VETERANS WITH DOGS (VWD) trains assistance dogs for the purposes of recognised mental health difficulties only for those who have served in the British Armed Forces.
We are committed to treating every potential 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.
VWD has several basic pre-requisites for individuals who may be considering applying. The following questions should be given due consideration, and are designed to help you decide whether or not to apply:
  1. 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.
  2. Are those who live with you willing to support your relationship with an assistance dog and comply with the guidelines produced by VWD?
  3. Once receiving a dog, are you willing to fully engage with regular training provided by VWD?
  4. 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?
  5. Are you willing to travel to Devon to attend an initial Meet & Greet and then further residential training?
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 before requesting (or submitting) a Register of Interest.

We also recommend you check out the FAQ's for more answers to common questions.You should also download and read "Is an Assistance Dog right for me?"

Eligibility criteria

In order for VWD to accept a Register Of Interest, a Veteran 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 in Devon and ongoing regular training in their home area.
  • The application must be completed by the Veteran.



There are circumstances where an application would be declined based on any of the following:

  • Children in the applicant's home under the age of 5 years old.
  • Another person in the home with a mental health condition or learning difficulties.
  • Hospitalisation of the applicant within the last 6 months due to a mental health condition.
  • The applicant's home environment not being suitable for keeping an assistance dog. (We do not place dogs in homes where there is no direct ground floor access to a secure outside space).
  • An existing dog/dogs in the household who are not part of the programme.
  • Any conviction for: animal abuse; abuse towards humans; or a conviction resulting in being listed on the sex offenders register.


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.
  • Candidates must be able/willing to travel to Devon for residential training.


(*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 in Devon 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.