Cover photo for illustrative purposes only.
Looking for a good boy or girl to keep you company? Sometimes even the sweetest pupper just doesn't quite meet the strict requirements to become a service animal. If you are looking for a new forever friend, you can apply to adopt a service dog who did not make it through training from Southeastern Guide Dogs through their Public Adoption Program.
Most service animals have requirements that they must meet in order to graduate and go on to help people in their day to day lives; they go through extensive training to make them the perfect little helper. Sometimes though these animals fall just short of the requirements for reasons such as fear of children, animals, and other objects or easily distracted by people. These furbabies still need a job or a home!
Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto Florida is dedicated to finding forever homes for the ones that don't make the cut through their Public Adoption Program. To adopt a dog you must submit an application - you just mark what you're looking for and they put you on a waiting list for when a dog becomes available.
If a happy fur-baby is ready to come home with you, they'll reach out by email to arrange for you to visit the dog before adoption. If no dog becomes available that year, they will reach out and let you know as well as see if you're still interested in staying on the wait list for the following year.
All dogs adopted will have been trained to some degree - most know all the basic commands like 'sit' and 'stay'; others may be more advanced. The best part: all dogs available for public adoption are housebroken. That means fewer accidents to worry about!
The waiting list can be quite long if you're looking for something specific, sometimes upwards to 3-5 years. Those who are less selective will be placed with their new pet much sooner. If you're willing to take on a dog with potential health issues, this will also speed up the process.
Adopting a failed service animal isn't cheap though. Southeastern requires a $5000 recovery fee; which goes towards replacing the time and money that went into raising the animal through basic needs costs, vaccinations, training time or medical care. It also helps to support them moving forward with training more service animals to help people all over the world like a good doggo.
According to the organization's manager of media relations, all of their services are provided for visually impaired individuals and veterans with disabilities at absolutely no cost.*
"We estimate the overall cost of creating our superhero guide and service dogs to be in the tens of thousands of dollars over a two year period. That is why the $5,000 recovery fee is charged for a public adoption. It helps us to defray expenses because we accept no government funding and rely upon the generous gifts of individuals, donors and foundations for our funding."
If the wait time and cost to adopt through Southeastern seem a little high, they do suggest another place called Gulf Coast Golden Retriever Rescue that has adoption costs for as little as $325 or less for a Senior Dog (7-10 years) and shorter wait times.
For more information or to submit an application to adopt, check out Southeastern Guide Dog's website.
*Editor’s note: This story has been updated.