Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are interested in having a service dog for yourself or a loved one or you would like to know more about getting involved with our organization, you will probably have a lot of questions that need answers. Here are the most frequently asked questions we receive about our program. If you do not see the answer to your question, please submit a form below and we will respond at our earliest convenience.

Will I receive help with fundraising?2020-01-16T18:20:13+00:00

Our goal is to get the dog to you at no cost, other than the initial $1000 deposit and application fee. The way this is done is through fundraising and donations. We have a fundraising coordinator who is at your beck-and-call to help in lowering the costs you have to pay out of pocket. However there is a substantial cost associated with the training of each dog, and there are still many expenses that cannot be avoided. Before a dog is placed with a disabled recipient, we are faced with many expenses, all of which come out to an average of $40,000 per dog, sometimes even more. We do not expect that most recipients can write a check for this amount. Usually these expenses are paid for through fundraising. All donations become tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law due to our status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization under the IRS. Most gifts received will only cover a small percentage of the total amount needed per dog. Because of this we cannot guarantee the amount of time it will take in order to raise funds for each dog. However, our goal if for the recipient to raise the minimum $10,000 over a period of 10 months, so approximately $1000 a month from fundraising.  Our fundraising coordinators are available to directly assist our recipients to raise funds themselves if they are able to be involved in the process – but fundraising is never a requirement for our recipients. We do see that the individuals who are able to fundraise will help us reach the financial goals sooner, so following through with your own fundraising is recommended, but not a requirement.

In short – our recipients are responsible for the first $10,000 which can be paid personally or through fundraising. Golden Healer Service Dogs will raise the additional $30,000, or you can assist us with fundraising for this amount to speed up the process.

Will I continue to get training once I have received a service dog?2020-01-16T18:14:58+00:00

Throughout your service dog/ESAs lifetime we will be in contact with you. We require training reports and assessments during the rest of the dog’s lifetime. It is GHSD’s commitment to you as a recipient of one of our dogs that we will always be there for you and support you.

Will I Be Paid for Being a Puppy Raiser/Sitter?2020-01-16T17:56:18+00:00

No, you do not get paid for being a puppy raiser or sitter. Puppy raisers and sitters volunteer their time and there may be personal costs involved. The pup’s food and basic vet bills, repairing any damage and puppy proofing your house are the responsibility of the Puppy Raiser family.

Why should I be a puppy raiser?2020-01-16T17:50:52+00:00

It’s an excuse to have a puppy for a year. The most appealing part about this kind of volunteering is you get to have a dog at its cutest stage and all for a good cause. What could be better than that?

Where are the dogs from the program supplied from?2020-01-16T18:01:09+00:00

All of the dogs we place are puppies that have come from our own special breeding program. We do not have rescue dogs due to the neurological stimulation and training which we start at the young age of  2 days old, this, as well as the inability to insure the health of the dog due to family genetic history is why we use our own breeders. Unfortunately we can not do either of these things with rescues. We currently work with two kennels, GBC and TLW, who have some of the finest English Cream Golden Retrievers, Mini GoldenDoodles, and Labrador Retrievers around. They are raised from birth with one specific goal: being a service dog. The dogs who do not pass as service dogs become ESAs, breeders, or family pets. Each dog’s training is personalized in tasks to help their individual handler.

What types of service dogs does Golden Healer Service Dogs provide?2020-01-16T18:03:34+00:00

Golden Healer Service Dogs provides the following types of service dogs:

  • Psychiatric Service Dogs
  • Autism Service Dogs
  • PTSD Service Dogs
  • Mobility Service Dogs
  • Seizure Alert Dogs
  • Diabetic Alert Dogs
  • Emotional Support Animals (ESA)
  • Therapy Dogs
What previous experience is required for being a puppy raiser or sitter?2020-01-16T17:57:21+00:00

You have to pass an application and orientation process to obtain the puppy. We don’t require puppy raisers or sitters to have previous service dog raising experience. You must be willing and available for a trainer to make monthly visits to check on the pup’s progress. Each service dog is extremely important to the success of our work and mission, so we will be monitoring the puppies closely.

What is the first step to receiving a service animal from Golden Healer Service Dogs?2020-02-04T20:47:36+00:00

The first step to getting a dog from GHSD is to submit an application online/ in-person at an event along with a $50.00 application fee. Once we have received your application, our staff will review it and reach out to you for a consultation interview to see if we are a good fit for one another. After this consultation we will send you over additional documentation to provide medical information and referrals to our organization. Once these documents are in hand and received by our staff we will reach out to you once again to discuss the steps of moving forward.

