VETERANS WITH DOGS (VWD) trains assistance dogs for the purposes of recognised mental health difficulties for clients who have served in the British Armed Forces.

We are committed to treating every potential applicant equally. In order to be considered for an assistance dog, and to determine whether the PALS programme is right for you, we need to get to know each other better.

The following questions should be given due consideration, and are designed to help you decide whether or not an application is suitable for you:
  • Do you have the means and resources to manage and care for a dog? This includes feeding, grooming, exercising the dog and regular visits to a veterinarian.
  • Are those who live with you willing to support your relationship with an assistance dog and comply with the guidelines produced by VWD?
  • Once receiving a dog, are you willing to fully engage with regular training provided by VWD?
  • Bringing an assistance dog into your life is a major lifestyle change and commitment. Do you believe you are ready for this change and commitment?

How to Apply

On this page you’ll find the information you need to help decide whether to apply to VWD.

Please read the eligibility criteria, exclusions and application process below before submitting a Register of Interest.

We also recommend you check out the FAQ's for more answers to common questions.

You can also download and read "Is an Assistance Dog right for me?"

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for an assistance dog from Veterans With Dogs any potential client must meet all of the following basic criteria:

The applicant must be currently serving, or has previously served, in one of the British Armed Forces.

The applicant must be aged 18 or over.

The applicant must have a mental health diagnosis.

The applicant must have a current or previous active therapy or treatment plan.

The applicant must be fully committed, including attendance of residential training and ongoing regular training.

The application must be completed by the Veteran.

Veterans who do not meet the eligibility, stability and suitability criteria will not be considered for an assistance dog from VWD.


For the purposes of an assistance dog Veterans With Dogs will not consider an application under the following circumstances:

Innappropriate in-place living arrangements (see FAQ's), or without the ability and support networks to properly care for the dog.

Any children in the applicant's home under the age of 5 years old.

Any other person in the home with a mental health condition or learning difficulties.

Any history of domestic violence or history of animal abuse, this includes all members of the household.

Having been admitted to hospital for suicide attempt/s or self-harm behaviour in the last 12 months.

Misuse of drugs or alcohol in the last 12 months (as far as the assessing health provider is aware).

Any conviction resulting in being listed on the sex offenders register.

Any existing dog/dogs in the household who are not part of the programme.

VWD will not consider any requests that will not provide a stable or suitable environment for the assistance dog.

Application Process

The following summarises the processes that are used to select candidates to participate in our programme:

Submit a Register of Interest, which is then reviewed to determine if the basic applicant criteria is met.

Attend a PALS Meet & Greet* Day to learn more about the programme.

Complete a Full Application, and return with relevant supporting documentation.

A home visit will be scheduled to assess the suitability of the prospective home environment for a dog.

Candidates for placements or training are then determined by review.

(*Attendance of PALS Meet & Greet is a pre-requisite to a full application being accepted).

What Next?

If you meet the eligibility criteria then first of all submit a 'Register of Interest' form.

(You will automatically receive confirmation we have received your submission and a copy of the ROI).

We will then write to you within 28 days of the outcome of your ROI.

If eligible we will then write and invite you to the next available Meet & Greet day where you will meet some of our Team and be given a more in depth overview of the PALS programme. It is at this point you are then given a full application to take away and complete.

We look forward to hearing from you and we can be contacted directly if you have any further questions.


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Registered Office: Basepoint, Yeoford Way, Exeter, Devon EX2 8LB