The Ultimate List: Service Dog Schools With Adoption Programs


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Hopefully, you already read our article about how to adopt a retired service dog.

If not, then take a look at our first article in this series: How Can I Adopt A Retired Service Dog Or Failed Guide Dog?

Can you guide me to an organization in the Central NY area that have dogs that can be adopted that just did not make the cut at a Companion training program? Don’t they go up for adoption? But where? Thanks!

–ST

Lots of blood, sweat, and tears went into the creation of this list.

Are you interested in adopting a career changed service dog? Many people don’t know that not all service dog puppies in training become working dogs. Puppies that don’t make it as service dogs are called career changed and are often adopted to loving families. We compiled a list of service dog schools with adoption programs to help people find adoptable service dogs. #servicedogadoption #guidedogadoption #assistancedogadoption #servicedogschools #careerchangedog #adoptapuppy #puppyadoption
Our ultimate list of service dog schools with adoption programs.

We originally posted this article back in 2016 and we are currently making updates now in late 2023 adding new links to adoption programs as well as updating the old ones.

One thing we noticed as we were updating our list of service dog schools with adoption programs is the adoption fee has increased significantly.

A few years ago the adoption fees were generally in the $500 – $1,000 range.

Today’s list has many programs with adoption fees above $3K and the highest fee we encountered was from Little Angeles Service Dogs at over $8K to adopt one of their career change dogs.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: Before you adopt a puppy or even think about adopting read a good book like Puppies for Dummies. This will give you a solid foundation on how to raise, train, and socialize a puppy. Career change service dogs have a solid foundation in obedience, house manners, and socialization, but you’ll have to maintain this excellence by continuing with your adopted pup’s training.

I scoured many websites to find the exact adoption pages of each service dog organization.

This allows you to just click directly on the link and voila…you’re at either the career change/retired service dog adoption page, the actual adoption form, or a page with more information on the organization’s adoption program.

The Ultimate List Of Service Dog Schools With Adoption Programs

So without further adieu.  Here’s our ultimate list of service dog organizations and their career change/retired service dog adoption page:

California

  • Bergin University – Bergin College of Canine Studies has launched a new rescue dog program. Rescue dogs are trained and placed for adoption.
  • Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) – “Dogs may be released from the program for any number of medical and/or behavioral reasons. This may include orthopedic problems, allergies, cataracts, assertiveness, inappropriate vocalizations, anxiety, and more.  The adoption fee for a released Canine Companions dog is $1,000.”
  • Guide Dogs for the Blind – Most of the dogs are between 1 and 2 years old, and can be any of our breeds: Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador/Golden Cross. The regular adoption fee for these dogs is $2,000.
  • Guide Dogs of America/Tender Loving Canines – Due to the high demand the waitlist is over five years long. GDA is not accepting new applications at this time.
  • Guide Dogs of the Desert (GDD) – GDD no longer has a dedicated adoption page on its website. You can contact them directly by going to their contact page.
  • Little Angels Service Dogs – Little Angels had the highest adoption fee amongst all of the organizations in our research. The $8,000 adoption fee includes flight-delivery or in-person pickup, supplies, training, and lessons.
  • The Sam Simon Foundation – Our professional trainers carefully select our dogs by evaluating them for temperament, health, and eagerness to please. They are rescued from shelters where they are at risk for euthanasia.

Colorado

  • Canine Partners of the Rockies – “Even though our dogs are bred to be working dogs, sometimes they decide they do not want to work to reach the level required for certain skills, or medical reasons do not allow them to continue training.”
  • Freedom Service Dogs of America – Unfortunately, their adoption application is currently closed. Check the link for more information.

Connecticut

Florida

  • Southeastern Guide Dogs – Link to the public adoption page: “Adoptive families incur a $5,000 cost recovery fee to help us recuperate the costs incurred during the dog’s time in our program, including medical expenses, vaccinations, basic care, and basic skills training.”
  • K9s For Warriors – From the adoptable dog’s page: “While many of our dogs go on to become Service Dogs and are paired with a veteran, some dogs do not qualify to live the Service Dog life and are career changed.

Indiana

Kansas

  • KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc. – * We are not currently accepting Career Change applications. Please check back later this year to apply.*

Massachusetts

  • NEADS, Inc. – a “furloughed favorite” is a dog who, for behavioral, temperamental, or medical reasons, doesn’t meet our strict standards to become a working dog. The cost can range from $3,000 or more and varies based on the dog’s age, training level, and comparable retail cost.

Michigan

  • Leader Dogs for the Blind – Link to career change adoption page including information on requirements for adoptees and additional info. on their career change dogs.
  • Paws with a Cause – Link to the PAWS “Adopt a Career Change Dog” page.

