History and Fact Sheet

Image of St. Louis ArchHistory:
C.H.A.M.P., Inc. incorporated as a not-for-profit business in the state of Missouri on January 12, 1998. We received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service in May 1998. At the time of our incorporation, our thirteen founding members had over 162 years of experience training animals and working with people with physical disabilities.

Our founding members formed C.H.A.M.P., Inc. with a single, simple idea... we wanted to create an organization that would keep the best interests of the individuals we serve and our dogs foremost in our thoughts and actions.


  • Our area of service is St. Louis, Missouri and surrounding communities. If you are interested in a service dog but do not live in the greater St. Louis, Missouri, area, we recommend that you check the Assistance Dogs International (ADI) website for an organization that serves your needs.
  • Incorporated in January 1998.
  • 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status (EIN: 43-1803006)
  • Active Board – meets 4 times per year
    Long-range plans include controlled growth, our own training facility and stable funding
  • 130+ volunteers doing everything from training to office work to facility maintenance.
  • Small office in Florissant, MO. We do not house dogs at this facility - all of our dogs-in-training live with their handlers.
  • Placements: 55 service dogs placed as of Sep 2013.
    • Categories of Placement include:
      • Assisted Home Therapy Dogs
      • Home Service Dogs
      • Public Access Service Dogs
      • Facility-Based Dogs
    • Our applicants & graduates have disabilities other than visual or hearing impairments, including:
      • Multiple Sclerosis
      • Parkinson’s Disease
      • Down Syndrome
      • Asperger’s Syndrome
      • Spinal Cord Injury
      • Post-polio
      • Muscular Dystrophy
      • Cerebral Palsy
      • other
  • The Champ (Prison) Program at Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center (WERDCC) in Vandalia, MO started in 2002.
    • Offender-trainers plus several program volunteers are housed in one unit (aka ‘The Dog House’)
    • CHAMP staff and volunteers visit weekly
    • CHAMP pays for all dog-related costs associated with the program, including dogs, equipment, food, training and cleaning supplies, vet costs, etc.
  • Service Dogs-in-Training
    • Average around 15-20 dogs and puppies in training plus a few others under observation.
    • All dogs live with their caregivers during all stages of training – C.H.A.M.P., Inc. is among the few service dog organizations that does not house dogs in a kennel facility.
    • Dogs entering the training program come from many sources, including the rescue/shelter community, pet homes, breeders, and our small in-house breeding program
    • All dogs entering our training program must pass our temperament and health clearances. Breeds include:
      • Labrador Retrievers
      • Golden Retrievers
      • Standard Poodles
      • Other, including crosses, and mixed breeds
  • 60+ C.H.A.M.P.ion Therapy Dog Teams visited
    • 9,500+ people in 2008, in hospitals, nursing homes, reading programs, and rehabilitation centers.
  • Professional Organizations:
    • Assistance Dogs International (ADI): Fully accredited member as of January 2007 (CHAMP was the first fully accredited service dog organization in Missouri.)
    • International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP)
  • Funding
    CHAMP service dogs are provided free of charge thanks to the generosity of our caring community. CHAMP does not receive state, federal, or United Way funding. We are not affiliated with and do not receive funding from any national service-dog-provider organization.


    Our funding sources include:

    • Individual donations
    • Corporations, foundations, and small businesses
    • Government employees
      • Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)
      • Missouri State Employees Charitable Campaign (MSECC)
    • Social organizations and civic groups
    • School fundraisers
    • C.H.A.M.P., Inc. fundraisers
      • Golf Tournament
      • Trivia Nights
    • Gifts-in-Kind, mainly veterinarians, puppy caregivers and other volunteers

    Friends of CHAMP is a group of special individuals who help raise money to support our mission and continue our programs.

    Professional Affiliations

    Assistance Dogs International logo
    Assistance Dogs International (ADI)

    International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) logo
    International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP)

    Delta Society logo
    Delta Society