working service dog, and each team carries a photo i.d. badge. Most assistance dogs wear similar equipment. If you are not sure, you may ask the handler.

May I pet a service dog?
No. When the dog is working, which is indicated by the harness / backpack, petting the dog will distract him/her from focusing on the owner's needs and commands. Please be considerate of the handler and the dog by not distracting the dog in any way.

May I offer service dogs people food?
No. Service dogs accompany their owners into grocery stores and restaurants and must not show any interest in eating people food. By feeding a service dog, you can cause years of training to be compromised. Additionally, people food can make dogs sick, overweight, and in some cases can kill them.

Do service dogs ever get time off?
Yes, absolutely! Every dog receives time to play and relax during the course of the day in "time off" periods in the home.

© 2005 Georgia Canines for Independence - a 501 (c) 3 Organization
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