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Southeastern Guide Dogs - Successor Guide Dog Application

About Our Admissions Process

Welcome to our Successor Guide Dog application! This application is to be completed by those who received their previous or current guide dog from Southeastern Guide Dogs. If your current or previous guide dog was provided by another school, but you wish to now apply to Southeastern, please go back and complete the application for a new guide dog.

Southeastern Guide Dogs is committed to providing you with exceptional customer service as you navigate our application process.  The information below will provide you with a clear understanding and checklist of items needed to help expedite your application process.

Please review the information below thoroughly.


1. Eligibility

To qualify for a Southeastern Guide Dog, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Degree of visual impairment: You must be considered legally blind.*

Age: Mature teens aged 15 – 17 may apply to our youth guide dog program, and adults 18 and up may apply to our guide dog program, with no upper age limit.

State of residence: You must reside in one of the 48 contiguous United States.

Orientation and mobility skills: You must have completed formal Orientation and Mobility training, and must be able to demonstrate your ability to travel and live independently.

Need and desire: You must have a legitimate need for assistance with traveling independently; a desire to increase and enhance your mobility and independence; and a realistic plan for use of a guide dog.

Physical ability: You must be in good physical health; have sufficient strength, flexibility and coordination to be a guide dog's sole handler and be able to walk several blocks at a time.**

 Learning ability: You must have the ability to learn dog training concepts and apply them consistently, and have the cognitive abilities to work with and handle a guide dog appropriately.

Financial ability: You must have the ability to financially cover the expenses associated with the maintenance and care of a guide dog including food, monthly preventatives and veterinary expenses (approximately $900 to $1,200 a year).

Home environment: You must be able to provide a safe, loving, healthy and stable home for a guide dog. Your home must have no more than two other dogs.

Travel environment: Your travel routes must be safe for a guide dog team.

History: You must have no felony convictions, charges/history of violent crime, or protection orders against you.

*Legal blindness is defined as visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best correction possible or a field of vision of 20 degrees or less.

**Exceptions are made for individuals who travel in a wheelchair and have had a previous wheelchair guide from Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Please be aware that any of the following conditions automatically disqualify the applicant from acceptance:
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

2. Application

The applicant must complete the enclosed forms:

  • Successor Guide Dog Application
  • Release of Information Form (Consent form)
  • Release of Indemnification Form

Additional materials which will be required are:

  • Updated Medical report from your Primary Care Physician

In addition to the completion of the enclosed forms, all applicants must:

  • Successfully complete a criminal background check (applicants who have been convicted of a felony will not qualify for our services)
  • Undergo a pre-admission home interview to be conducted by a Southeastern Guide Dogs' staff member

3. Acceptance

Upon receipt of the fully completed application and the in-home interview, this information will then be evaluated by a Review Committee. Once the committee has formally accepted the applicant to the program, the applicant will be contacted by the Admissions Department.

Applicants who do not meet our eligibility requirements or standards may be denied service via letter at any time during the application process.

Please note that the initial phase of the application process can take up to 2 months, and the wait to be matched with a dog and invited to class could take up to one year. If you experience a change in any contact information, please advise the Admissions Department as soon as possible so that we may keep your information current.

4. Training Time

We recommend that all students (returning or new) attend the twenty-one day (21) day training course.

Students reside in comfortable, single-occupancy rooms.  Class sizes vary in size from 7-9 students with 3-4 trainer/instructor(s).

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 stay.

Once graduated from Southeastern Guide Dogs, the maintenance of the guide dog and all associated medical expenses become the graduate's responsibility.  We estimate this cost to be between $900 – $1,200 annually.

6. Transportation

The applicant, once accepted, is responsible for travel costs to and from the school. If this will cause a hardship at the time of invite, possible flight assistance may be available.