Restoring Hope and Connections
Gaining confidence from these service dogs, veterans living with PTSD expand their lives, regain mobility and independence and re-integrate into their communities.
Our Service Dogs program is one that has been designed to provide dogs to veterans living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We have seen substantial success placing dogs with servicemen and women whose PTSD prevented them from returning to their previously active lifestyle. These dogs help prevent or combat emotional overload using on-command tactile stimulation, assist the veteran in leaving/exiting anxiety-causing situations or locations, and provide tactile stimulation/mediation/sensory reintegration and orientation to time/place during dissociative episodes — all while offering their unconditional support and unceasing handler focus.
Our service dogs offer love and loyalty, and respond to commands that help restore stability and wellbeing. In public places or unfamiliar territory, the dogs check ahead and around corners for potential encounters that could become problematic for their handlers. The dogs’ physical needs provide a daily rhythm of structure and exercise. Our veterans report powerful stories of reconnecting with family and society once again.
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.
Please read through all of the below eligibility and requirements information below before you apply for a service dog.
What people are saying…
“When chronic pain and PTSD collide in an existential crisis, medication and talk therapy are simply not enough. Foley fills the gap in traditional treatment as his mindfulness leads the way to healing.”Morgan Watt with Service Dog Foley
Service Dog Information
In order to qualify for our Service Dog program, an applicant must:
- Be active, retired, or inactive Military (Honorably Discharged)
- Have been diagnosed with and be in on-going treatment for US Military service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by a licensed health care professional
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Reside in one of the 48 contiguous United States
- You must have no felony convictions, history/charges of violent crime, or protection orders against you.
- 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 an in-home interview with a certified service dog trainer
- Be able to complete a 12-day training course in Palmetto, FL
- 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.
The applicant must complete this Veteran Service Dog Application, which includes:
- Three (3) Personal References
- Mental health care provider ’s name and contact information
- Primary care physician’s name and contact information
- Consent Form
- Documentation of Military Service (an Official Memo signed by your Commanding Officer) is required of active military personnel; DD-214 must be provided for retired or separated service members)
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 and supporting documents as well as the completion of the phone screening and in-home interview, our Admissions Committee will evaluate your candidacy. Please note it can take up to two months to process your application. Once the committee has accepted you into the program, you will be contacted to discuss the next steps.
Once we have matched a dog to suit your needs and lifestyle, 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, Florida campus for 10 days of specialized training. During this training, you will 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 the school to you.
Southeastern Guide Dogs provides its dogs and training to students free of charge. The school will provide the dog, equipment, training, housing and all meals during training.
Once adopted, the maintenance and care of the service dog and all associated medical expenses become the responsibility of the handler. We estimate this cost to be between $900 and $1,200 annually.
Once accepted, the applicant is responsible for transportation to and from our Palmetto, Florida campus. If this creates a hardship, we may be able to assist you with your transportation needs.
To fill out an application, please go here.