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Southeastern Guide Dogs - Emotional Support Dog Application

About our Admission Process

Welcome to the Southeastern Guide Dogs Emotional Support Dog application.

Southeastern Guide Dogs is committed to providing you with exceptional customer service as you navigate our application process.  The information below will provide you with a clear understanding of our application process and provide you with a checklist of the items that we will need to expedite your acceptance into our program.


1. Eligibility 
In order to qualify for this service, the applicant must:
  • Be retired or inactive military, or approaching retirement within the next 3 months
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Reside in the United States
  • Have an official, written/typed letter from your current physician or mental health professional, specifically stating your need for an “Emotional Support Animal” (a sample letter can be provided directly to the physician provided by us if necessary) 
  • Have no felony convictions, history of violence, or protection orders
  • Have no more than two dogs at the residence
2. Application
The applicant must complete the following application:
  • Personal information about the applicant
  • Three (3) Personal References
  • Physician's contact information
  • Consent Form
The applicant must provide, as part of the application, the following supporting documents:
  • Documentation of Military Service (DD-214 for retired or separated military or a memo from the Commanding Officer on letterhead for active-duty military, stating Active duty status)
  • A copy of the letter from applicant’s physician specifically stating the need for an “Emotional Support Animal” (ESA) (must be on the physician’s letterhead)
The applicant must understand that an ESA has limited access rights under Fair Housing and the Air Carrier’s Access Act (ACAA), but does not have the same access rights as service animals under the ADA Laws. An ESA does not perform tasks to mitigate a disability, therefore, it is not protected under the ADA laws
An ESA is only trained in basic obedience commands and is not permitted to be utilized as a service dog.

3.  Pre-Admission Screening
In addition to the completion of the application, additional applicant screening will include an in-home evaluation with a Southeastern Guide Dogs staff member.


4.  Admission
Upon receipt of the fully completed application, all supporting documentation, phone screening and the in-home interview, our Admissions Department will evaluate your candidacy. Once accepted, you will be contacted by a Southeastern staff member to discuss the next steps. If your acceptance is denied, you will receive written notice of the decision within 2 weeks. 

5. Training 
Once Southeastern Guide Dogs has identified an appropriate dog, you will be contacted by Southeastern Guide Dogs to schedule your training. Our training program will consist of 3 days of specialized training. During this training, you will work with our instructors to learn basic obedience and proper care and maintenance of your dog. Upon completion of the training program, we will execute an adoption agreement, which will transfer ownership of the dog from Southeastern Guide Dogs to you.


6. Costs
Southeastern Guide Dogs provides its dogs and training to students free of charge. The school will provide the dog, equipment, and training. Once you adopt an ESA from Southeastern Guide Dogs, the maintenance of your dog and all associated medical expenses become your responsibility. We estimate this cost to be between $900 and $1,200 annually, which includes food, toys and monthly preventatives.