The application, wait time, and handler training process:
1. The first step is to request an application at the bottom of this page. We will send you the appropriate
application for your disability which will require information on your disability, your living situation, and information
gathered from your references and medical provider(s). We may also ask you for a video in lieu of a home-inspection.
2. If your application and documentation lead us to believe that one of our dogs can assist you we will
schedule a phone interview and consultation. The interview and consultation allows us to ask any further questions
to ensure a good fit with our program, and will allow us to confirm that you have realistic expectations of how a
service dog can assist you. This gives us the opportunity to explain what an average day with a service dog will be
like by going over the details of a regular day for you, and the different tasks the service dog would need to be
trained in to assist you. Each applicant is an individual and this process enables us to personalize the application
process to your needs.
3. If you, your medical provider, and Little Angels still agree that a service dog is in your best interest we
would then write out a customized contract going over all details for you to review. This is when we would ask you to
take your time and discuss all of your options with friends and family. We want to make sure this is the right decision
for you. You can take days, or even months to weigh your options. A service dog can bring life-changing assistance
to someone with a disability - but it is a decision that will affect you for the life of the dog.
4. If you decide to move forward we would have you return the contract with a nonrefundable deposit of
$500.00. Once we are done with the fundraising efforts this amount is gifted back to you so that you do not need to
pay to receive a dog, however the deposit shows us your commitment to the program. This deposit reserves your
spot on our waiting list, and helps us plan out the amount of dogs needed in our program based on the amount of
recipients on our waiting list. Wait times vary based on fundraising, the training each dog needs to receive to help
their disabled recipient, the specific needs of the recipient, and when dogs are graduating from the program.
5. Once the dog is done with its training we work together with you every day for 2 weeks in San Diego,
California. These lessons are done on a private basis, and are designed to be low-stress, fun, and practical. This is
for team training - for you and your dog to learn how to work together as a team both in public and at home. This is
also when you are certified by us as a working team, and certified for public access so you can bring the dog with
you into public settings.
6. Continued contact is required with training reports and training assessments throughout the rest of the dog's
life. We have a lifetime commitment to that dog, and its support of you.
Commonly Asked Questions:
Q: What age does the recipient have to be in order to receive a dog?
A: Little Angels places dogs to assist children and adults. Disabled recipients who are not able to be consistent to
reinforce the dog's training will require a handler (facilitator) to care for the dog and issue commands to the dog for
the assistance of the disabled party. Because of this there is not necessarily an age requirement for the disabled
party. Dogs can even alert to seizures in an infant as long as the parent is consistent with training reinforcement.
Q: Can the dog attend school with my child?
A: There are certain situations where service dogs can attend school with a child, but this is not always the case. If
the child cannot safely control the dog on their own there is no legal advocacy for the dog to attend, however, some
schools will voluntarily allow the dog to attend school when a staff member volunteers to handle the dog between
Q: What can the dog do?
A: While our dogs are highly trained, they are not robots. Our recipients and handlers receive very detailed
instruction on how to properly reinforce the training their dog has received.
Our dogs respond to commands, but they are not responsible. They cannot be relied on to protect or guide
individuals away from harm. They care for their recipients, but they are not caregivers. It is the handler's
responsibility to care for the dog, and in return the dog will perform tasks to assist the recipient.
Our dogs are trained for each individual's needs. We train dogs to assist with seizures, autism, hearing, diabetes,
PTSD for veterans and civilians, extreme anxiety disorders, and mobility for those with or without a wheelchair.
Some of these tasks include retrieving items, opening/closing doors, turning on/off lights, dialing assistance dog
phones, retrieving phones, bracing for balance while walking/transferring/getting up off the floor, providing non-
protective boundary control, going around corners in advance of the recipient, alerting to specific sounds, tether
and search training for autism assistance, and providing deep pressure therapy. We also actively train our dogs to
recognize and alert to seizures, drops in blood sugar, panic/anxiety attacks, nightmares and flashbacks. We
successfully use scent training which allows our dogs to recognize seizures in advance for many individuals with
epilepsy. This depends on the type, frequency, and activity of the seizures which will be discussed in the phone
We do not train dogs to work for or guide the blind, or to alert to food allergies.
Q: Is there a cost for the dog?
A: Our goal is to get the dog to you at no cost. The way this is done is through fundraising and donations. We have a
team of over 40 volunteers who help to lower costs associated with the training of each dog, but there are still many
expenses that cannot be avoided.
