Application Process

49The application process if you have a physical disability or are a veteran or first responder with PTSD begins with the same first step: Review our eligibility requirements to see if we can accept your application.

Eligibility Requirements

The second step is to submit a letter of interest telling us a little about yourself, your disability and how a service dog would assist you in activities of daily living. Complete a letter of interest online

Letter of Interest

or mail a letter of interest to

Application Department
Helping Paws, Inc.
PO Box 634
Hopkins MN 55343

Please review the information below to see if it answers your questions. If you have additional questions, please contact us by clicking HERE.

  • Helping Paws will determine if your situation and needs are a good fit for a Helping Paws service dog and if so, we will send you an application.
  • Complete the application form and submit it along with a $50 fee. Under no circumstances will this application fee be refunded.
  • Helping Paws will review the application and will schedule qualified applicants for a personal in-home interview.
  • Helping Paws requires four references: family, friend, professional, and medical.
  • Once the references are received and the file is complete, Helping Paws staff will review the application; a letter will be sent to the applicant either approving or declining the application. If approved, the applicant is placed on our waiting list and enters the next phase, which is Matching. See Matching and Team Training to learn more about this process.
  • When an application for a service dog is declined, the decision is promptly communicated to the applicant without explanation or reason, unless the Director of Programs, in his or her discretion, determines that some explanation is appropriate.

The Waiting Period

Sometimes the waiting period for a Helping Paws service dog can be as long as three years. This is due to the length of time necessary to raise and train each dog. It is critical to find the right match for each applicant, and Helping Paws reserves the right to find this perfect match.

Previously approved applicants may be removed from the waiting list if

  • the applicant has been on the waiting list for more than 2 years and Helping Paws is unable to provide the right match.
  • Helping Paws is not able to provide routine follow-up in the applicant’s geographic area.
  • Staff limitations cause us to reassess our ability to place a service dog with the applicant.
  • During the application process, the applicant is not able to demonstrate that they can use a service dog.