Sharing Comfort and Companionship
When veterans need a companion to alleviate symptoms of a disability, our emotional support dogs warm the heart and soothe the soul.
With the help of an emotional support dog, veterans are able to improve their physical, social, and emotional wellbeing as they find companionship, relieve loneliness, and help mitigate chronic stress, anxiety, depression, or other limitations.
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 of our application process and provide you with a checklist of the items that we will need to expedite your acceptance into our program.
The applicant must understand that an Emotional Support Animal has limited access rights under Fair Housing and the Air Carrier’s Access Act (ACAA), but does not have the same access rights as Service Animals under the ADA Laws.
Read through all of the eligibility and requirements information below before requesting an application via email to our Admissions & Graduate Services Department.
Emotional Support Dog Information
In order to qualify for this service, the applicant must:
- Be active, retired or inactive military
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Reside in one of the 48 contiguous United States
- Submit a letter, on your physician’s letterhead, recommending an emotional support dog for the applicant (sample letter can be provided upon request). The letter must be dated within the past 12 months.
- Have no felony convictions
The applicant must complete the Paws for Patriots™ Emotional Support Dog Application. This application includes:
- Personal information about the applicant
- Three (3) Personal References
- Physician’s name and contact information
- Consent Form
- HireRight Consent Form (criminal background authorization)
- Documentation of Military Service (DD-214 for retired or separated military or a memo from the Commanding Officer on letterhead for active duty military)
In addition to the completion of the application, additional applicant screening will include a pre-admission phone interview and in-home evaluation with a Southeastern Guide Dogs staff member.
Upon receipt of the fully completed application, all supporting documentation, phone screening and the in-home interview, our Admissions Department will evaluate your candidacy. Once accepted, you will be contacted by Southeastern staff to discuss the next steps. If your acceptance is denied, you will receive written notice of the decision within 2 weeks.
Please note that the application process can take up to several months. In the meantime, if you experience a change in your contact information, please advise the school as soon as possible so that we may keep your information current. You may make changes to your contact information either by email to Allison.Aldrich@guidedogs.org or by calling 941.803.7539.
Once Southeastern Guide Dogs has identified a dog which may be a good match, you will be contacted by Southeastern Guide Dogs to schedule your on-campus training. Our training program will require your attendance at Southeastern Guide Dogs’ Palmetto, FL campus for 3 days of specialized instruction. During this time, you will work with our trainers to learn basic obedience and proper care and maintenance of your dog. 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.
Southeastern Guide Dogs provides its dogs and training to the recipients free of charge. The school will provide your dog, equipment, training, housing and all meals free of charge during your time with us.
Once you adopt an emotional support dog from Southeastern Guide 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, which includes food, toys and monthly preventatives.
The accepted 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. If you plan to fly, we can arrange to pick you up at the airport (Tampa, Sarasota, or St Petersburg).
To request an application, send an email to our Admissions and Graduate Service department at email@example.com.