International Association of
Assistance Dog Partners

A Brief History and Special Projects


Building Our Partnership Support Network

IAADP is a non profit organization that was launched in 1993 at the joint Delta Society and Assistance Dogs International Conference. A historic meeting took place between consumer representatives from many states partnered with guide dogs, hearing dogs and service dogs. The outcome was an unanimous vote to establish an independent cross disability consumer organization that could represent all Assistance Dog Partners (not just one faction) and advance consumer interests in the assistance dog field.

IAADP's mission is to (1) provide assistance dog partners with a voicein the assistance dog field; (2) enable those partnered with guide dogs, hearing dogs and service dogs to work together on issues of mutual concern;(3) to foster the disabled person / assistance dog partnership.

A quarterly newsletter and an annual meeting in conjunction with the Assistance Dogs International Conference were chosen as the most effective ways to link together assistance dog partners from different programs as well as those partnered with privately trained or owner trained dogs. Board members are drawn from the population of disabled people partnered with guide dogs, hearing dogs and service dogs.

Partners' Forum

IAADP publishes the newsletter, "Partners' Forum." Subscriber/members are encouraged to submit news of legislation, access cases, articles about issues of concern, letters to the editor editor@iaadp.org and opinion pieces. An Annual Short Story Contest is conducted and prizes are awarded to the winners.  (Feel free to direct your entry to the editor by email or snail mail at the address on IAADPs CONTACT PAGE.)

To promote outreach and education, "Partners' Forum" is sent to all the veterinary school libraries in North America. It is received by assistance dog programs throughout North America and the United Kingdom and by many assistance dog partners and other organizations with an interest in the assistance dog field. Beginning to meet its goal of becoming truly international, subscriber members are now found in Europe, Central and South America, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The "Partners' Forum" has become a well respected publication honored by the Dog Writers Association of America for excellence.

Access and Education Brochure

During its existence the IAADP has had many notable accomplishments. One of its most outstanding has been the publication of a informative and persuasive Access & Education Brochure that can be inexpensively reproduced and utilized by all assistance dog partners. The brochure enlightens the public about assistance dogs and the rights of their human partners in the USA. One section educates those unaware of the state and federal laws governing access with a message in English, French, Urdu, Punjabi, East Punjabi, Russian, Spanish and Chinese. This has been particularly useful in educating taxi drivers, hotel clerks and restaurant employees.

Information and Advocacy Center

Despite more than 70 years of guide dog partnerships and more than 25 years of hearing dog and service dog partnerships, many disabled people continue to report challenges to their access rights. A number of potential confrontations have been avoided and conflicts resolved through the intervention of the IAADP. It is a resource available for advice and peer support.

This organization also functions as a busy information and referral resource for the general public, the disabled community, state and federal officials, trainers, new providers, rehabilitation counselors, parents and assistance dog partners throughout North America. Help may be obtained by contacting the IAADP Information & Advocacy Center by email, phone, or snail mail. See IAADPs CONTACT PAGE for details.

Partners Support System

In cooperation with the American Kennel Club and Bayer, IAADP has put together a comprehensive Assistance Dog "Emergency Recovery" Protection system.The goal is to try to ensure that if the team becomes separated, the dog will be well cared for and reunited with the human partner or should the partner become incapacitated, the dog will reach his/her designated Emergency Care giver. With funding from Bayer Animal Health, IAADP now provides this "kit" free of charge to facilitate that goal. It is coordinated with the AKC's offer of free enrollment for assistance dogs in the AKC Companion Animal Recovery program, a national database with a 24 hr. 800 number. The AKC official enrollment form must be obtained from the IAADP or an assistance dog program on the IAADP List. The dog's tattoo number and/or microchip number plus special instructions from the assistance dog partner listed in the AKC computer makes it possible to quickly reunite the team.

In the AVID program, IAADP members can call an 800 number and obtain the name of a local veterinarian willing to provide the microchipping. Until the information is recorded in the AVID lost dog recovery data base, the veterinarian's record provides the same coverage. The assistance dog team is therefore protected from the moment they leave the veterinarian. AVID will replace the microchip so it does not cost the veterinarian any money to do it. AVID also provides "partners" with free registration in PETRACK, its own registry. Details on how to implement the offer will be provided in new member information packet.

To be eligible to receive any partner benefits, the partner's signature must be on file (see membership form).

Assistance Dog Partnership Support Network

Although developed as a consumer advocacy effort, the IAADP welcomes advice and input from all those with a personal or professional interest in the assistance dog field. It seeks to foster a sense of community among all the stakeholders in the success of the assistance dog movement.

In addition to staying in touch through Partners' Forum, subscriber members are given the opportunity to attend and participate in conference workshops, webinars, banquets, annual meetings and other special events. To obtain more information about IAADP's activities or if interested in volunteering to help with special projects or the conference, please contact us. See IAADPs CONTACT PAGE for details.

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