How do I apply for a companion dog?
If a companion dog sounds right for you, here’s everything you need to know about how to apply and the next steps to welcoming one of our friendly dogs into your home. Please take a look at our guidance to see if your family is suitable before you apply.
- Call Guide Dogs advice line on 0800 781 1444
You can also contact us using our online web form. When you contact us, we’ll need to ask some questions to be sure that this is the right service for you and your family.
- Fill in an application form
Next, you’ll be sent an online application form by email to fill in. As part of the application process, we’ll need some information about the other people who live in your household. We’ll also need to see supporting documents such as proof of identity, address, and details of your vision impairment, such as a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI).
- Virtual interview
Once we’ve got your application, we’ll call to ask some follow-up questions and work out if this is the right service for you. We’ll also need to speak to any household members who are going to help care for your dog. We’ll then arrange a virtual home visit using Skype, WhatsApp or another video calling app. We’ll support and help you with whichever app works best for you.
- Attend a Companion Dog Training Session
These sessions take place in one of our training centres and provides an opportunity for you and your household to meet one of our companion dogs. You’ll also learn more about the commitments and responsibilities when looking after a dog for life. Following these sessions, we’ll again discuss whether a canine partnership is right for you and your family.
- Join a Companion Dog Development Session
If your application is successful, you’ll be invited to join a second workshop, delivered via a webinar. This session is designed to give you more information about companion dogs and advice on looking after one of our dogs in your own home.
- Matching with a companion dog
Once you’ve been to all the training sessions, you’ll be matched with one of our companion dogs. We can’t say how long this will take, as it depends on your circumstances and if we have the right dog for your family. When the right dog for you is available, your family will be invited to meet them. If that meeting goes well, you can take the companion dog home with you.
- Placement and partnership assessment
You’ll have at least four weeks to get to know your companion dog and let them settle in properly. Our dogs provide emotional support and unconditional love, and we’re here to check that you, your household and your dog are happy together. Next, you’ll be invited back to the training centre for your partnership assessment, where you may be signed off as a companion dog partnership.
- Companion Dog partnership support
For the entire time that a companion dog lives with you, we offer ongoing partnership support. You’ll be able to contact us if you have any problems, and we’ll carry out annual check-ins to make sure that you, your family and your dog are still enjoying life together.