All applicants are considered regardless of race, color, creed, gender, religion, marital status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition including genetic characteristics, pregnancy, sexual orientation, citizenship status, military service status, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state or local laws. It should also be noted that an application can be denied at any point and time.
Once a completed application, medical release form (if applicable), application fee, and reference letter have been received by PAALS, an interview is set up. Once an office interview has been conducted, it is followed up by an in-home interview with an assistance dog in training. Video and pictures are taken whenever possible during dog handling times and to get a view of their living environment.
All of the documentation is brought to a client committee of professionals on the advisory board of PAALS. This group includes a psychiatric nurse, a guide dog user, a rehabilitative engineer, a dog trainer, and the executive director. A checklist of eligibility requirements is reviewed to ensure that more information is not needed. Once all the concerns have been addressed, a vote is taken to decide whether it is appropriate to accept the applicant as a PAALS client.
A request can be made by the client committee to gather additional information and/or ask the applicant to participate in additional dog handling sessions. Additional medical information may also be requested. PAALS reserves the right to put an application on hold if the applicant has had a major life change in recent months or plans to soon.
Once the client committee makes a decision about acceptance, the applicant is notified via phone and/or by letter. The process of fundraising then begins. A volunteer assistant client coordinator or another assigned volunteer/staff member will invite the client to special events and keep them apprised of potential team training dates.