Is a service dog right for you?
At Southeastern Guide Dogs, we understand the life-altering impact of a well-matched service dog partnership. Whether you’re seeking your first service dog or are a returning handler, our service dogs are not just pets; they are highly trained companions that provide support, companionship, and empowerment. Each service dog partnership is crafted with dedication, love, and a deep understanding of its handler’s unique needs, forming a connection that goes far beyond ordinary bounds.
Taking the first step toward a partnership with a service dog is a significant decision. That’s why we’ve created a simple 10-15 minute pre-assessment to help you explore if a service dog aligns with your lifestyle and specific needs. There’s no obligation, just an opportunity to discover the extraordinary difference a service dog can make for you.
The path to a rewarding partnership starts with understanding. Our service dogs are more than just animals; they are steadfast allies, assistants, and enhancers of a more fulfilling daily living. The relationship between a service dog and its handler is founded on trust and collaboration, enabling you to embrace life with greater assurance and capability.
At Southeastern Guide Dogs, we’re committed to supporting you at every stage. Our team of professionals welcomes both new handlers and those experienced with our service dogs, ready to assist you from your initial pre-assessment to the moment you meet your new four-legged teammate.
Embrace the opportunity for a more independent and enriched life today. Uncover how Southeastern Guide Dogs can open new doors for you by taking just a few moments with our pre-assessment. Ready to embark on your transformational journey?
Service Dog Eligibility Criteria
- Military Affiliation: You must be a military retiree, inactive military personnel, or transitioning back to civilian life within the next three months.
- Residency: You must currently reside in the United States or the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
- Military Service Confirmation: A DD214 document confirming your military service is required. Eligibility for Southeastern Guide Dogs’ services excludes those with Bad Conduct or Dishonorable Discharges from the military.
- Criminal Background Check: We conduct a criminal background examination and a felony conviction results in automatic disqualification. Other offenses are evaluated based on their nature and severity.
- Mental Health Treatment: In case of a history of persistent thoughts of self-harm or suicidal ideations within the past year, a minimum of one year of ongoing mental health treatment is required.
- Sobriety Confirmation: Documentation confirming a minimum of one year’s continuous sobriety is required if you have had challenges related to substance misuse.
- Comfort with Large Dogs: You should be comfortable and proficient in handling a large-breed dog weighing 50 to 80 pounds.
- Physical Stamina: Having physical stamina for regularly participating in physically demanding outdoor activities, such as long walks, is required. For this reason, please note that we do not currently place service dogs with individuals receiving dialysis. We want to ensure the safety and well-being of both the individual and the service dog.
- Additional Dogs: Service dogs are only placed in homes with up to two additional dogs. This ensures that your service dog can focus on their duties and provide you with the best possible support.
- Safe and Supportive Environment: A safe, loving, and stable home environment with the support of all household members is required.
- Interview Requirement: Participation in an in-depth phone or home interview is necessary during the application process.
- Online University Training: You are required to complete our comprehensive Online University service dog training program before attending in-person training.
- In-Person Training: Full engagement in our rigorous 10-day training course is necessary for a successful partnership.
- Ongoing Communication: You must communicate with us at least once a year for the duration of the partnership.
- Expenses and Care: While we provide your service dog with high-quality food, vaccinations, and annual veterinary wellness visits, you must be able to cover any additional expenses related to the ongoing care and maintenance of your service dog.