Minnesota

  • Can Do Canines Assistance Dogs – Visit this page if you’d like to apply for the adoption of a career change dog.
  • PawPADS – Link to their “Dogs” page with a section for career change dogs.

Missouri

New Hampshire

New Jersey

  • The Seeing Eye – Link to their Adopt a Dog page.  “Qualified applicants may reduce the waiting time and be placed on the VIP adoption list if they have given a gift of $25,000 (USD) or more in the past twenty-four months.”

New York

  • Guide Dog Foundation – This directly links to their dog adoption application page.  “Average wait time on our adoption list is 1-2 years.”
  • Puppies Behind Bars – Link to adopt a release dog page including application. These dogs will be released as pets for a charge of $6,000, and $3,000 for volunteers.

North Dakota

Ohio

  • Circle Tail, Inc. – Direct link to the adoption page including instructions on what to do next and an online application for dogs/puppies for adoption as pets.
  • Pilot Dogs, Inc. – Link to the adoption page.  Adoption fees start at $500.

Oregon

  • Dogs for Better Lives – A direct link to their adoption page. ” Our primary concern is the find the most suitable match for both the dog and the new owner.”
  • The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs – This links to the application for JLAD dogs. There is a link to a form on this page for adopting a career-change dog.

Pennsylvania

  • Canine Partners For Life – Direct link to the adoption page with instructions on how to adopt: “Interested individuals or families who would like to adopt one of CPL’s released dogs should complete a released dog application.

South Carolina

Texas

  • Service Dogs Inc. (SDI) – From the adoption page: “At SDI, we never return a dog to a shelter. Instead, we adopt them out to loving pet homes…”

Virginia

Washington

  • Brigadoon Service Dogs – If you have an interest in giving a forever home to a dog who has been released from the service dog program, please click on the link to indicate your interest should one become available.
  • Summit Assistance Dogs – Link to “Our Dogs” page: “Many people contact us about adopting a dog that did not meet the stringent requirements to become a service dog.  To view our career-changed dogs, please visit our web page at Petfinder.”

Wisconsin

  • OccuPaws Guide Dog Association – The minimum cost for a disqualified dog may range between $0 and $1,000.00  (dogs with severe medical/training issues) and between $2,500.00 and $4,000.00 (dogs with no medical/training issues or problems other than they did not meet the criteria to be a guide dog).

Canada

Sorry, I didn’t separate this section by province.  If the section gets much larger or if I get enough requests I’ll update by province.

  • The Ability Center – Direct link to the adoption application
  • Autism Dog Services – Scroll down the linked page for more information on ADS Adoptions.
  • Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind – A link to their career change guide dog page. Dogs are sold for $1,500 plus HST (subject to change).
  • Dogs with Wings – Link to adoption page. Companion Dogs are adopted for $3,000 and come with 1 year of post-adoption support from our professional trainers.
  • Dog Guides – Fees range from $1,000-$1,500, although fees for dogs with medical issues or retiring dogs are assessed case by case.
  • National Service Dogs – Link to career change dog page.  The cost of a VIP is $1,500.

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for check the Assistance Dogs International website for a list of Service Dog programs.

I’ve learned from experience that some organizations do not have an “adopt a career change dog” page on their website, but still have adoptable retired and career change dogs.

Just take a few minutes and call or email an organization and find out if they have an adoption program.

Now I need your help.

We’d like to expand this list.  Do you know of a service dog organization that has an adoption program?

If so, let us know about it and I’ll update our list.

Also, if you have any experience adopting a career change or retired service dog then tell us your story.

How is your career change dog doing?

How was the adoption process?

Tell us your experience in the comment section below.

That’s the ultimate list of service dog schools with adoption programs! Now if you want more detailed information about how to adopt a career change service dog check out this post.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: Career-changed service dogs have a good foundation in obedience, house manners, and socialization, but before you bring home your new career-change service dog we’d again like to recommend Puppies for Dummies as a good book on the basics of raising and training your new dog or puppy. We read Puppies for Dummies before we brought home our first adopted puppy, Linus.

Related Articles:

Are you interested in adopting a career changed service dog? Many people don’t know that not all service dog puppies in training become working dogs. Puppies that don’t make it as service dogs are called career changed and are often adopted to loving families. We compiled a list of service dog schools with adoption programs to help people find adoptable service dogs. #servicedogadoption #guidedogadoption #assistancedogadoption #servicedogschools #careerchangedog #adoptapuppy #puppyadoption
Interested in adopting a career change service dog? Check out our ultimate list of service dog schools with adoption programs.

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