Three labrador retriever service dogs

ICAN Brings Humans and Canines Together to Unleash Independence

Service dogs can make all the difference in a person’s life. The Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN) is a onprofit organization based here in Indiana on a mission to bring hope to children, adults and veterans living with disabilities through partnerships with service dogs.

ICAN has successfully placed over 250 service dogs with Hoosiers needing assistance since 2002.

Service dog on a leash next to a man wearing running shoes
An ICAN service dog

Its training program offers three types of service dogs to qualified applicants, including:

Mobility assistance dogs: Service dogs trained to help individuals who use wheelchairs or have mobility limitations, enabling them to move around safely and independently.

Facility assistance dogs: Service dogs trained to work with professionals in settings such as schools, courtrooms, nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities to provide support to clients, patients or students.

Psychiatric service dogs: Service dogs trained specifically to aid military veterans in overcoming service-related challenges and trauma.

Retriever puppy smiling
An ICAN trainee smiling for the camera

Each ICAN canine undergoes a rigorous two-year training program, with a significant portion of the training conducted by incarcerated individuals at the Indiana Women’s Prison, Pendleton Correctional Facility, and Correctional Industrial Facility.

Yellow labrador retriever loving on an incarcerated person
An ICAN trainee giving some love to its trainer.

This not only allows the dogs to receive specialized training, but also gives incarcerated people a chance to learn new skills and find purpose.

ICAN is always looking for donations to support it’s mission. Training one service dog is costly – nearly $30,000 for training, nutrition, veterinary care, and lifetime support for the dog-client partnership.

The organization relies entirely on private donations, charitable foundations and fundraising initiatives to cover these expenses.

Through community support, ICAN requires clients to only pay $2,500 for their canine partner. For qualifying veteran clients, the dogs are free.

“We are committed to making this resource available and affordable to all who need it in Indiana, which is a value we hold dear,” says ICAN President Jillian Ashton.

ICAN has offices in Zionsville and Fort Wayne.

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