Who Qualifies for a Service Dog?

SERVICE DOG ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for a service dog, an individual must:

  • Be at least 12 years of age unless service dog is needed for a child with autism (see below)
  • Have a diagnosed physical disability, anxiety disorder such as PTSD, debilitating chronic illness, or neurological disorder affecting at least one limb
  • Reside in a stable home environment
  • Be physically and cognitively capable of participating in the process of training, up to one hour per day
  • Be able to independently command and handle a service dog
  • Be able to meet the physical, emotional, and financial needs of a service dog
  • Have no other dog in the home (other animals as pets are permitted)

 

SERVICE DOG FOR CHILD WITH AUTISM ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for a service dog, a child with autism must:

  • Be 6-12 years old
  • Have no other dog in the home (other animals as pets are permitted)
  • Be enrolled in an ongoing education program
  • Be enrolled in a speech, physical, occupational or recreational therapy program
  • Have strong family support
  • Have a parent, guardian, or sibling over 18 who resides in the home trained as a facilitator
  • Have no other dog in the home (other animals as pets are permitted)

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR OBTAINING OR TRAINING A SERVICE DOG

 

When The Dog Knowledge Service Dog Foundation receives a request to consider either finding a potential service dog or training the family pet for a specific service, we begin the process by telling the clients that any dog that The Dog Knowledge Service Dog Foundation certifies for service must first produce a letter from a physician somewhat like a prescription for medicine.

In other words, qualified physician who has treated a patient with a disability in the past 6 months in the field of the disability, stating that the patient has a specific disability and would benefit from an assistance from a service dog.  The physician's letter must state exactly what specific tasks the dog is required to master to provide the needed assistance.

In the opinion of The Dog Knowledge Service Dog Foundation this letter from a physician, stating that someone has a disability and requires the specific services of a service or assistance dog is similar to someone who applies to social security for disability benefits.

This signed and dated letter (prescription) is presented along with the downloaded application form and submitted to The Dog Knowledge Service Dog Foundation for review. The Dog Knowledge Service Dog Foundation may possibly ask for follow-up information and determines the urgency of the service need, etc. and begins the process of locating a suitable dog for training and if at all possible set up a meeting with the recipient and the dog to determine compatibility.

Not every dog is suitable for every recipient. If the recipient requires a mobility dog for stability, retrieval, etc. then most likely we would lean toward a match with a 60+ pound dog. If recipient has peanut allergies and needs a dog to sweep a room for traces of allergens then we might match that recipient with a smaller dog. Just as size of dog is important, a dog's natural, inherent traits are taken into consideration when matching a dog to an individual.