Skip survey header

Southeastern Guide Dogs - Service Dog Application

About Our Admissions Process

Welcome to the Southeastern Guide Dogs Service Dog application! We are committed to providing you with exceptional customer service as you navigate our application process.

***Please carefully review all information below before beginning the application***

1. Eligibility
In order to qualify for our service dog program, the applicant must:

  • Be retired, inactive Military, or approaching retirement within the next 3 months
  • MUST have Honorable Discharge
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Reside in one of the 48 contiguous United States
  • NO felony convictions, NO history/charges of violent crime, domestic violence, sexual offenses, animal mistreatment/abuse/neglect/cruelty, or protection orders against you
  • Documentation from a health professional indicating at least one (1) year sobriety if applicant has a history of substance abuse (drugs/alcohol)
  • Have the cognitive ability to learn training concepts and apply them consistently
  • Have the financial ability to cover the expenses associated with the proper maintenance and care for the life of a service dog, including food, monthly preventatives, and veterinary expenses
  • Be able to provide a safe, loving, healthy, and stable home for a service dog
  • Pass a phone interview with a certified service dog trainer
  • Pass an in-home interview with a certified service dog trainer
  • Be able to complete a rigorous training course and reside in our campus dorm in Palmetto, FL for 11 days
  • Be able to demonstrate the physical and mental ability to consistently handle and work a 50-80 lb service dog
  • Have no more than two other dogs at the residence
  • Have an appropriate family/friends support system
  • If applying for assistance with PTSD, it must be Military Service-Connected and the applicant MUST be in on-going treatment by a mental health professional
Please be aware that an applicant diagnosed with any of the following conditions is NOT eligible for our programs:
Bi-Polar Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Schizoid Personality Disorder, Delusional Disorder, Delirium, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Paranoid Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Unspecified Personality Disorder, Dementia
If you have been diagnosed with any of the above mentioned conditions, you may want to search for another program that places/specializes in psychiatric service dogs at www.assistancedogsinternational.org

Also not eligible are the following:
Any applicants who have had attempts or thoughts of self-harm within the past year
Any applicants currently receiving dialysis treatment

2. Application

The applicant must complete this Service Dog Application in full.  Please have the following information available prior to starting this application:

  • Full Name and Contact Information (address/phone/fax) for the applicant's current Mental Health Provider (if claiming PTSD)
  • Full Name and Contact Information (address/phone/fax) for the applicant's current Primary Care Physician
  • Full Name and Contract Information (address/phone/fax) for the applicant's current Specialty Care Provider (if the specialist is treating a condition related to the need for a service dog, ie neurologist, orthopedist, etc.)
  • Full Name and Email (preferred) or Mailing Address for three (3) Personal References outside of your immediate family
Once your application is submitted, you will receive a request to submit the following:
  • Documentation of Military Service (copy of DD-214 Long Form stating HONORABLE under Character of Service is required)
  • Background Check Authorization Form (felony convictions, domestic violence, sexual offenses, or animal mistreatment/abuse/neglect/cruelty are ineligible for our program)
  • PCL-M/PTSD Checklist (if claiming PTSD)

3.  Admission
Our admissions process:

   1. Application is received and processed - reports/questionnaires are sent to applicant's provider(s) and references via fax, email, or usps. A criminal history report is run to begin establishing the applicant's eligibility and learn about the need(s) for a service dog.
   2. Once all forms are returned and the paper file is complete, the applicant's file has its first review. 
   3. If the initial review is approved, a phone interview will be scheduled. Once a phone interview is passed, an in-home interview will be scheduled with the applicant.
   4. If the home interview is passed the applicant is accepted into the program and notified via telephone. Approved applicants then wait to be matched with the appropriate dog by the training team and invited to a training class by the admissions department at least one month prior to the class start date.

*Please note that the first phase of the application process can take several months to complete. This time frame depends on many factors, such as, the accuracy of contact information provided by the applicant and speed of paperwork submission by providers and references. In the meantime, if you experience a change in your contact or provider information, please advise admissions as soon as possible so that we may keep your information current.

If at any time during the application process, it is determined that the applicant does not qualify for the program, the applicant will be notified via letter.

4. Training 
Our training program will require your attendance at Southeastern Guide Dogs' campus in Palmetto, FL for 12 consecutive days (2 travel days and 10 days of specialized training). During this training, students will work with our trainers to learn to navigate locations and situations similar to challenges you may experience at home. Upon completion of the training program, we will execute an adoption agreement which will transfer ownership of the dog from Southeastern Guide Dogs to you.

5. Costs
Southeastern Guide Dogs provides its dogs and training to students free of charge. The school will provide the dog, equipment, training, housing and meals during your training.

Once you adopt one of our Service Dogs, the maintenance of your dog and all associated medical expenses become your responsibility. We estimate this cost to be between $900 and $1,200 annually.

6. Transportation
Once accepted, the applicant is responsible for transportation to and from our Palmetto, FL campus. If this creates a hardship, we may be able to assist you with your transportation needs.

Please complete the required fields of the application thoroughly. Providing fax numbers for providers and email addresses for references is appreciated and may move along the paperwork collecting process more efficiently. 

Information collected is strictly confidential and is used only for the purposes of identifying the most qualified dog for your particular needs.

Please note, the application could take up to 30 minutes. We recommend you have all contact information for your providers and references handy to reduce time spent. You may save the application at anytime and come back to it later by clicking at the top of any page and entering your email twice. You will then get an email with a link to return to that exact page and finish. You must have a valid email address to complete this application.