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The Four Paws and a Wake Up Service Dog Application and Matching Process

Being matched with a Four Paws and a Wake Up Service Dog can be a life changing partnership. These partnerships come together through our unique matching process, which relies on an exceptional attention to details of both client circumstances and canine capabilities.

All Four Paws and a Wake Up dogs are rescued from local shelters and have been temperament, health and personality tested for suitability for service dog work. The adult dogs are trained for 12 to 18 months, during which time we identify which dog has the skills and temperament for which type of work.


On the client side, we believe the more we can understand about a prospective client’s lifestyle and expectations, the better we can pair them with a Service Dog that meets their needs. This happens through a multi-step application process.

By truly understanding the dog and the needs of each client, and by working closely with the pair once the match is made, our process ensures a successful and lasting partnership.

The Application: The application will take time to complete including the video requirement.  You may find it helpful to have the contact information for your doctor, employer, and landlord with you as you go through the application. An email receipt is sent upon submission of your completed application.

The Review: Experienced staff reviews each application. All applicants receive a phone call or email to let them know if they meet our initial screening criteria. If they do, we will schedule a personal interview.  Due to a large volume of applications, applicants are typically contacted 6 to 8 weeks after Application has been received.

The Interview: Most interviews are conducted via Skype.

The Acceptance: Most applicants are notified within several weeks of  Interview if accepted into the program.  Length of time until Match depends on our staff identifying the right dog for your needs.  Individuals determined not to qualify for a Four Paws and a Wake Up service dog are notified via U.S. Postal Service.

The Match: When right dog has been selected, the client receives information about scheduling team training.  Notice is given approximately 4 weeks prior to training.  The client is sent additional information and a training manual to study. 

The Team Training: The client can expect to stay five (5) to eight (8) days.  Team training is done individually, one client at a time to provide a committed effort to the teams success.  Each client may have one care given, family member or friend with them during training.   The client and their care given will be provided hotel accommodations for the scheduled days of team training.

The Follow-up: Four Paws and a Wake Up is invested in you just as we invested in the training of the service dog selected for you.  We are here for the working life of the service dog and will be providing an ongoing follow-up to ensure all is going well. 

The Commitment.  Four Paws and a Wake Up is committed to our clients for the working life of their service dog and beyond.  Clients served that remain in good standings, following the agreement that each client signs when receiving their service dog, are eligible to receive a successor service dog. 

Service Dog Application
Four Paws and a Wake Up, Inc. New Mexico is accepting applications from Veterans for a trained service dog.  A limited number of service dogs will be ready in the near future.  Approved applicants will be placed on a waitlist and contacted when we have a service dog match. 

Our Service Dog Program

  • Service Dogs for Veterans who have a permanent service-connected disability for which Veterans Administration has documented  related to mobility, service-related post-traumatic stress and/or traumatic brain injury

  • Service Dogs for individuals with mobility disabilities (limited availability)


Please note that Four Paws and a Wake Up does not train seizure alert dogs, guide dogs for the blind, diabetes alert dogs, dogs for people with Alzheimer's, emotional support, or psychiatric dogs for non-Veterans. Four Paws and a Wake Up does not train dogs that are already owned by individuals. Contact Assistance Dogs International for information about other organizations who may be able to help.

Cost of Obtaining a Service Dog

Many people ask us about the cost of obtaining a Service Dog. Thanks to generous donors and funding from grants,  there is no charge for clients who are eligible for our services for receiving a Service Dog. Clients will need to pay for annual dog supplies such as food and veterinary services that can average $1,000-$2,000 a year.

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