APPLICATION CHECK LIST
BEFORE APPLYING: THINGS TO KNOW
Freedom Service Dogs trains dogs for the following types of clients:
- Individuals 12 years and older with mobility disabilities such as paralysis, multiple sclerosis, stroke, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury (TBI), amputations, etc.
- Veterans who have been formally diagnosed with post-traumatic stress (PTSD), TBI, or a physical disability.
- Veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD and also have anxiety or depression are welcome to apply.
- Individuals 5 years and older who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and/or other neurocognitive disabilities.
Freedom Service Dogs is unable to provide service dogs at this time for the following conditions:
- Low vision or individuals who are blind.
- Individuals looking for a medical alert dog for a diagnosis such as diabetes, seizures, or severe allergies.
- Individuals who are deaf.
- Individuals with a mental health diagnosis such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc.
- Non-military civilians diagnosed with PTSD.
- Non-military civilians with anxiety and/or depression as their primary diagnosis.
- Dogs for elopement or tracking.
- Individuals with a primary diagnosis of anxiety, depression, or obsessive–compulsive disorder; however, these conditions may be comorbidities of diagnoses listed under Section 1 above.
Types of Service Dogs We Provide
- Mobility Assist:
- We provide custom-trained service dogs to individuals with mobility challenges resulting from cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and traumatic brain injury. Depending on the unique needs of each client, our dogs can be custom trained to perform as many as 65 tasks, including opening and closing doors and drawers, turning lights on and off, retrieving phones, keys, and other items, pushing emergency buttons, and much more. While our dogs can support clients by helping with tasks that require strength and endurance, we cannot serve clients who need brace and balance support.
- Mobility clients must commit to attending a two-week placement class at FSD’s training facility in Englewood, Colorado, where they learn to bond with their service dog and work together. Clients must also be prepared and physically able to provide basic care to their service dog, including regular feeding, exercise, and potty breaks, and to reinforce the training that their service dog has received.
- Autism Assist:
- We provide specially trained service dogs to families who have children age 5 and up on the autism spectrum or with other neurodevelopmental disabilities. Our dogs can help relieve emotional outbursts by redirecting the child’s attention, interrupt repetitive behaviors, improve social skills, increase self-confidence, and more. You must be able to attend two weeks of class in Denver.
- PTSD Assist for Veterans:
- We provide custom-trained service dogs to assist veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, and loss of limbs or mobility due to combat-related injuries. Our highly skilled service dogs can assist veterans who have PTSD by waking them from nightmares, interrupting flashbacks, creating space around them in public places to reduce anxiety, and providing devoted companionship. For veterans with mobility challenges, our service dogs can help with everyday tasks, such as turning lights on and off, opening doors and drawers, retrieving dropped items, and more.
BEFORE APPLYING: COLLECTING DOCUMENTS
In order to complete the online application, you will need to obtain the following documents:
- Two completed Emergency Support Contact forms, signed by a family member or friend
- Two completed Letter of Reference forms, filled out and signed by non-family members
- One Medical History form, signed and submitted by your primary care provider or mental health professional
- Your own basic financial information to fill out our finance worksheet and proof of one month's income
- DD214 for veteran and active duty military applicants only
- A photo of yourself
All of the above documents are required.
THE APPLICATION: WHAT TO EXPECT
- The application is lengthy, so please allow 1 - 3 hours for completion. There will be sections in which you will be asked to download and upload files. If needed, please seek technological assistance from friends and family.
- If you are completing the application on behalf of an individual under the age of 12, please complete it as the individual receiving the dog.
- You do have the ability to save your progress on the application and resume later. Doing so will require you to save a password and email; if you forget your password, please use the “forgot my password” feature in the system. FSD is not able to reset your password for you.
- Once your online application has been submitted, FSD will not review it until we have received the completed Medical Reference form from your practitioner. You are responsible for ensuring your practitioner sends the form to FSD.
AFTER APPLYING: WHAT’S NEXT?
- Upon submission of your application, we will begin reviewing it. Any outstanding items that are required for the application will delay this process.
- Once we have all items, we have several processes to conduct, including a background check of all adults over the age of 18 who live in your home. Please allow time for those processes to be completed.
- If you are found to be an appropriate candidate, you will receive a request for an interview. In this interview, we will continue to ask questions pertaining to you, your needs, and your preferences.