The Ultimate List: Service Dog Schools With Adoption Programs

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Are you interested in adopting a career changed service dog? Many people don’t know that not all service dog puppies in training become working dogs. Puppies that don’t make it as service dogs are called career changed and are often adopted to loving families. We compiled a list of service dog schools with adoption programs to help people find adoptable service dogs. #servicedogadoption #guidedogadoption #assistancedogadoption #servicedogschools #careerchangedog #adoptapuppy #puppyadoption
Our ultimate list of service dog schools with adoption programs.

Hopefully you already read our article about how to adopt a retired service dog.

If not, then take a look at our first article in this series: How Can I Adopt A Retired Service Dog Or Failed Guide Dog?

Can you guide me to an organization in the Central NY area that have dogs that can be adopted that just did not make the cut at a Companion training program? Don’t they go up for adoption? But where? Thanks!


Lots of blood, sweat, and tears went into the creation of this list.

I scoured many websites to find the exact adoption pages of each service dog organization.

This allows you to just click directly on the link and voila…you’re at either the career change/retired service dog adoption page, the actual adoption form, or a page with more information on the organization’s adoption program.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: Before you adopt a puppy or even think about adopting read a good book like Puppies for Dummies. This will give you a solid foundation on how to raise, train, and socialize a puppy. Career change service dogs have a solid foundation in obedience, house manners, and socialization, but you’ll have to maintain this excellence by continuing with your adopted pup’s training.

The Ultimate List Of Service Dog Schools With Adoption Programs

So without further adieu.  Here’s our ultimate list of service dog organizations and their career change/retired service dog adoption page:


  • Bergin University – this is a direct link to the Bergin University of Canine Studies Release Dog Application.
  • Canine Companions for Independence – I couldn’t find the adoption page, but here’s a link to the FAQ page with this information: “Should the dog be unsuitable for placement in any working role, the puppy raiser may adopt the dog as their pet or Canine Companions will place the dog in an approved home from our release dog wait list. A $500 adoption fee applies to everyone other than the puppy raiser of the dog.”
  • Guide Dogs for the Blind – A link to the GDB adoption page and application form.  “There is a $750 adoption fee (not tax deductible), collected at the time of adoption, if a suitable match becomes available.”
  • Guide Dogs of America – there is a link on this page that goes directly to the adoption form.  You might have to exercise patience if you apply for a career change GDA dog as the waiting list to adopt a dog is over six years.
  • Guide Dogs of the Desert – from the training program page: “…If they cannot take the dog, we have a very long waiting list of people who would like to adopt a retired guide.  The decision to retrain a dog is up to the school and is based on the age, health, and individual situation.”
  • The Sam Simon Foundation – Link to their adoptable pets page.
  • Tender Loving Canine Assistance Dogs – Here’s a link to their adoption page.  “TLCAD receives more inquiries for career change dog adoption than we have dogs available. Our selection process is based on suitability rather than a first-come, first-serve basis. Dogs are matched with adoptees taking into the consideration of the needs of both the dog and the potential adoptee and their family.”


  • Canine Partners of the Rockies – This links directly to the FAQ page with more information on how to adopt a released dog: “A released dog may also be available for adoption as a pet dog. For more information on the Released Dog Program go to the “Our Dogs” link.”
  • Freedom Service Dogs of America – Links directly to their dog adoption application.



  • Southeastern Guide Dogs – Link to the public adoption page: “There is a $3,000 recovery fee required for the adoption of a Southeastern Guide Dog made available through Public Adoption.”
  • K9s For Warriors – Here’s a note we received from K9s For Warriors: “I work at K9s for Warriors in Ponte Vedra, FL as the K9 Intake and Adoption Coordinator. We have great career change dogs that come up for adoption! FL residents only. We do not have it on our main website but we have our own Facebook page and we keep our Petfinder page up-to-date.”


  • ICAN – This links to the ICAN adoption page.  At the time of this writing they are not accepting release dog applications.
  • Keystone Human Services – Link to the adopting a released dog page.  “Because of careful breeding and serious puppy classes, the adoption fee is $1,000.”


  • KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc. – Link to the adoption page.  “Career Change Dogs are wonderful dogs who are happy and healthy, but just not suited to working for a living or have been retired from a working partnership. These dogs make excellent loving pets and companions.”


  • NEADS – Link to their adopt a pet dog page.  At NEADS, a “furloughed favorite” is a dog who, for behavioral, temperamental or medical reasons, doesn’t meet our strict standards to become a working dog.


  • Leader Dogs for the Blind – Link to career change adoption page including information on requirements for adoptees and additional info. on their career change dogs.
  • Paws with a Cause – Link to the PAWS “Adopt a Career Change Dog” page.


  • Can Do Canines Assistance Dogs – Visit this page if you’d like to apply for adoption of a career change dog.
  • PawPADS – Link to their “Dogs” page with a section for career change dogs.


  • C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs – Link to the FAQ page which has information on released dogs: “If you would like to be considered as a potential home for one of our released dogs, please Contact Us and we will send a Companion Animal Placement application for you to complete and return.”

New Hampshire

New Jersey

  • The Seeing Eye – Link to their adopt a dog page.  “Qualified applicants may reduce the waiting time and be placed on the VIP adoption list if they have given a gift of $25,000 (USD) or more in the past twenty four months.”

New York

  • Guide Dog Foundation – This directly links to their dog adoption application page.  “Average wait time on our adoption list is 1-2 years.”
  • Puppies Behind Bars – Link to adopt a release dog page including application.

North Dakota


  • Circle Tail, Inc. – Direct link to the adoption page including instructions on what to do next and an online application dogs/puppies for adoption as pets.
  • Pilot Dogs, Inc. – Link to the adoption page.  From the page: “To try and keep our waiting list manageable we accept adoption applications in the months of June and December only.”



  • Canine Partners For Life – Direct link to the adoption page with instruction on how to adopt: “Interested individuals or families who would like to adopt one of CPL’s released dogs should complete a released dog application.

South Carolina


  • Service Dogs Inc. – Link to their adoption page: “Almost 60% of the dogs SDI rescues graduate. However, those that don’t are released from training as potential pets.”



  • Brigadoon Service Dogs – If you have interest in giving a forever home to a dog who has been released from the service dog program, please click on the link to indicate your interest should one come available.
  • Summit Assistance Dogs – Link to “Our Dogs” page: “Many people contact us about adopting a dog that did not meet the stringent requirements to become a service dog.  To view our career-changed dogs, please visit our web page at Petfinder.”



Sorry I didn’t separate this section by province.  If the section gets much larger or if I get enough requests I’ll update by province.

  • The Ability Center – Adopt a Fabulous Flunky!  This is the adoption page, but unfortunately…”NOTE: We are currently not accepting applications at this time due to a large waitlist. Check back soon!”
  • Autism Dog Services – A direct link to their adoption application form.  From their website: “ADS puppies and dogs in training may be released from their training programs at any time. ADS puppies or dogs that do not meet our criteria for behaviour, health or temperament are disqualified and adopted out as pet dogs…”
  • Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind – A link to their career change guide dog page: “Our list of applicants who are interested in receiving one of our career change dogs is currently closed…If the list is going to be opened (depending on whether we need more people), it will open on the first working day of the month”  Click the link for more information.
  • Dogs with Wings – Link to their FAQ page: “Dogs that are not placed as Guide or Service Dogs, and are not needed for our Skilled Companion Dog program are only very rarely available, and its best to call the office for more information.”
  • Dog Guides – Due to an overwhelming number of requests and a lengthy waitlist, we are no longer receiving applications for career-change/retired dog adoptions. Should this situation change, information about the adoption process will become available here.
  • National Service Dogs – Link to career change dog page.  Wait times are a year or longer and he timing of a Career Change Dog placement is determined by chronological position on the waiting list.

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for check the Assistance Dogs International website for a list of Service Dog programs.

I’ve learned from experience that some organizations do not have an “adopt a career change dog” page on their website, but still have adoptable retired and career change dogs.

Just take a few minutes and call or email an organization and find out if they have an adoption program.

Now I need your help.

We’d like to expand this list.  Do you know of a service dog organization that has an adoption program?

If so, let us know about it and I’ll update our list.