What is Golden Healer Service Dogs?2020-01-16T18:16:28+00:00

Golden Healer Service Dogs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of trainers and volunteers who work to provide highly trained dogs to assist children and adults who struggle with disabilities. Our home base resides in Salt Lake City, Utah but it is our goal to place dogs all over the world.

Golden Healers is an organization that trains and places service dogs and emotional support dogs with disabled children and adults throughout the world. Our dogs are trained to assist in a variety of ways to help with daily tasks and increase the independence of each individual.

What impact will I make as a puppy raiser?2020-01-16T17:58:38+00:00

You and your future service dog will change a life.
You will get to meet the person who your dog is placed with. Imagine how rewarding it would be to know you raised a puppy that went on to be a service dog to a person who really needed one. Many people in need of a service dog are currently on a waiting list waiting for that perfect companion.

What if I have other animals?2020-01-16T18:18:47+00:00

We will place our service dogs in homes with other pets on a case-by-case basis. We consider the species, personalities and traits of each individual animal for the safety of all involved. However, our dogs are regularly trained around other dogs, cats, horses, etc. and typically coexist very well with them.

What happens once the dog has completed its training?2020-01-16T18:14:18+00:00

Once the dog has completed  its service dog training, we work with you, the recipient, every day for one to two weeks at our home base in Salt Lake City, Utah. For ESA we will train for two days. This training week provides  lessons for the recipient and family on how to work with the dog as a team. These lessons are done in the privacy of our facility, and are designed to be stress-free and practical. This time is however crucial for you and your dog to learn how to work together as a team both in public and at home. This is also when you are certified by us as a working team, and certified for public access so you can bring the dog with you into public settings. ESAs do not receive special task training and are not provided a certificate for public access.

What happens during and after a recipient consultation?2020-01-16T18:09:03+00:00

The phone/in-person consultation is used to establish a connection between you and our staff. We want to learn more about you and make sure that we understand your needs as well as help you understand our process. The meeting lasts about 15-45 minutes and will be crucial to you getting further documents to apply for a service dog. This is a great time to have a genuine conversation and ask us any questions you may have.

Once you complete and send in all of the required documentation and everything looks correct we will write up a customized contract for you that goes over the details.We want to make sure this is the right decision for you, so  it is crucial that you take your time and discuss all of your options with your family. You can take as long as you need to make your decision. It is very important to both you and the dog that you analyze the benefits and downfalls of receiving a service dog from GHSD.

What do I do when people ask questions about the puppy?2020-01-16T17:55:57+00:00

A lot of attention will be on you and your service dog in training.
People will ask questions when they see your dog with a service vest. You can use this opportunity to teach others about the importance of training. It will also get old explaining about your dog over and over again and dealing with people who want to pet your puppy while he is “working.”

What are the rights to the recipients of the Golden Healer Service Dogs program?2020-01-16T18:07:13+00:00

The Disabled Party Has a Right To:

  • Be considered by application or consultation regardless of race, sex, religion or creed
  • Receive training to understand how to control their dog in public and at home, command the dog to assist them and to use the dog with appropriate service dog etiquette in public settings.
  • Receive follow-up training when needed
  • Receive advice for questions on their dog’s medical treatment and behavior
  • Refer to Golden Healer Service Dogs  regarding public access issues and their rights
What are the requirements for a service dog?2020-01-16T18:04:59+00:00
  1. Be clean and well groomed

  2. Eliminate in appropriate areas and only on command

  3. Not solicit attention or be a distraction to the public through barking or inappropriate behavior

  4. Respond to obedience commands consistently

  5. Never show aggression, but be confident and unbothered by their surroundings

  6. Perform at least 2 tasks to assist the disabled party specifically with their disability

What age does the recipient have to be in order to receive a dog?2020-01-16T18:17:29+00:00

Golden Healer Service Dogs places dogs to assist children and adults. Disabled recipients who are not able to care for or command the dog  will be required to have a handler (facilitator) to care for the dog and issue commands to the dog for the disabled party. This facilitator is most often a parent or guardian of the recipient. Therefore, there is not necessarily an age requirement for the disabled party.

I am under 18-years-of-age. Can I submit an application?2020-01-16T18:17:46+00:00

While we do place service dogs with minors, we will need a legal guardian to submit an application on behalf of the minor. We have specific forms for minors under 18/adults who are not their own legal guardians that differ from the regular in-depth application forms.

