Application Process

Dogs for Better Lives places our dogs with qualified individuals who will benefit from the loyalty and companionship of a professionally trained dog. Applicants are screened carefully to ensure they will benefit from receiving one of our dogs and that they are willing and able to maintain the dog’s training and care for the dog after the dog is placed with them.

There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee and a refundable $500 Good Faith Deposit. (This applies to Hearing Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs, and Facility Dogs only. For information on our adoptable Career Change Dogs, click HERE.)


If you are considering applying for one of our professionally trained dogs, please go over this page carefully, along with Application Requirements and Points to Consider, prior to filling out an application. Fill out your application completely and submit it to Dogs for Better Lives, along with your $50.00 application fee.



All applicants for Hearing Dogs must send in a copy of their medically based audiogram reflecting current level of hearing loss. This will be reviewed by the Placement Screening Committee. This panel is made up of Audiologists and professionals who work with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Due to the fact that there are many different aspects to hearing loss, there is no exact degree of loss that can be given as the minimum for qualification.

In-Home Interview

In-home interviews provide us with additional information on the applicants’ needs and lifestyles. A Dogs for Better Lives associate, from the applicant’s area, conducts this interview. All members of the household must be present for this interview appointment.

Acceptance or Denial

After the interview is completed and returned to us, the entire application packet will be carefully reviewed and a final decision made as to whether or not one of our professionally trained dogs is suitable for the applicant.

Good Faith Deposit

The $500.00 Good Faith Deposit will be requested after the applicant has met all the requirements and has been fully accepted to receive a dog. The Good Faith Deposit is fully refundable, without interest, one (1) year after placement. The purpose of this deposit is to ensure that the applicant is serious about receiving a dog, is willing to work with and meet the needs of a specially trained dog, and is able to care for the dog once it is placed with him/her.

If during the first year after receiving the dog, the client decides he/she doesn’t want the dog and it is returned to Dogs for Better Lives, the deposit is forfeited. If Dogs for Better Lives removes the dog from the client’s home or if the applicant decides to remove his/herself from the waiting list after being fully accepted, the deposit may be forfeited.

Waiting Period

Dogs are matched with individuals based on the temperament of the dog and the lifestyle, personality, activity level, health, and environment of the person. We do not place dogs based on breed, size, hair length, or sex.

For a Hearing Dog, the waiting period is approximately 1 year from the time the person is accepted to receive a Hearing Dog. For a Facility Dog, the waiting period is currently 6 months to 1 year from the time the person is accepted to receive the dog.


Hearing Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs and Facility Dogs, accompanied by a trainer, go to the home of the client. The trainer teaches the client how to keep the dog working consistently and how to maintain the dog’s obedience training.


Following the placement, regular communication is required. The client reports regularly on the progress of the dog. When problems arise or the client has any questions, the trainer offers help and answers questions. In-home follow up is also done.

Dogs for Better Lives provides follow-up support for the life of the team.

(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-4946341-2’, ‘auto’);
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

Breaking news, press releases, current happenings, and media kit.

Read our latest news!

One hour at a time your support is making a difference

See opportunities here!

How your donation today is changing lives tomorrow.

Learn more here!

Assistance Dogs International Oregon's Best Non-profits CFC Best of America icon 4starsquare Top Rated