Apply for a Service Dog

PLEASE NOTE: Travel to Englewood, Colorado is required as part of the Freedom Service Dog training program.

A completed background check for all adults in the household 18 years of age and older is required in order for us to schedule an interview. Once you complete the application, each individual who needs to complete a background check will receive the link via email. A conviction will not necessarily prevent you from receiving a dog.  

FSD will keep your entire application confidential. Your video/photo and written application will become the property of Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.

Freedom Service Dogs provides full public access service dogs for the following

  • Individuals with mobility challenges from muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries and other issues
  • Veterans and active duty military to mitigate service related physical injuries as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury
  • Children and teens between the ages of 5 and 18 on the autism spectrum or with other neurocognitive disabilities

We do not provide service dogs for the following

  • Seizure detection
  • Allergy detection
  • Blood sugar detection
  • Hearing impairment
  • Vision impairment
  • Emotional support
  • Psychiatric support
  • Non-military civilians diagnosed with PTSD
  • Vision impairment
  • Emotional support
  • Psychiatric support
  • Non-military civilians diagnosed with PTSD
  • Seizure detection
  • Allergy detection
  • Blood sugar detection
  • Hearing impairment

To start the process clients must submit a complete application. The application must be completed in one sitting. We do require a medical/mental health assessment, letters of references and a photo/video portion. Interviews will be scheduled only when all portions of the application have been received.

FAQs: Applying for a Service Dog

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about applying for a service dog from Freedom Service Dogs. We encourage you to read through this list before filling out an application.

We train dogs for mobility disabilities, Veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries, and children and teens on the autism spectrum and other neurocognitive disabilities.

Start by completing an application. Once you have completed the application and submitted it to us, we will schedule an interview with you. If you live in Colorado, we will ask you to come to our facility for the interview. If you live out of state, we will conduct the interview via SKYPE.

Once we have interviewed you, our team will determine if we can meet your needs and if we are a good fit for one another. If the answer is yes, we will send you an acceptance letter and put you on our waitlist. If the answer is no, we will send you a letter explaining why we cannot accept you as a client.

Once you are accepted, the wait time will depend on the program in which you are participating. Please note wait times are generally 12-18 months; however, if you need a dog for brace and balance, have specific breed or size requirements, or need particularly challenging or complex tasks, the wait time can be longer.

When we think we have a dog for you, we will ask you to come to our facility and meet the dog. If you live out of state, travelling to Colorado to meet your potential dog is a requirement of the program. If you and your dog love each other, then we consider that a match and prepare for placement class. If you don’t feel like the dog is the right fit for you, or the dog seems uncomfortable for any reason, we will keep looking for another match for you.

  1. Traditional: The FSD trainer works with the dog for 6 – 9 months and the client will participate in a two-week placement class at the FSD facility with an additional week taking place in the home of the client. If you live out of state, all travel and lodging expenses will be your responsibility. During the two-week group placement class, we will teach how to work with your dog, take care of your dog and go on public outings. After the 2 week class is over, your trainer will come and work with you in your home or community for a third week regardless of where you live. After that, we offer lifetime support for all of our dogs, so if any issues arise, we will help you address them.
  2. Disco’s Dogs: This program is for families with a child on the autism spectrum or with other neurocognitive disabilities. In this training program, the family will participate in a 26 week training program. Participants are required to live within driving distance of the FSD facility or be willing to temporarily move to allow for full participation in the program.
  3. Operation Full Circle: This program is for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. In this training program, the veteran will participate in a 16 week training program. Participants are required to live within driving distance of the FSD facility or be willing to temporarily move to allow full participation in the program.

We do not charge a fee for our dogs. If you live out of state, all travel and lodging expenses will be your responsibility. We do not have lodging on-site but we are happy to recommend lodging options.

No, you do not need to be rich. Many of our clients live on some type of fixed income. However, you must be financially stable enough to provide for your dog’s needs. This includes daily needs like food and treats, as well as emergency medical care.

Once we have interviewed and accepted you, the wait time depends on the training program in which you are participating but the typical wait is 12-18 months. However, if you are looking for a dog for brace and balance, have specific breed or size requirements, or need particularly challenging or complex tasks, the wait time can be longer.

Unfortunately, coming to our facility to meet a dog and the subsequent training/placement class are both requirements of our program. Our staff is simply too small to travel all over the country to try and match dogs and place them. We are happy to discuss your options with you and recommend service dog agencies that may be closer to where you live.

Most of our dogs come from rescues and shelters in Colorado and the surrounding states. Therefore, we work with many different types of breeds and many mixed breed dogs. Most of our dogs are 40lbs and larger and between 1-2 years old. Smaller dogs may be available for children on the autism spectrum or with other neurocognitive disabilities.

You can give us input into what type of dog you would like, but there is no way for us to guarantee a specific breed of dog. If you are very particular about what type of dog you want, the wait time can increase dramatically.

No, we cannot train dogs that are currently owned by individuals. If you want to train your personal dog, please visit assistancedogsinternational.org to find a program that can help.

No, we cannot accept dogs to train for specific individuals. Our selection process is extremely rigorous and the likelihood of a dog you choose meeting our criteria is slim. Additionally, if we accept a dog that is slated for you specifically, then that would mean bypassing the waitlist and receiving a dog from us long before others who have been waiting for their dog.

Yes, we do. We serve children as young as 5 years of age through our Disco’s Dogs training program. However, we have a 12 year age minimum for our Traditional training program. 

In most cases, no. For safety reasons (both for the dog and the child) we cannot allow a child to be in control of a dog in a public place without a parent present.

No, we do not allow tethering. Although our dogs are extremely well trained, there are always circumstances where a dog can bolt (either because they are scared, or because SQUIRREL!) and that would present a very unsafe situation for the child.

We train dogs for Veterans with PTSD. At this time we are not training dogs for PTSD for the general public.

We do not. The only mental health diagnosis we train for is veterans with PTSD. If depression or anxiety are a part of your physical disability, we will not disqualify you. However, if you have a significant or severe mental health disorder, it may disqualify you from getting a dog from us.

We do not. Technically under the Americans with Disabilities Act, emotional support dogs do not have public access as they have not been trained specifically to mitigate a disability.

We do train therapy dogs for professional and/or licensed therapists and mental health professionals for use in their practice. FSD therapy dogs are trained to work with a professional therapist (psychiatrist, psychologist, occupational therapist, etc) to act as a therapeutic partner in their practice. A therapy dog is not meant to provide “therapy” to one single individual.

No, we do not train any type of medical alert dogs.

No, we do not train guide dogs for the blind.

No, we do not train dogs for the deaf.

No, we do not train any type of medical alert dogs.

Unfortunately, we cannot. Training dogs for other types of service requires a different set of training skills that we are not set up to accommodate.

Not necessarily. We take each applicant’s criminal history on a case-by-case basis. If you have a history of animal abuse or violent behavior towards people, it may disqualify you as that is a safety concern for both our dogs and our staff. 

Yes, you are still welcome to apply. However, we ask that applicants have at least 1 year of sobriety before we will accept you onto the waitlist.

No, you do not need to get rid of any pets you currently own. We will find a dog for you that fits the current make-up of your household. However, we do ask that you not ADD any new pets to your home after you have been accepted.

No, we will not try and convince anyone that this is the right path for them. Getting a service dog is a long, arduous process. Bringing a service dog into your home is like bringing a very smart 2-year-old toddler home to live with you. If you are not 100% dedicated to the process, you will not be a successful team.

It costs us approximately $30,000 dollars to train and place a service dog.

All of our funding comes from donations. Most of this funding comes from private donations, family foundations, and some government grants. 

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