How will the puppy be trained while in my care?2020-01-16T17:52:50+00:00

You will be working with experienced dog trainers.
You will get to learn about advanced dog training from experienced trainers and handlers. We require bi-monthly meetings where all the volunteer Puppy Raisers meet to learn about training strategies.

How much does it cost to receive an “Emotional Support Animal”?2020-01-16T18:10:56+00:00

If you decide to move forward with GHSD, we will have you return the contract with a minimum deposit of $500. This deposit of $500  will go towards your money to receive a Golden Healers Emotional Support Dog. A Golden Healer Service Dog ESA costs our organization approximately  $10,000 to train and place. We ask our recipients to be responsible for ½ of our cost which is $5,000. We know that some cannot afford to write a check for $5,000 upfront and we are very understanding of that prospect. GHSD is dedicated to assisting you through the process of fundraising if that is a route you would prefer.

How much does it cost to get a “Service Dog”?2020-01-16T18:10:02+00:00

If you decide to move forward with GHSD, we will have you return the contract with a minimum deposit of $1,000. This deposit of $1000  will go towards your money to receive a Golden Healers service dog. A Golden Healer service dog costs our organization approximately  $40,000 to train and place. We ask our recipients to be responsible for 1/4 of our cost which is $10,000. We know that most cannot afford to write a check for $10,000 upfront and we are very understanding of that prospect. GHSD is dedicated to assisting you through the process of fundraising if that is a route you would prefer.

How long will I have the dog as a puppy raiser?2020-01-16T17:56:49+00:00

Be ready to part with the dog after a year.
It doesn’t take long to create a bond with the puppy you are caring for. Know that all your training and hard work will finally be paying off about the time you have to let the dog go live somewhere else, just when it’s finally starting to become a well-behaved dog. You can handle it because you knew you did it to make someone’s life better.

How long is the waiting list?2020-01-16T18:19:17+00:00

Once fundraising is completed recipients are currently waiting an average of 1-2 years to receive their dogs, but keep in mind this is average, and could take less time or sometimes even close to 3 years in some cases. Fundraising wait times depend greatly on the involvement of each individual, and whether or not they are involved in fundraising. While it is great to be excited about receiving your dog, we have found it best to expect longer than average, and be pleasantly surprised if your wait is shorter.

How is my information protected?2020-01-16T18:21:01+00:00

Any sensitive information provided will be kept confidential and only shared with GHSD staff who require the information to review your application and/or train and place a service dog. Information will not be disclosed without expressed permission of the applicant and/or recipient.

Does the dog go with me as a puppy raiser/sitter?2020-01-16T17:55:57+00:00

Get ready to take your dog everywhere.
A future service dog requires much more attention than a typical puppy. The pup needs to get used to any situation, which means you have to take the puppy almost everywhere you go. It wears a future service dog vest, so the pup is allowed almost anywhere. Planning a family vacation? Well, can the pup go along too?

Can individuals apply to receive a therapy dog?2020-01-16T18:15:30+00:00

Therapy dogs are not for individual clientele, they work in hospitals, shelters, retirement centers, and other group settings. We are currently looking for more handlers and dogs to join our Therapy Team. Please apply if interested. You and your own dog can become certified through our program.

Can a service dog attend school with me or my child?2020-01-16T18:18:20+00:00

There are certain situations where service dogs can attend school with a child. If the child cannot safely control the dog on their own, there is no legal advocacy for the dog to attend. However, some schools will voluntarily allow the dog to attend school when a staff member volunteers to handle the dog between classes. If the recipient is a college student they will be able to contact their school’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) and file paperwork in order to bring the dog on campus.

-For those who do this, please let staff and classmates know beforehand that a dog will be attending classes with you, the dog may be hazardous in the environment if someone has a severe allergy. However, this does not diminish you access to the space, you still legally are allowed there.

Am I required to travel in order to receive my service dog/ESA?2020-01-16T18:20:46+00:00

Recipients who do not live near our facility will need to travel and stay near us for the week of handler training. Travel expenses vary and are the responsibility of the recipient. If flying, transporting the dog should be rather simple once you provide the airline staff with your service dog certifications. We will always provide support in helping with this as well, if needed.

Contact Us



  • PO Box 411, Draper, Utah 84020

  • +1 801 738 1050

  • info@goldenhealerservicedogs.com