A service dog can be an incredible, life-changing asset for families.
Whether you are looking for an autism service dog for a child, a mobility service dog for an older member of the family, a PTSD service dog for a military veteran, or another type of service animal, we have seen first-hand how transformative these animals can be. A fully-trained service dog can provide so many benefits.
In our experience, we also know that a service dog can be a significant financial commitment. Many families we have spoken to are often looking for service dog grants and other ways to help pay for their service dog.
Over the years, we have compiled this list of service dog funding resources. From specialist organizations, community groups, non-profits, and the creativity and resourcefulness of your friends and family, there may actually be quite a few ways to reach your fundraising goals.
This list is not exhaustive, and we are not endorsing any specific organizations or programs. Different fundraising methods will work better for different families, and these are primarily suggestions for service dog fundraising that our families have sent to us. This should give you some ideas to get started.
We hope you will find this article helpful! This list is regularly updated, so please bookmark it and check back for fresh information.
If you have a fundraising idea or think we have missed a group or program who have helped you (or somebody you know) to fundraise for a service dog, please let us know!
(Last updated January 2023)
Raise Awareness Via Local Media
The first step on any successful fundraising journey is to raise awareness of your cause. Although it may be difficult and requires courage, bringing your family’s story to a wider audience will likely generate donations from generous individuals and organizations.
As a starting point, put together a brief summary of your family’s situation, why you require a service dog, and what any generated funds will go towards. You don’t need to go into great detail! Just the overall facts of your situation and how a service dog could transform your lives.
From there, consider reaching out to local media such as newspapers, radio stations or regional TV. Smaller media organizations, whether in print, audio or visual form, are always looking to promote a story that could make a difference to someone in the local community. This approach can really get your fundraising efforts started on the right foot.
Whether we like it or not, the world is spending more time on social media than ever before. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and countless others, the opportunity to connect with others online has never been greater.
You can use this to your advantage when it comes to your fundraising. Consider setting up a Facebook page or Instagram profile which you can use to post updates on your fundraising efforts. As your page gains a following, you can periodically create posts which will ask for donations.
Although it might seem strange to share your fundraising journey on social media, remember that these platforms are something that many people engage with on a daily basis. Your cause will gain visibility from your efforts on social. Also, given that we frequently see so much toxicity on social media, it is refreshing to see something which could really make a significant difference to an individual in need.
Hold Local Fundraising Events
Getting the local community engaged in your service dog journey is a great way to raise funds. Many people are very willing to help, but if you don’t raise awareness of your need for a service dog, they will remain unaware of your situation.
Consider reaching out to your school or church community, and think about ways you could hold events which could raise funds for your service dog. Examples include:
- Bake sales
- Community softball game (players must donate to play)
- Yard or rummage sales
- Variety/talent show
- Trivia tournament
Service Dog Organizations
There are also a number of service dog organizations who can provide financial assistance for a service dog. For example, Canines for Disabled Kids (CDK) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Founded in 1998, their mission is to increase independence for children with disabilities and their families, using service dogs to create partnerships. They spend almost 90% of every dollar donated on their program services.
Another non-profit, Highland Canine Connect, helps those in need through its community programs and initiatives such as its service dog donation program. Over the past couple of years, they have worked with several individuals across the United States who have needed the help of a service dog.
There are also several autism-specific organizations who may have grants or access to funding. Here are a few examples:
Local philanthropic organizations
Generally, in our experience, Medicaid or health insurance does not cover the cost of a service dog (even if we, you, or your doctor may consider it a medical necessity).
Whilst grants may not be available for service dogs specifically, some insurers may classify them as ‘medical equipment’ – which can be covered in some instances. As legislation is constantly changing, we recommend speaking to your caseworker or insurer directly about whether a service dog or any of the associated costs can be covered – it never hurts to ask.