Please read all the information before you fill out the application. Thank you!
Who is eligible to receive funding?
The Natan Maimes & Travel Service Dog Scholarship Fund is available to teams that are currently training or have previously trained with At Your Service. It defrays the cost of private lessons, day school, or board-and-train for appropriate candidates. We will help cover costs for training sessions for teams that meet these criteria:
- Applicant is training a service dog for themselves or a family member (partner, child, parent, etc.)
- Applicant’s dog has been assessed by At Your Service Dog Training’s head trainer* as likely to succeed as a service dog (based on the dog’s current health, temperament, and behavior)
- Applicant has completed at least one Service Dog Consultation and one private training session and either a group class or several private sessions with At Your Service Dog Training*
- At their classes or lessons, the applicant has demonstrated an ongoing commitment and ability to follow trainers’ instructions and to train consistently and effectively
- Applicant is unable to pay for all the training needed with their own funds and fundraising efforts
- Applicant lives in Western Massachusetts or is able to drive to Western Massachusetts for training
- *Assessment must be conducted in-person by our head trainer, Sharon Wachsler. We do not accept assessments by other trainers. Likewise, lessons and classes must be taught by Sharon Wachsler or one of our assistant trainers.
For more information on our service dog scholarship fund, please read the entirety of the scholarship page on our website.
If you are not yet a client, the first step is to set up a service dog consultation. Please read our Service Dog Consultation FAQ to find out more.
Scholarship Process & Requirements
The Maimes Scholarship Fund provides funding to teams that are likely to succeed in completing service dog training only if they receive financial support.
Here are important things you should know about the funding process.
Since we have very limited funds, we try to fund teams that will be able to make the most of them. We want to know the dog’s health and temperament are suited for what we’re asking of them. To feel reasonably confident that both the dog and the handler will be able to “go the distance,” we may ask to speak to your vet about your dog’s health or physical structure. Because the owner-trainer is essential to the training process, we also want to know you’re able to complete training homework on an ongoing basis.
The amount of funds available varies based on how much has been donated and allocated. Because funds come in unpredictably and other teams are also getting funding, even if you and your dog are the perfect candidates, we cannot guarantee future funding beyond what we have set aside and planned for.
When you’re awarded a scholarship, it will be for a type and amount of training that we agree will be likely to help you meet a current training goal. We’ll set aside enough money (along with your percentage, see below) for what we think will enable your dog to reach that goal.
Dog training is not always predictable! For example, we might set aside $400 for five owner lessons to train your dog to alert you to your phone to remind you to take your medication. If your dog has made good progress after five lessons, but at that point we decide she still needs a few more lessons to finish training for this task, we may or may not have those funds available. At that point, you would have three options: work with us to raise the funds, pay for the lessons yourself, or get on a wait-list in case funds eventually become available.
Scholarship teams must pay some portion of their training expenses. The scholarship fund substantially defrays costs but does not eliminate them entirely. We believe it is important for owner-trainers to pay something toward their dog’s training to promote “buy-in” (people value a service and are more likely to do their training homework if they are paying for it) and to enable us to fund other teams.
Generally, we ask you to pay 20 percent of the training costs we’re providing. This would come to about $15-20 per owner lesson, $35-50 for a group class, or $500-600 for a month of board-and-train. If this would present a financial barrier for you, please tell us and we will adjust the amount.
Scholarship teams are requested to share and allow At Your Service to share occasional training updates on public media (Facebook, GoFundMe, emails, etc.). This might include pictures, videos, or text on the dog’s training progress. This is not a requirement for funding, but we hope you’ll allow us to post these updates which are critical to maintaining funding for your dog and future teams. We will include you in this process so that you are comfortable with what we share.
Scholarship teams are asked to participate in fundraising to support the availability of funds. Again, this is not a requirement for funding, but we hope you will help us in raising funds for your dog’s training. We are in the business of training dogs. We are not a nonprofit or charity organization. Therefore, we have extremely limited time and resources to devote to fundraising. Your help with fundraising will allow us to continue to fund training for your dog and other service dog teams.
Your family, friends, and coworkers can donate directly to your dog’s training, increasing the amount of funds available specifically to your dog. We will keep track of what is donated in your team’s name. This is likely to raise more for your dog’s training than our general appeals. The most effective fundraising is a personal request that provides a meaningful and emotional connection for those who are engaged in the practice of generosity. Your willingness to post and share our fundraising requests on your dog’s behalf with your family, friends, social media networks, etc., will be incredibly helpful in maintaining funding for your dog’s training.
To maintain funding, dogs will need to meet training benchmarks throughout the process. We will ask for regular updates about your dog’s health, progress, training homework, etc. Providing inaccurate or misleading information will be cause for discontinuation of scholarship funding.
If a dog becomes ill or injured, develops a behavior problem, or just seems not to be happy to train or work as a service dog anymore, we will not be able to continue provide funding from the scholarship account, though we will be happy to keep training your dog as a pet/emotional support animal, in-home service dog, or whatever would be appropriate. Note: If funds have already been donated specifically for your team, we will use those funds to continue with training or behavior modification focused on improving quality of life for you and your dog.
Please fill out the application below. We will get in touch about next steps. We may ask to follow-up with a conversation by phone, in person, or email . If you require any disability accommodations at any point in the process, please ask!
Thank you very much! We’ll let you know when your application has been received. If you have other questions, please contact us.