The Process:

  • Please complete the Veteran Service Dog Application.

    • Applications will be processed by our committee.

  • If you meet our eligibility guidelines, we will email a full application packet. This will require documentation from your medical professional recommending that you would benefit from a service dog.

    • Allow a minimum of 30-60 calendar days to review your full application packet.

    • A completed application does NOT guarantee a service dog.

  • Once we have received your completed application packet, medical documentation, and other required documents, our committee will review.

  • If pre-approved, you will be contacted for a phone interview to schedule a Personal Evaluation with our founder, Janice Wolfe.

    • To check on your approval status, please contact us here.

  • The Personal Evaluation will be held in New Jersey or Missouri.

    • Other opportunities may be available depending on Ms. Wolfe's travel schedule. This would incur additional costs.

    • During your personal evaluation, you will meet our evaluation team, Ms. Wolfe, Merlin's KIDS trained staff, and some of our evaluator dogs. They will determine if you are a good candidate for a Merlin’s KIDS service dog. Questions will be asked regarding your custom needs and ability to care for a dog.

The Application Review Committee will review your application, interview, medical documentation, and possible home visit to determine if you are eligible to receive a Merlin’s KIDS service dog.

Once you are approved, you will be placed on our waiting list.

You should set up a fundraising page to kickstart funding efforts ASAP. Contact us here.

Please follow up frequently to determine when a matched dog has been found. This may occur at your first meeting or may require SEVERAL meetings to determine the best fit dog to serve your needs.

The whole process can take 3 months to over 2 years.

We ask that all applicants assist in fundraising efforts toward the expenses of rescue, rehabilitation, and training of your dog.

Merlin’s KIDS will work with you to ensure the success of you and the dog together with frequent follow-up visits, email, and phone support.

We do not accept phone calls regarding applications.

The Veteran Service Dog Coordinator can be contacted through

If you feel ready to start your journey with us, please fill out the application and let’s begin

Veteran Service Dog Overview

Merlin's KIDS welcomes the opportunity to reach out and touch the life of veterans who have served our country. We thank you and find it a privilege to perhaps give you a companion who will stand by and assist you for life.

There is no out of pocket cost to a veteran for a service dog. Merlin’s KIDS rescues dogs from shelters, rehabilitates, fosters, raises, trains, and places this dog with the perfect veteran match. We do ask that all of our applicants donate and/or fundraise to help offset the cost of each dog we bring into our program.

Potential Candidates:

  •  Served in any branch of the uniformed services including the reserves and national guard

  • Have received an honorable or a general discharge

  • Have a disabling medical condition (does not need to be service-connected)

  • Have been released from all service and reserve obligations

  • Agree to the following:

    • Have a willingness to volunteer, fundraise, and participate in public relations activities for Merlin's KIDS

    • Meet physical and emotional needs of a dog, or have an adequate support system to asssist you

    • Have dog approval from your family/caregivers, employer, and landlord (where applicable)

    • Be willing and able to commit to the training schedule

    • Be able to provide financial support for the dog after ownership has been signed over to you

If you are interested, please read on...

Pay-It-Forward Campaign

We have developed a framework for service dog applicants and those who have received dogs from us to “pay-it-forward” by becoming ambassadors for Merlin’s KIDS. The hope is that a applicant and or recipient who has received a dog from us will, in turn, want to help the next person on the waiting list by raising funds to help us help more people in need. Ways to pay-it-forward might include:

  • Setting up an online fundraising page

  • Social media site

  • Speaking to civic groups in your community on behalf of Merlin’s Kids

  • Attending events hosted by us to help exemplify the work we do

Strategies can be discussed with our Fundraising Coordinator or you can make a donation.