ADI History

ADI Historical Milestones




●      Assistance Dogs International (ADI) was formed.

●      Agreed on term “Hearing Dog” as the standard name for dogs trained to assist deaf and hearing impaired persons.


●      Agreed collars and leashes would be an orange/yellow stripe for Hearing dogs.

May 1988

●      ADI was incorporated.

      ○     ADI Articles of Incorporation


●      ADI mission/objectives created:

1.    Promote standards of excellence in all areas of Assistance Dog Programs.

2.    Facilitate communication and learning among member organizations.

3.    Educate the public to the benefits of these programs.


●      Approved ADI Guidelines for Hearing and Service Dogs.

●      Created Voting Member - $30/annual membership fee.

●      Created Auxiliary Member - $20/annual membership fee.


●      Dues increase:

○      Voting Member - $35/dues.

○      Auxiliary Member - $25/dues.


●      Abandoned Orange/Yellow Collar for Hearing Dogs; adopted cape/vest with Hearing Dog and logo of the program.


●      ADI acquired 501(c) 6 Tax exempt status.

●      ADI logo approved.

●      ADI Standards and Ethics approved.


●      Enforcement Committee created to evaluate programs are meeting ADI Standards.

●      ADI voted/approved to host own conference in 1994 Manhattan, New York (split with Delta Society).


●      Subscriber Membership approved with annual dues $10/year.  Newsletter only benefit.

●      First ADI Census completed.


●      ADI Public Access Testing required for all graduates of members and must be submitted with membership renewals.

●      ADI Minimum Standards approved for Social/Therapy Dogs.

●      ADI approved concept of the development of a multi-level Program of Excellence. This would involve member agencies voluntarily participating in a self-auditing process to be done in conjunction with a visit from another ADI member agency.


●      ADI Board approved the following membership categories:

1.    Voting Provider member – same as previously known voting member.

2.    Non-voting Provider member – a provider organization which has not met the voting provider membership requirements.

3.    Subscriber – Individuals and organizations having an interest in ADI who will receive the ADI newsletter. Not allowed to attend the annual general business meeting.


●      ADI Minimum Standards for Service Dogs that Seizure Respond/Alert approved.


●      Name of Standards of Excellence Committee changed to Accreditation Committee.

●      Trainer Test approved to send to members to “test the test.”

●      Membership fees for both voting and non-voting members raised to $150/year.


●      Guide Dog Standards approved.

●      Approved Standards for Dogs be revised to include: #4 An assistance dog must be trained using humane training methods providing for the physical and emotional safety of the dog.


●      For-profits can be a non-voting members of ADI.


●      Instructor Certification Test implemented.

●      Standards for Owner Privately Trained Dogs approved.

●      Spirit Conference held - Prison Puppy Programs. Hosted by NEADS.

●      ADI changed from a 501 (c) 6 status to 501 (c) 3 status.


●      The first three ADI accreditation surveys occurred:

1.    Canine Companions for Independence (June 2002).

2.    Paws with a Cause (August 2002).

3.    Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (October 2002).

4.    Loving Paws (November 2002).

5.    Dogs for the Deaf (December 2002).


●      Spirit Conference - Puppy Testing. Hosted by ECAD.


●      Proposal to include other assistance species under ADI umbrella.

○      Proposal defeated by the membership.

●      Proposal to change name to Assistance Animal International.

○      Proposal defeated by the membership.

●      Board approved Voting Members must successfully complete the Accreditation process by the end of 2007.

●      Board approved the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) Accreditation suffices as the ADI Accreditation for Guide Dogs.

●      Spirit Conference hosted by Susquehanna Service Dogs.


●      The direction of ADI to a new “International” structure proposal approved in concept.

●      The ADI Board membership affirmed the previous ADI Board decision that guide dog organization are to be accredited by the IGDF and all other assistance dog organizations (hearing, service, social, facility) are to be accredited under the ADI Accreditation structure. Agencies that train both types of dogs are required to be accredited via both processes if they are to claim a status of being accredited for both.

●      ADI Affiliate Membership created.

●      Spirit Conference - “When is a Guide/Hearing/Service dog ready for graduation?” Hosted by Assistance Dogs Institute, CCI, Loving Paws, San Francisco ASPCA, Guide Dogs for the Blind.

●       First program that completed the ADI accreditation survey process in the Southern Hemisphere (Assistance Dogs Australia).

●       First program that completed the ADI accreditation survey process in Asia (Japan Hearing Dogs for Deaf People).


●      Ralph Denard received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

○      2006 ADI Conference.

●      Membership/ADI board approved new International Bylaws.

●      ADI US/Canada Inaugural Meeting.

●      US Airways Program to fly puppies started. Guide Dog Federation agreed to coordinate for ADI members.

●      AAT Task Force created to develop standards.

●      Accreditation Assessor Training hosted by NEADS.


●      ADI and Assistance Dogs Europe (ADEu) agreed to merge.

●      ADI Regional Boards were formed and boards elected.

●      Spirit Conference hosted by Fidos for Freedom.

●      Regional boards start accepting new candidate members. ADI Board continues to approve new candidates from non-regions.


●      Spirit Conference hosted by Paws with a Cause.

●      Membership Committee changed “full” to Member and “provisional” to Candidate.

●      ADI supports the development of new regions: 

○      ANZAD (Australia/New Zealand).

○      Asia.

○      Latin America.

●      ADI and ADEu merge their Accreditation Manuals.

