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 veterans 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!

EIN# 26-3493804

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!

Merlin’s KIDS Applicants, Alumni And Supporters

November 26, 2022

November 16, 2022

Great doubleheader SERVICE DOG PLACEMENT week for Merlin’s KIDS Service Dogs! Jen is off in Colorado placing Chester with an adorable little girl, while Janice is in Albany, placing the famous Sliver Oslivia. So many placements this time of year every year! Many more to go, and so many special children we need to help. Only 3 months from the application to the placement! We have such amazing dogs ready to go for special kiddos and veterans!

Help Eliana avoid hospitalization – she needs a service dog!

September 23, 2022

Life can sometimes feel overwhelming for a teen, especially when you have learning and mental health challenges that are sometimes severe enough to warrant hospitalization. Hope is on the horizon as Eliana’s doctors are recommending a service dog. She has been accepted into the program by Merlin’s KIDS and we are seeking donors and sponsors to support the cost of training a dog specifically for her. We appreciate any support so that Eliana can navigate school and social situations, and to keep her out of the hospital. Pending funding, Merlin’s KIDS can place Eliana’s dog within a year! Consider being part of this life changing endeavor by donating today! Support Eliana here.

Future Service Dog Recipient Walks at Graduation with help of Walker

July 27, 2022

We are thrilled to see this update for one of our future service dog recipients! If you would like to support Gabriel in his next milestone of receiving a Merlin’s KIDS Service Dog, please donate using this link. Watch Gabriel walk on Boston25 News!

July 24th Speaking Zayn Walk in Roxbury, NJ

July 16, 2022

Join the walk! Virtual participation opton!

3v3 Basketball Event

July 16, 2022

If you are near Pembroke, MA on August 20th, please consider registering! Thank you to Aidan, a supporter who has chosen Merlin’s KIDS as the beneficiary of this event!

Merlin’s KIDS Service Dogs in Action – June Newsletter

July 3, 2022

Read our latest newsletter here!

Best prom date ever! Annie’s service dog from Merlin’s KIDS!

May 7, 2022

We are so happy for Annie and her service dog George! Earlier this year, Merlin’s KIDS successfully advocated for George, with his years of training, to accompany Annie to school, and now look at them!

Judge Rules Against School That Banned Student’s Essential Service Dog

February 13, 2022

Read About Klaire

February 10, 2022

Klaire was featured in Atlantic Highlands Herald – Family Appeals for Service Dog for Autistic Daughter, to help her live in our non-autistic world