Scott in wheelchair with Buddy

About COPE Service Dogs

COPE Service Dogs are either bred by COPE, or adopted into the program at a very young age.  COPE Service Dogs are trained for the purpose of supporting clients with primarily mobility disabilities.  Our service dogs are specifically trained to meet high standard behavioural expectations and have the ability to perform a variety of tasks to mitigate their clients disability.
For the most part, COPE has trained Golden Retrievers, but has also worked with Labrador Retrievers, Standard Poodles and Barbets. The breeding and training program reinforces desired traits in a service dog, including work ethic, low arousal, low prey drive and good problem solving skills.

Our future service dogs are supported financially through donations and sponsorship; emotionally through loving volunteer puppy raisers; and by students and instructors who train the dogs to develop the skills they will need to support their future client.

The community is part of this circle as well, helping to socialize each service dog-in-training as they are introduced to diverse social situations and the helping professions, who help prepare them for their career.

Service Dog Roles

As a dog matures and gains skills in training, their personality and strengths determine the type of role they will play in the future.

Below are some of the roles that COPE dogs are able to fulfill:

  • Public Access Service Dogs
    Service dogs accompany their partner to work, school, shopping, restaurants, and movies and on public transportation. In other words, they are available to assist their partner anywhere. Their role at home and in the community, is to increase the quality of life and independence of their partner.
  • cope-service-dogsHome Help Mate
    A dog in this role improves the lives of  clients living with mobility or disability challenges.
  • Social /Therapy Dogs
    A parent or caregiver is responsible for directing this dog’s service or therapeutic functions to help a household member with physical, emotional or cognitive disabilities.
  • Facility Dogs
    COPE dogs can be partnered with a teacher, counselor, health care worker, social worker or health professional for the purpose of providing social interaction, therapeutic intervention and canine assisted education for many different people. The dog accompanies his/her partner at work in order to augment their regular educational, social or therapeutic practices.
  • School Dogs
    These are adaptable and skilled dogs that excel at following commands from many different people and can boost self-esteem in students. This special type of ‘Facility Dog’ is matched with a person or family that can commit to ensuring the dog is available to participate in COPE’s Canines in the Classroom Program, to help change the lives of students facing challenges in school.
  • Career-Change Dogs
    On occasion, COPE dogs are unable to fulfill working roles due to their health or temperament. This can become evident at any time during their two year training period. These dogs may become available to families wishing to adopt them.

Please contact us if you would be interested in providing a life-time home to one of these dogs.

client success stories

local programs


NOTE: COPE Service Dogs is currently not accepting new application requests for Mobility Assistance Dogs as the high volume of applicants has exceeded our capacity for timely placement. COPE Service Dogs is committed to serve the families that are currently on the waiting list or who have already received an application package. We will resume accepting new application requests for Mobility Assistance Dogs as soon as the needs of the current waiting list are met. Please refer to the website for updates. Our Facility Dog and Career Change Dog programs are remaining open to new application requests. June 9, 2019

Potential clients with mobility disabilities may apply to be matched with a COPE Service Dog.

Application for an Assistance Dog

Please contact us, we’re happy to answer questions about applying for our client program in more detail.