PAWS Dogs | PAWS Assistance Dogs, Inc.



The mission of PAWS Assistance Dogs is to promote independence and enhance quality of life for veterans and children with special needs through life-changing partnerships with skilled assistance dogs,

and to educate and serve local communities through the use of highly trained therapy dogs. PAWS is a visible, respected and sustainable organization that creates meaningful and lasting impacts for recipients while making lasting contributions in benefit of our community.

PAWS Assistance Dogs categories include:

  • Support Dogs
  • Service Dogs
  • Facility Dogs
  • Therapy Dogs

PAWS is distinctive in its customized approach to each recipient and dog pairing.

Great care goes into placing the right dog for the specific needs of each recipient.
Additional customizing training is provided after the match is made. This intensive process begins with specially-bred puppies and continues for two years to determine the highest and best use for each dog.

We provide ongoing training and veterinary care throughout the working life of each dog, after which recipients are eligible for placement of a new PAWS dog. On average, PAWS Dogs work 7 to 8 years. When their assistance days are over, these dogs remain with the recipients as wonderful family pets. This lifetime commitment produces the best outcomes for both recipients and dogs.

These highly trained and intuitive canines are able to aid with mobility assistance and other physical needs and are trained to meet the specific needs of each individual. Some of the tasks that we train for include:

  • Picking up dropped items
  • Opening and closing doors
  • Turning lights on and off
  • Retrieving items including medical supplies
  • Carrying items
  • Assisting with balance & mobility

Our beautiful and talented Golden Retrievers also provide improved social integration and an increased sense of independence to those they serve.

Please Note: PAWS dogs are bred and trained to meet specific program standards and all applicants must meet program requirements based on our guidelines.

Please visit Assistance Dogs International for a list of member programs that may be able to help with these needs.

To qualify for one of our fully trained service or assistance dogs

you must be a disabled American veteran or a child with a qualifying disability with preference given to those living in Southwest Florida.

Please keep in mind that we train for physical support and mobility assistance.

We occasionally accept other applications on a case-by-case basis.

Children must be over the age of 6 to apply for a service or assistance dog.

To apply for a PAWS Service & Assistance Dog, contact us via our Contact page or email us here.