ADI Accreditation and What It Means for PPH
Have you ever heard us mention ADI? Maybe during Client Training when we introduce a Warrior to their service dog and train them to become a highly effective team. We may have described how our teams complete their ADI Public Access test or mentioned that PPH is undergoing ADI accreditation. But what does ADI mean? ADI stands for Assistance Dogs International. This crucial group defines the standards and develops the best practices by which the service dog industry as a whole operates. Member organizations hail from across the globe. ADI membership is considered very prestigious in the service dog industry.
Now Paws for Purple Hearts has earned full-fledged membership status!
What is ADI?
Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is a worldwide coalition of nonprofit organizations that raise, train and place assistance dogs. Their goals are to:
- Establish and promote standards of excellence in all areas of assistance dog acquisition, training and partnership
- Facilitate communication and learning among member organizations
- Educate the public to the benefits of Assistance Dogs and ADI membership.
What does the accreditation process look like?
It takes a long time to be accredited by ADI. The first step is to become an ADI Candidate. To join the candidate program, organizations must have placed at least five assistance dog teams. If a nonprofit meets this criterion, it can fill out a candidate application. Candidates then must remain in good standing for at least two years before applying for full ADI membership.
After three years of being in the candidate program, PPH began the full application process in 2019. The first step was to compile an accreditation packet for ADI to review. This packet included information on PPH policies, financials, job descriptions, etc. ADI asks for this information to “determine if all policies, procedures, and practices are in compliance with the agreed ADI standards.” The goal is for ADI to better understand how PPH is operating. This is a peer-review process where other accredited service dog organizations offer feedback on how PPH could improve its policies.
Following the policy review, ADI sent two assessors to audit our Ruther Glen, Virginia operation. During the visit, the two took a tour of the facility and observed a Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy® session. They also interviewed one of our assistance dog teams, Jake and Autumn, who completed Client Training in 2019.
After the assessors completed their site visit and all of their interviews with PPH staff members, they brought their findings before the ADI’s Accreditation Review Committee (ARC). The committee makes the final decision on ADI membership. PPH’s hard work paid off, and we received accreditation on Tuesday, March 2, 2021!
What does this mean for PPH?
There are lots of benefits to being an ADI accredited service dog organization. Our National Client Manager, Casey Koslosky, points out that “our membership in ADI demonstrates that we are ethical, follow best practices and put our dogs and clients first.”
One significant benefit of ADI is that our mobility service dog recipients are now eligible for VA Veterinary Health Benefits. The VA will help cover costs associated with owning a mobility-related Service Dog.
Another exciting aspect of ADI membership is that Paws for Purple Hearts now has access to the ABC Breeding Co-operative. This gives us access to puppies from service dogs belonging to other participating organizations and allows us to expand the pool of high quality breeding stock available to us.
Koslosky says that “Our membership in ADI allows us to join the conversation with other service dog organizations about the future of the industry.” Paws for Purple Hearts has access to new resources and training opportunities for staff members.