The Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs, Inc. began in 1987. Our mission is to promote functional independence and improved quality of life for persons with physical mobility impairments through partnerships with highly skilled service dogs. We are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization which depends on donations, contributions, and grants from foundations, businesses, and individuals to fund its mission.
WAGS raises and trains service dogs to increase the ability of individuals with disabilities to independently execute functional, daily living skills, increase attendance in daily life events, and improve outlook on life, with the aid and support of a highly trained service dog.
WAGS, Inc. has facilitated the partnership of over 100 service dogs with people with disabilities of movement such as:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury
- Neuromuscular disease
- Cerebral palsy
For these people, a WAGS dog can provide needed physical assistance by retrieving dropped and out of reach items, opening and closing doors, operating light switches, and tugging off articles of clothing. All four types of WAGS dogs offer companionship, devotion, and unconditional love.
WAGS dogs are carefully chosen from selected breeders who either donate puppies or offer puppies to WAGS at reduced placement fees. If you are a breeder interested in donating to the WAGS program, please call Sarah Sirios at 608-250-9247. The choice of an individual dog is based on its health, temperament and aptitude for service dog work. We prefer to use retrievers because of their size, strength and aptitude for working in the kind of situations facing service dogs. Most of our dogs are Golden Retrievers and Labradors.
WAGS dogs are raised, trained, and socialized by volunteers under the supervision of the Training Director. It takes two years, and approximately $12,000 to train one service dog.
WAGS considers many factors before accepting applicants to be a client. At the very least, our clients must:
- live within about an 80 mile radius of Madison, Wisconsin
- utilize the dog’s training
- be able to care for the dog physically, emotionally, and financially
- be willing to work, practice, and play with their dog
Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section for more details and general industry information.