- General Assistance Dogs
- Seizure Dogs
- Autism Dogs
- Medical Alert Dogs
- Social Therapy Dogs
- Facility Dogs
- Mental Health Assistance Dogs for PTSD, anxiety, and depression
ADW does not train leader dogs for people who are blind or hearing dogs for people who are deaf.
Most often, we use Labradors and Golden retrievers because of their innate interest in retrieving, good work ethic and cheerful dispositions. We have also used Labradoodles and have worked with a number of different breeds through the Owner/Self-Training program.
Most of our dogs are in training for 18 to 24 months, and usually placed with a client when they are around 2 years old.
Unfortunately, we do not have a program to teach others how to become dog trainers. Most of our training staff received their education at Bergin University of Canine Studies. We suggest that you explore their website to learn how to get started.
Although the ADW waiting list is shorter than many service dog organizations, it averages one to two years to make a client/dog match. Client/dog interviews are conducted on a regular basis during this time to assess needs and potential matches.
Clients pay for the services provided by ADW ($6125 in-state, $7625 out-of-state). The breakdown of fees is listed on the client application. Page 2 of the fee schedule contains suggestions for fundraising and financial assistance. In total, it costs ADW about $25,000 to raise and train each dog.
Sometimes. All out-of-state placements are considered on a case-by-case basis. Clients must be able to travel to Santa Fe for the client process. Travel, lodging, and other expenses are the responsibility of the client. If you live outside of New Mexico, we strongly recommend that you first attempt to locate an organization closer to your geographical region. See the Assistance Dogs International website for a list of ADI-accredited and member agencies across the country. **ADW does not place diabetic alert dogs out-of-state.**
ADW places assistance dogs with kids who are 5 years and older.
After you complete the application (click our applications page), you will receive notification that your application has been received. For a full list of steps involved in client placement, facility team placement, and owner/self-training, see our individual application packets where the process is described fully on page 1.
Certification and Registration
Currently, there is no state or federal requirement for certification or registration of service dogs. To qualify as a service dog, the dog must be individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability and behave appropriately in public places. ADW offers an Owner/Self-Training program for people who would like assistance training their dog as an assistance dog.
ADW only supplies vests and ID cards to teams that have completed the Client Placement or Owner/Self-Training program.
I am moving/traveling to another country, but they require my service dog be certified by an ADI-accredited agency. Can you help?
Please take a look at our Owner/Self-Training program. ADI requires that Owner/Self-Trained teams work with an organization for a minimum of six months.
Albuquerque: Dogwood Therapy Services, 3108 Alamogordo Dr. NW, Bernalillo, NM 87120
Contact: Melissa Winkle at Dogwood Therapy Services, (505) 228-4650
Santa Fe: La Mariposa Montessori (Wednesdays), 18 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Fe, NM 87508
Desert Academy (Thursdays), 7300 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87505
Contact: Liz Napieralski at Assistance Dogs of the West, (505) 986-9748
ADW requires that students be at least 8 years old by the first day of class in order to enroll in after school.
We love your pets, but our liability does not cover dogs even when dropping off or picking up. Only program dogs are allowed in the building.
We are happy to offer a one-time 15-minute sneak preview for parents or caregivers at the beginning of the 1st day of class.
Comfortable clothing that they don’t mind getting dog hair on, and sensible shoes.
Just a good attitude!
Donating and Volunteering
There are many other types of non-cash gifts which can be considered as a contribution: securities, personal property, equipment, real estate, life insurance, fine art, etc. In-kind gifts of products and services also help to reduce ADW costs.
We would be happy to work with you and your financial advisor to help you make a contribution that meets your charitable needs. Planned giving is also a way to leave ADW a program sustaining gift. Please contact the ADW office with any questions.
Most of our volunteer needs are for administrative help and special events. Contact Liz by email at email@example.com/ or use our contact form for more information. Please allow 10 business days to hear back from us.