Veteran Candidate Selection Process


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.


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:

  1. Application Form

  2. Counseling Agreement

  3. DD-214

  4. VA Disability Letter

  5. Disclosures, waiver, and agreements package

  6. 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


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.

2 thoughts on “Veteran Candidate Selection Process”

  1. So there is no medical requirement to get a service animal through your organization? Dr’s order prescription or other documentation just the vets word they need one? Sounds shady and not in line with ADA laws if that is the case.

    1. Dear Concerned Veteran,

      Please re-read the page; as for medical requirements, we DO require a Veteran’s Administration Disability letter; if there is none, our application process DOES require documentation for the need; that is all part of the vetting process. In our application packet, as well as during the interview process, this is discussed with the candida

      As for ‘shady’ and not in line with ADA guidelines (they are classified as ‘requirements’ and ‘rules’, not laws) that were issued in 2010 (, dogs do not qualify as service dogs if they are just for emotional support/PTSD; this has recently been challenged, and is being updated. Here in Texas, it has already been pushed forward to expand the definition of Service Dogs (

      We do not just give a dog to anyone who says they need one; our selection process for both the dogs and veteran candidates are both involved, and focused on the ability to provide a genuine aid for a genuine need. There MUST be documentation provided that there is this need, and even then, that is NO guarantee that a service dog can/will be provided, as a candidate must meet the qualifications of our program (such as the ability to care for the dog, the desire to continue counseling with their chosen medical professional, and their willingness to train alongside the dog, which can be a rigorous process).

      We welcome any other concerns you may wish to discuss, and thank you for your comment and desire to verify the veracity of our mission!

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Man’s Best Friend Helping Soldiers in Need A 501(c)3 Not-For Profit Organization