The DAWG Foundation has an intensive candidate selection process for both prospective recipients (prospects) and dogs. In this section, we will discuss the application process for our human candidates.
Step 1: REQUEST APPLICATION
Via form on website, email, phone, or in person the prospect will obtain a copy of the application.
You can also download the packet here: DAWG New Applicant Pkg.
Step 2: Return Application Packet
Complete and return the FULL, COMPLETED PACKET, including:
VA Disability Letter
Disclosures, waiver, and agreements package
- 3 Letters of Reference from personal, reputable sources citing why they feel the candidate would benefit from partnering with a service dog, and their confidence in the candidate’s ability to properly care for the animal.
Step 3: Vetting Process & Send Pre-Interview Questionnaire
This is a ‘waiting period’ for the prospect, where the Foundation is processing paperwork, checking references, and setting up for the interview process. The Veteran Advocate will send over a pre-interview questionnaire to be filled out and sent back prior to the interview being scheduled.
Step 4: Schedule Interview
Upon return of completed pre-interview questionnaire, one of the Foundation Directors will contact the Prospect to set up an interview.
Step 5: Interview
Prospect will have a face-to-face interview with the Foundation Veteran Advocate, one of the canine Trainers, and a Board Member. This is an opportunity for the Prospect and the Foundation to explore:
(a) discuss the Prospect’s history and needs
(b) set expectations for the training process
(c) discuss the care and needs of a service dog
BASIC CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTANCE
To be considered for entry into the program as a Trainee, a veteran must meet the following basic criteria (this is NOT a comprehensive list):
(a) Demonstrated need for a service/emotional support dog
(b) Affinity for dogs
(c) The ability to be financially responsible for, and physically care for and manage the dog
(d) Psychological and emotional stability necessary to benefit from the services of a support dog
(e) Ability and Desire to attend and learn from the training course
(f) Ability to attend public relations/demonstration events
(g) Willingness to help other trainees during their training process
This Process can be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking this link.
Veteran Advocate: The Veteran Advocate is a DAWG Foundation senior volunteer or Director who has a military background; either as an honorably-discharged veteran, or a currently-active (or reserve) member of the United States military. The Veteran Advocate serves multiple purposes during the interview and selection process, offering advice and consultation for both the candidate and the Foundation concerning military background, DD-214/VA Letter reviews, and the like. The Veteran Advocate tends to be the ‘go-to’ for any matters military-related.
Board Member: Board members are elected members of the DAWG Foundation Board of Directors. During the selection process, the Board Member takes a ‘wide-angle view’ of the candidate’s application, and verifies that the candidate’s needs can actually be met by the Foundation.
Canine Trainer: DAWG Foundation Canine Trainers are authorized by the Foundation (based on their recognized certifications and via approval from the Board of Directors) to select and train dogs for use by our candidates. During the candidate selection process, the Trainer will consult on whether the needs of the candidate can realistically be met by a canine partner, and assess the ‘trainability’ of the candidates themselves. If the candidate already has an existing dog that is being considered for use as the service animal, the Trainer will have final say on whether or not the dog is suitable for the training.