Our Mission

Merlin’s KIDS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing individually trained service dogs to those in need.

Merlin’s KIDS transforms the lives of dogs by rescuing them from shelters, training them and giving them a very meaningful purpose to their lives. These special dogs in turn help transform the lives of both the children and the adults they serve with a lifelong commitment to love, care for and assist the following:

  • Children with autism and other special needs

  • Victims of violence and abuse with our Courtroom Cortisol Canine Program

So in essence, the dogs save the kids and the kids save the dogs; It's a match made in heaven!

Our Approach

Merlin’s KIDS is renowned for the ability to extensively evaluate and specially train service dogs to meet each client’s special or unique combination of needs. Often the duties of an MK service dog are multi-faceted.

We work very hard to make the individual match a great one.  We don't have an "autism dog" or "mobility dog" .- we look at each individual's needs and train dogs on tasks specifically for them.

First, dogs must be trained to pass rigorous standards on 17 tasks that all dogs need, and ensure that they pass public access exposure criteria.  Our natural canine behavior approach is very successful in this training, so a high percentage of dogs, even those rescued from shelters, move on to the ultimate role of individual service dog.

From there, we look at what the individual service dog applicant needs, and do some meet-and-greets with dogs to ensure a strong bond.  We train the dog on tasks and continue with training for the dog, handler, and family, for at least a year.  Much of the individual training occurs at the home of the handler, where the dog will need to perform his or her duty.

This process is long and expensive, but the reward of that final match is priceless!