Also, if you have any experience adopting a career change or retired service dog then tell us your story.

How is your career change dog doing?

How was the adoption process?

Tell us your experience in the comment section below.

That’s the ultimate list of service dog schools with adoption programs! Now if you want more detailed information about how to adopt a career change service dog check out this post.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: Career changed service dogs have a good foundation in obedience, house manners, and socialization, but before you bring home your new career change service dog we’d again like to recommend Puppies for Dummies as a good book on the basics of raising and training your new dog or puppy. We read Puppies for Dummies before we brought home our first adopted puppy, Linus.

Are you interested in adopting a career changed service dog? Many people don’t know that not all service dog puppies in training become working dogs. Puppies that don’t make it as service dogs are called career changed and are often adopted to loving families. We compiled a list of service dog schools with adoption programs to help people find adoptable service dogs. #servicedogadoption #guidedogadoption #assistancedogadoption #servicedogschools #careerchangedog #adoptapuppy #puppyadoption
Intersted in adopting a career change service dog? Check out our ultimate list of service dog schools with adoption prorams.

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Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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  1. I have a child with special needs but want a to adopt a career change pet due to having other kids as well. Any other suggestions in MA? I’ve already applied to your one listed. Thank you for this wonderful resource!

  2. I need a service dog because I am partially blind, and my wife died Jan 13, 2019 and I am all alone with depression and anxiety. How can I get a service dog that is at least trained to heel sit, come under control in other wokds.

  3. Great information, thank you so much. You don’t mention the UGA training program in Georgia, I wonder why? My vet tech raised and now has a “drop out”, and that is how I became interested in adopting. Please check it out and list it as potential adoption also.

    1. Thanks for sharing. We try to include all the service dog organizations with adoption programs. Can you provide us with a link to the UGA training program and more specifically the page that details their adoption requirements? Thank you!

  4. Hi My Name is Cherelle Barber 
    I am currently living in Kodiak Alaska. I am considered leaiglly blind.  I have a form of Cerebral Palsy. I have some anger issues but havent seen anybody about them. I have seizures, but I am on medication that helps controls them. But it has been five years since I have had a seizure.   I still tend to forget if and when I took my medication. 

    The type of Assistance dog that I am trying to obtain is a Guide Mobility Assistance Medication Reminder Service Dog.  There isnt a trainer or Program in Alaska that can help me with my search.  I also have friends that have been trying to assist me with this reseach. I am also trying to help them their own research as well. I am in a program that is for the disabled for children and adults with different types of special needs, and we are located in Kodiak. I might be moving out of my grandparents house and moving in to an apartment at the end of this year.
    Are there any breeders in Alaska that is willing to help my friends and I out without having family members and friends thinking that my friends and I have been faking our disabilities that we have been diagnosed with since birth or recently diagnosed with. Thanks for the add to the group.  thanks for your help with my research and education.  
    I have moderate spastic quad cerebral palsy 
    I was physically mentality emotionally psychology and  sexually abused throughout my childhood.
    I am allergic to seafood dust mites and pollen I also have been allergic to strawberries milk and cigarette smoke but I was able too outgrow that thanks for helping me out with my multiple disabilities 

  5. All though my state (NC) does not have a state wide adopt a retired service dog or failed guide did I found that my sister state (SC) does.
    I have applied for a retired/ failed dog because of their training as well as their disposition.
    My fingers ( and toes lol) are crossed.

  6. Thanks for the great list. TSA has been advertising lately that they are looking for families to adopt retired and flunkee service dogs, in San Antonio. Makes me think that some of the other DHS service dog programs (Customs and Border Control) probably have adoption programs too. Or other government agencies.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Mandy! I had seen some things on TSA looking for families to adopt dogs from their programs. Maybe I’ll dig a little deeper to see if I can find information on some these programs and add them to the list. If you have any information that would be relevant I’d love to read about and improve our ultimate list!

  7. Wow this is awesome! I have family and friends always saying they want a career changed dog because they are so well trained. I’ll send them this list!

    1. Thanks for sharing! It’s one of those questions I get asked all the time on the blog and when out and about with Archer (or any other guide/service dog in training).

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