Apply for a Service Dog or a Facility Dog

How do I apply?

  1. Join our applicant pool by completing the form above.  The long-term success of each placement is very important to TLCAD, which is why we utilize an applicant pool rather than a wait list. Each dog, based on his or her individual strengths and personality, is carefully matched with the specific needs and personality of an applicant from this pool. 
  2. Spring and Fall applicant screening. TLCAD strives to increase the number of dogs available for placement to better meet the high demand for service dogs for those in need. At this time, groups of service dogs will become available for placement in the Spring and Fall. Once dogs become available for placement, each  qualified  applicant will be contacted with the option to pursue a service dog at that time.  
  3. Phone screen.  Once TLCAD has received correspondence from all applicants interested in pursuing a dog, phone screens will be conducted to help narrow down the applicants to the most suitable matches.
  4. In-home interview.  In-home interviews are conducted prior to selecting the most suitable match. 

**As our demand for service dogs far outweighs our supply, we encourage applicants to pursue applying for service dogs from multiple organizations to increase their likelihood of obtaining a service dog. For more information, please visit our resources page HERE.

What is the cost?

At this time, other than an  initial processing fee of $500, we do not charge for our dogs. Clients are responsible for the cost of all required supplies and equipment for their dog as well as the cost of travel, lodging and meals for Team Training (click HERE for more information).

Because the cost to TLCAD to train one dog is  any where from $10,000-$28,000 per dog (depending on the length of time the dog spent in training), we do encourage clients to make donations, sign media waivers, apply for funding from sponsors and occasionally speak at events. 

Do I qualify?

  • TLCAD only places service dogs with wounded service members and individuals with autism or facilities who service individuals with disabilities.  
  • Children with autism must be at least 5 years old to be eligible to apply.
  • Because our placements are so personalized, we only accept applicants who reside near our training locations. At this time, applicants must live in either San Diego County or within 60 miles of Ione, CA.  
  • TLCAD does not specifically train and place hypoallergenic dogs and thus can not accommodate those with sensitivities or allergies to dogs. 

If I am selected to receive a service dog, what is my commitment requirement?

All service and facility dog recipients are required to attend TLCAD’s  Team Training.   TLCAD’s 3–phase Team Training  model  prepares  clients  to effectively utilize a service dog to mitigate the symptoms of their disability  and increase independence in all environments.  Team Training sessions take place twice per year in the Spring and Fall,  when dogs in  training become ready for placement.  It is important to note that phase 1 of Team Training requires that the client travel to and  reside in a hotel (at their own expense) located near  one of  TLCAD’s two sites,  in either San Diego or the Greater Sacramento Area, for  5 days of intensive training.  For more information about Team Training and requirements, click:

Service Dog Team Training                                   Facility Dog Team Training  

At any time during the placement process, TLCAD has the right to end the placement and retain ownership of a dog if specific guidelines, policies or criteria set forth by TLCAD are not being met.