Special Circumstances Pathway

 Here at Pawsitive Squad CIC we understand that sometimes assistance dog training really cannot wait which is why we created the special circumstances assistance dog training pathway. To be eligible to join the special circumstances pathway, the young person must meet at least one of the below criteria:

1) The child or young adult has a degenerative condition which means their physical or cognitive abilities are expected to significantly deteriorate in the next 2 years which could prevent the person being able to train their own dog if they have to wait.
2) The child or young person is receiving palliative care.
3) The child or young person has a condition which is causes life threatening medical events on a regular or semi-regular basis requiring medical intervention to sustain life (e.g. for seizures rescue medication does not meet special circumstances however significant oxygen requirement during seizures or PICU/HDU admissions with seizures would) and they require the dog for medical alert work.
4) The child/ young person has a heath condition which is considered to be significantly life limiting (medical prediction of up 10 more years.)
5) The child/ young person has a condition which requires now or will require shortly at least weekly hospital medical treatment/monitoring (e.g. dialysis, chemotherapy, weekly blood tests excludes physio, OT, SALT etc) on a long term basis.


Applications made under the special circumstances scheme are automatically accepted if the client and dog meet the criteria, even if our books are closed*. Clients accessing the  special circumstances scheme have access the same classes and assessments as standard assistance dog program clients but there are some extra services and changes to administration to enable young people who meet the special circumstances to have their dog starting to make a more positive impact in their life while minimising the administrative burden associated with training an assistance dog through Pawsitive Squad. These differences include:

  • Clients on the special circumstances pathway (CSP) only have to submit training records etc on a 3-monthly basis (instead of monthly on the standard program) with greater leeway for late paperwork submissions.
  • Clients on the CSP can access all classes & face to face sessions. If the sessions are full, we will create an additional space to allow the CSP client to access that service or create an additional service to accommodate the CSP client.
  • Clients on the CSP receive their assistance dog in training lead sleeve, ID and jacket once passed their foundation assessment.
  • Clients on the CSP are permitted to take their dog when still in training into hospital wards with the permission of the hospital.
  • Clients on the CSP get a free monthly one to one training & catch up virtual session to ensure training is on track and the trainer is up to date with any medical changes. 
  • Clients on the CSP are permitted to do their initial public access assessment via video link.


If you'd like to apply to train your dog to be an assistance dog for you or your child through Pawsitive Squad CIC through the special circumstances pathway please click here for the application.