●      First international conference held outside North America (in London). Additionally, a joint session was held with the International Guide Dog Federation, who had their conference at the same time. A joint banquet between the two organizations was also held.


●      ADI hired its first Accreditation Coordinator.


●      ANZD (Australia/New Zealand) became an ADI Regional Chapter.

●      Discussion on the formation of Animal Assisted Intervention International for structured intervention with professional handlers.

○      Task force formed to establish goals of AAI within ADI.


●      IGDF/ADI MOU Agreement created.

●      First Accreditation Surveys completed in Australia.


●      All regions agreed to become legal entities.

●      Membership approved Standards for Owner Trained Teams.


●      Animal Assistance Intervention Association (AAIA), sister organization to ADI, launched in June 2013.

●      ADEu and ADI Accreditation documents merged.

●      Candidate programs or applicants may not use the words “accredited” or “certified” in the organizations’ name established.

●      ADI North America becomes its own legal entity.

●      Joint ADI/ADEu/AAII Conference in Spa, Belgium.

●      ABC (Assistance Dog Breeding Cooperative) becomes an ADI accredited member program of North America.


●      Membership approved an increase in membership dues effective January 2014 with two tiers.

○      $300/year for annual income less than $1M.

○      $600/year for income greater than $1M.

○      $150/year for Candidates.

●      Approved unification of the ADI and ADEu Accreditation Manual.

○      Implementation effective 2015.

●      Emergence of assistance dog programs in the US that are training and placing service dogs for veterans with PTSD.

●      ADI ANZAD (Australia/New Zealand) changed their name to ADI Oceania.


●      Proposal for Standards for Programs Providing Trainers, Classes, Seminars, Internships and Apprenticeships within the Program and to the Public adopted.


●      Work group formed to research changes that would be required to accept for-profit businesses.

●      Appointed Interim Executive Director.

●      First program that completed the ADI Accreditation survey process in South America (Bocalan Confiar). 


●      Effective July 1, 2017 Candidates must wait two (2) years before applying for the accreditation process.

●      Regional Candidate Review Committee process approved.

●      Hired Operations Administrator.


●      Board approved Standards for Service Dogs for Veterans with Military-related PTSD.      

●      Accreditation fee increased from $1,000 to $1,750 USD.

●      First program accredited with new Service Dogs for Veterans with Military-related PTSD standards. 

○      Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs.

●      New Membership Dues Tier-Based system approved by the members.

●      Three Guiding Principles for Membership agreed.

○      Under no circumstances can an organization be a member unless it has direct responsibility for the operational training and placement of assistance dogs and assures the long-term support of the clients and dogs.

○      The overall ethics of the organization must be “charitable” and must be stated by the organization.

○      Where several separate structures/entities work together as described sub 1 and 2 can apply for membership.

●      ADI North America and ADI Oceania regional chapters no longer have separate legal entities. (determined not necessary due to bylaws).

●      Accreditation Coordinator retired at the end of 2018. New Accreditation Coordinator hired.

●      Merged Minimum Standards and Accreditation Standards into one document “Standards.” 


●      Promoted Operations Administrator to Executive Director.

●      Launched new ADI website.

●      Created a new logo.

●      Resolved past financial issues between ADI/ADEu.

●      Updated MOU Agreement with IGDF signed.

●      Added Fourth Guideline for ADI Membership.

○      Where several separate/entities work together, and do the same activities, the “charitable” entity applying for ADI membership, must be clearly differentiated from the “for profit” one(s), so no confusion between the different entities is possible.

●      Approved Ground Transportation Pilot Program for 2020.


●      ABC Regional Breeding Collaborative Project launched to explore expanding to other regions (ADEu and Oceania).

●      Coronavirus Pandemic changed how some aspects of our member programs operations could be more delivered virtually.


Chairmen of ADI




Richard Lord, Assistance Dogs Australia


Peter Gorbing, Dogs for Good


Linda Jennings, Loving Paws Assistance Dogs


Debbie Gavelek, Fidos for Freedom


Susan Bello-Phariss,Therapetics Service Dogs


Robin Dickson, Dogs for the Deaf


Michael Roche, Freedom Service Dogs


Tony Blunt, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf


Robin Dickson, Dogs for the Deaf


Bonnie Bergin, Canine Companions for Independence


ADI Conference History



Presented By


Split, Croatia

Rehabilitation Centre Silver


Indianapolis, USA

Indiana Canine Assistance Network (ICAN)


Minneapolis, US

Can Do Canines


Prague, Czech Republic

ADEu and Helppes


Denver, USA

Freedom Service Dogs


Barcelona, Spain

Fondacion Bocalan


Toronto, Canada

Dog Guides Canada


Joint Conference with IGDF/London, England

Guide Dogs for the Blind UK


Baltimore, MD USA

Fidos for Freedom


San Diego, CA USA

Canine Companions for Independence


Phoenix, AZ USA

Happy Tails/Top Dog


Vancouver, Canada

Pacific Assistance Dogs (PADS)


San Antonio, USA

Texas Hearing and Service Dogs


San Antonio, USA

Texas Hearing and Service Dogs


Las Vegas, NV USA



Anaheim, CA  USA



Orlando, FL USA



Orlando, FL USA



Orlando, FL USA



Las Vegas, NV USA



Washington DC, USA



St. Louis, USA



Montreal, Canada



Parsippany, NY, USA



Santa Rosa, USA



Denver, USA

American Humane