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Golden Opportunities for Independence
Service Dog Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

  
  
What is GOFI?
Golden Opportunities for Independence is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization run by volunteers. We breed, raise, and train service dogs that will be given to disabled members of our community. 
 
What is a service dog?
A service dog is not a pet, they are dogs specifically trained in tasks to help mitigate a disability.
 
What is the difference between a service dog and a therapy dog?
A service dog is assigned to one handler for specific medical and mobility help. A therapy dog is a trained pet that visits facilities like schools, nursing homes, disaster areas, and many other places to provide comfort to many people.
 
Is it only golden retrievers?
Pauline Hoegler, our CEO, is a long-time breeder of golden retrievers, and while their size and temperament make them good service dogs, they are not the only breed we use. 
 
How do I get one?
Please select the dropdown above for 'Service Dogs' and select the 'Recipient Application' and fill out to see if you are eligible for a service dog.
 
How much do they cost?
GOFI focuses on providing dogs to disabled handlers and ask that they fundraise $5000 towards the cost of the dog.  As many of these people are already struggling with medical bills we assist cost mitigation by fundraising. 
The cost of breeding and training a service dog can be between $15,000 - $35,000 depending on the level of assistance a recipient needs. 

How do I get involved?
GOFI is always looking for volunteers! Please fill out a volunteer form and we will add you to the list to let you know when opportunities arise. We also are in need of puppy raisers to help care for the dogs before they go to their handler while they are still being trained. More info about this can also be found on our website, under the 
 'Get Involved' tab above.

What kind of disabilities can the dogs assist with?
Our dogs treat a multitude of physical and psychiatric disabilities ranging from ALS to PTSD. However, we do not train seeing-eye dogs for the blind.
 
How much should I donate?
No donation is too small. We are also in need of items for our facilty such as puppy pads, dog toys, crates and much more. Check out the 'Ways to Give' section of the 'Get Involved' dropdown above.
 
Do you have pet dogs?
Yes, not all puppies are destined to be service dogs. We look for specific traits in our puppies before we start training them. Because of this, we do have dogs for purchase. We breed English Golden Retrievers and are expecting two litters this summer. Give us a call, send us an email, or go to browse this website to learn more. Dogs are typically sold for $3,000.
 
How many dogs do you train at once?
Usually about 15 dogs are trained at a time.