Project Chance
Project Chance

We're Different!


At the age of  10-weeks old, a Project Chance puppy is paired with a child. During the  training period, the puppy lives at the Project Chance campus. When the  trainer determines the family has accomplished the basic skills of  handling and caring for the puppy, an overnight visit is arranged.

The only home a puppy knows is its new family’s home and the Project Chance training center. This allows a puppy to become familiar with the smells, routine, and layout of its new home. It also allows the puppy and child to  continually reinforce the training process designed by Project Chance  and accelerate the bond and benefits of the partnership.

Acquiring a Puppy


The  diagnosis of autism is a life altering experience for the whole family.  We define the five components to maximize your child’s  potential below.

The placement of a dog enables the child and family to  increase their mobility and socialization as a family. The right puppy  can be a valuable companion in the life of a child with autism, regardless of the challenges he or she faces.

Once Project Chance  determines that a child and his or her family are a good fit for a puppy, we develop an individualized training program. Families come to  our training facility for scheduled sessions during which, we work on  cognitive exercises, health and safety assessments, and social skill  improvements. Additionally, we train a child and the family to optimize  dog-handling skills and the care required to address the feeding and grooming needs of the dog.

Project Chance maintains a relationship with the families and dogs it places for the life of the dog.

It Starts with a Phone Call

The first question we ask is, ‘why do you want a service dog?’During  this call, Project Chance learns about the family structure, number of  children, other pets, work schedules, and the daily routine. At least  one adult must have the flexibility required to properly care for the  puppy.  

In-Person Meeting

For  this one-hour session, the family comes to the Project Chance campus to  meet with a team member. Anyone who interacts with the family on a  regular basis at the home and would be involved with the puppy is  encouraged to attend. While the family talks with us, the child walks  around and is observed when a few of the puppies are brought into the  room. How the child interacts with a puppy, determines whether he or she  would benefit from the assistance of a service dog.  If there is a  positive interaction between child and puppies, the specifics of the  Americans with Disabilities Act are defined and then the group goes to a  restaurant, grocery store and retail environment with a dog currently  in training. This allows families to see the etiquette expected of a  Project Chance dog when it is in the community and the benefits of the  dog.  

The Home Visit

During  this appointment, we evaluate the location, size, layout, other pets  and how the house is maintained. If necessary, recommendations are made  to ensure a safe environment for the puppy. You will know at the end of  this visit whether your family is a good match for a Project Chance puppy.

The Application

Once  our staff determines that a service dog will benefit your child and the  family, we develop a training plan based on the child’s Individualized  Educational Plan (IEP) that outlines the current educational/social/  cognitive progress from a clinical or educational institution.After  the application (including a $100 non-refundable application fee) is  received, the family begins a probationary period, which ends when the  dog is transferred to the family. The transfer time varies and depends  on the dog’s maturity, family’s ability to handle and achieve all of the  outlined objectives, and evaluation and recommendations from the  trainers.  

Requirements and Commitment

  • A  commitment to meet regularly with trainers and other children and dog  teams for social, behavioral and recreational activities.
  • Families must sign a waiver that gives permission for the publication of photos and stories about your child and his or her dog.
  • As  a regional agency, families should be within driving distance of the  Project Chance training center to facilitate the access to the  numerous required training sessions. Project Chance retains the  flexibility to place dogs outside this area depending on the family’s  individual support services.