Founded by leading dog behaviorist and expert trainer Abby Hill
We are a unique non-profit in the northeast specializing in providing psychiatric service dogs to teens and young adults. Our mission is to empower clients to complete their education and achieve independence. We embrace diversity, welcoming everyone irrespective of ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. While our focus is on teens and young adults, parents often seek our services on behalf of their child when other therapeutic approaches prove unsuccessful.

Evidence Based Programs

We employ positive training methods, proven to produce confident dogs with enduring success in diverse environments. Rooted in the best practices of nationally recognized service dog programs, our curriculum is tailored for the specific needs of our clients with psychiatric disabilities. We evaluate and adjust our programs as needed to ensure they effectively address our clients’ needs.
As part of our placement process, we require a 1-year commitment. This year involves weekly public access sessions aimed at mitigating social isolation and meeting the evolving needs of our clients. Our approach is grounded in data-driven insights, fostering long-term well-being for handlers and their exceptional sidekicks. 
Service dogs in training and handlers in a line during a public access class inside of a retail store.

Bringing Communities Together Since 2016

Our team of dedicated volunteer puppy raisers collaboratively raise and train exceptional service dogs. In the crucial first year and a half of each dog’s life, our selfless puppy raisers play a vital role, forming the heartbeat of our program.
We initiated an In-School Service Dog & Teen Advocate Program at Newtown High School, enhancing community support and education with three key benefits. 1) The puppy received continuous socialization and training. 2) Having a dog in the classroom fosters positive social interaction, enhances concentration, and reduces stress and anxiety. 3) Students gain insights into the dog’s purpose and receive education on the needs of individuals struggling with their mental health. 
Watch for us in local schools, businesses, and out in public or engaging with youth groups and scout troops. We are dedicated to raising awareness and transforming lives, not just for our clients and their families but for the entire community. Through education and the joy of puppy love, we make a difference. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, we rely on community donations to operate and extend our support. The process of adopting, raising, training, and providing healthcare for these dogs in the first two years is expensive. Your involvement can help us further our mission. Find out how you can help! 

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs does not and shall not discriminate based on race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all staff members, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors.
The Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.