Please note this process is for guide dogs only. We do not provide service dogs.

Request a Guide Dog Application Packet or continue reading.

The Fidelco guide dog application process consists of applying for and filling out the appropriate paperwork and being interviewed by our client services department. We have CDs available that explain our admissions criteria and application process. To order, call 860-243-4044 or e-mail us at admissions@fidelco.org. For an audio overview of the application process, listen now.

Fidelco Basic Requirements for Application

  • Non-Smoker- An application is not sent unless the applicant is willing to quit. This will be verified by their doctor on the medical form.
  • Must be legal blind- there are many different levels and reasons for legal blindness.
  • Must have had Orientation and Mobility training or have used a guide dog
  • Must be capable of cane travel, this is to ensure that even if the dog is incapacitated, the client can still travel independently
  • Must be able to sustain a walk for a minimum of 30 minutes without stopping to rest
  • Independent traveler – must have a minimum of 2 WALKING ONLY routes that are traveled several times a week without anyone’s assistance- see below

Route Requirements

The Routes need to be done without anyone’s assistance.

Our application route requirement is to have at least 2 walking only routes that are 20 – 30 minutes from the home to a destination and 20- 30 minutes from the destination back to the home and include crossing streets, a total of 40-60 minutes round trip. This usually works out to about 2 miles round trip. The routes need to be done several times a week without assistance and it is good to have some variety when possible. A rural route is considered country travel and is fine for some travel, but the applicant will still need to get into town two to three times a week to give a guide dog curb and pedestrian work to keep their skills safe and accurate.

We will consider a route that requires a ride into town, the ride must not be more than 15 minutes. The applicant will then need a walking only route from the drop off point that would be a 20 -30-minute walk to a destination and 20 – 30 minutes back to the drop off point. This route would also need to include crossing streets. The ride to the drop off point is not included in the route time. Routes of this length are not only needed to keep a German Shepherd safe, accurate and well behaved but also for training purposes due to our in-community placement. A typical training day can be 3-7 hours of active walking training and 10 minute routes would not be enough to really get a guide moving along.

Items Needed for Application Process

Fidelco application: This form is to be filled out and signed by you.  If you prefer to complete a written form, please contact admissions@fidelco.org or call 860-243-4044.

Fidelco Vision Report: The Fidelco vision report is to be filled out only by your ophthalmologist/optometrist.

Fidelco Medical Report- This form must be completed by your primary care doctor. There are 4 additional forms, Diabetes, Organ Transplant, Oncology and Psychology. If any of these forms apply to you, it will need to be completed by the appropriate professional.

Fidelco O&M report:  This form is to be completed by your most recent O&M instructor. This form is waived if you have used a guide dog, in which case, you will need to provide the name of the school(s) and the dates you had your dog(s) from them.

Submitting an O&M video or DVD: This applies only to those applicants who have been requested to do so by the Fidelco Admissions Department.

Background Check: Fidelco will use HireRight, Inc to request a background check.

Interviews: When Fidelco receives your completed application, our client services department will contact you to schedule a personal interview.

Once all the completed forms are returned to Fidelco and we conduct an interview, your application will be reviewed by Fidelco’s selection committee; an independent group consisting of physicians, attorneys and other professionals. You will receive a letter from the committee informing you of your status.

References- You will need to have 3 reference forms completed by friends, coworkers and the like. No family members please.