Before a dog is placed with a disabled recipient we are faced with many expenses, all of which come out to an
average of $24,000.00 per dog. We do not expect you to pay these costs. These expenses are paid for through
fundraising. All donations become a tax deduction to the fullest extent of the law due to our approval as a 501(c)(3)
charitable organization under the IRS. When we receive grants and gifts we allow the donating party to choose
which disability they would like to support. This proves to be an effective way for our supporters to be directly
connected in the process. Most gifts received will only cover a small percentage of the total amount needed per
dog. Because of this we cannot guarantee the amount of time it will take in order to raise funds for each dog,
however if the disabled recipient is able to volunteer as a fundraiser for Little Angels the process usually takes 3-4
months per dog. Our fundraising coordinators are available to directly assist our recipients to raise funds
themselves if they are able to be involved in the process – but fundraising is never a requirement for our
recipients. We do see that the individuals who are able to put forth effort on their own for fundraising will help us to
reach the financial goals sooner, so following through with your own fundraising is recommended, but not a
requirement. Please note that most applicants choose Little Angels over other organizations because of the
opportunity for them to be involved with fundraising, thus shortening their wait time. There is a $25.00 application
fee to ensure the commitment level of each applicant. After the application process is complete, and the recipient
has been approved to receive a dog, the recipient is required to submit a $500.00 deposit with the submission of
their contract to join the waiting list. This $500.00 deposit is not refundable if the recipient decides to be removed
from the waiting list or decides not to move forward with our program. This deposit shows us that the recipient is
committed to the training process and the responsibilities of receiving and caring for a service dog. This deposit is
gifted back to the recipient once fundraising is complete to ensure that individuals incur little to no cost to receive
their service dog.
Q: How long is the waiting list?
A: If the recipient is involved in fundraising this is an average of 6-18 months before a dog is placed with its
recipient. We have seen some recipients receive dogs in as little as 3 weeks from the date they join our waiting list,
but as long as over 5 years if they are not involved in fundraising.
Q: What about travel and expenses?
A: The costs for travel expenses are separate from the amount raised for the service dog itself. Recipients who do
not live in Southern California will need to travel to San Diego and stay near our facility for the two weeks of handler
training. Travel expenses vary and are the responsibility of the recipient.
Q: What will the dog be like?
A: Little Angels has a breeding program consisting of English Labrador Retrievers. We will also purchase Labradors,
Golden Retrievers and Standard Poodles from reputable breeders with breeding stock that has received health
clearances. We also rescue suitable dogs whenever possible. Rescued dogs are often Labradors, Golden
Retrievers, Shepherds, Poodles, or mixes of any of these breeds. All dogs are fully medically screened for good hip
and elbow joints, spine, good vision, heart and other medical concerns associated with that specific breed. Most
service tasks require a larger breed dog weighing an average of 60 pounds, but some assistance tasks would allow
a 10 pound dog to be suitable. If there are any dog allergies within the recipient's home we will place a
hypoallergenic dog such as a Poodle. Poodles come in all sizes, some of which are even larger than Labradors. All of
our dogs have their own individual personalities. Some are laid back, while others are playful. All of our dogs
understand the difference between work and play. When they are not working they relax and play just like other
dogs. We place each dog to match the personality of the recipient.
Q: What if I have other animals?
A: We will place our service dogs in homes with other pets on a case-by-case basis. We consider the species,
personalities and traits of each individual animal for the safety of all involved.
Hopefully this has answered some of your questions. Additional questions can be discussed in the phone interview
and consultation. Each recipient is handled on an individual basis with many different scenarios.
To request an application select an option from below. A non-refundable application fee will be charged to ensure
the commitment level of each applicant.
Before you order PLEASE NOTE:
1) Most applications will be sent to you within 1-3 business days.
2) Your application will be sent via email or physical mail, based on your
selection. These are not downloaded from our website.
3) Please be sure to order the correct application from the Paypal scroll down
menu, based on your disability.
$25.00 application fee for applications sent to you via email.
$35.00 application fee for applications sent to you via physical mail.
Applying for a Little Angels Service Dog is a multi-step process which takes an average of 1-2
months to complete.
Please read the entirety of this page before requesting your application.
Little Angels Service Dogs is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that trains and places assistance dogs with disabled
children and adults throughout the United States.
If you are interested in learning to train a dog for yourself or another family member, please visit our
Training Seminars page.