Improving independence and quality of life through highly trained Hearing Dogs

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How to Apply for a Hearing Dog

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We are pleased to announce that The Hearing Dog Program (HDP) is once again accepting new applications for Hearing Dogs!

Generous donations from both private individuals and community organizations mean more formerly-homeless dogs are ready to be trained and placed with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Early in 2012, The California, Nevada, Hawaii State Association of Emblem Clubs generously donated $15,000 to The Hearing Dog Program. Last fall, the Clubs donated an additional $10,000 in memory of past members Doris Heard and Maxine Harvey. Doris, who recently passed away at the age of 107, was the chairman of the Clubs’ Hearing Dog Committee for over 30 years! Thank you to Doris, Maxine, current committee chair Irene Sullivan, and the many members of Emblem Clubs for your support!

In September 2012, The Institute for Canine Studies (ICS), of Monterey, California, graciously donated $30,000 to The Hearing Dog Program. They wrote that after a visit to HDP they, “came away very impressed by the effectiveness of your service dog program and eager to be involved in your efforts.” We sincerely appreciate this wonderful donation from ICS!

We appreciate everyone’s donations and other support which enable us to fulfill our mission of “Improving independence and quality of life through highly trained Hearing Dogs.”

Please contact Glenn at: for more information. You can also reach us by phone at (650) 898-9117, via U.S. mail or through our website.

Best regards and thank you again for helping to transform the lives of people and dogs,

D. Glenn Martyn, Executive Director
The Hearing Dog Program
San Francisco


Follow these steps to apply for a Hearing Dog

Step 1:

Consider your current hearing needs and dog handling skills.
Realize the commitment a dog is for an individual, family, neighbors and/or roommate. Research what a Hearing Dog is and does. Our current waiting list is long and your wait for a Hearing Dog may be up to 4 years.

Step 2:

Complete the application process. 
We will require all applicants to fill out the online form (or request a paper form). You will be asked to provide:

  • An audiogram of your current hearing loss
  • 1 reference letter from a professional addressing your need for a hearing dog
  • 1 reference letter from someone who knows you and can speak to your dog handling skills and experience.
  • A picture of inside your home and outdoor space
  • A $25 processing fee by check or PayPal

Step 4:

Review & Approve
Your application is reviewed by the Application Review Committee. If approved, your name is entered on the applicant waiting list and an approximate wait time will be communicated. Applicants are listed based on the date the complete application was received in our office. 

Step 5:

Becoming a candidate.
Upon review of the Applicant List and comparison to our current dogs in training, the Hearing Dog Program staff makes suggestions for applicants to be matched with dogs that are ready to complete their training. These applicants become candidates, whereby they are asked to attend training sessions with a particular dog and trainer. This may be one-on-one, as a group or a combination of both – all are very important to the success of the Hearing Dog Team. Whenever possible, the candidate is encouraged to come to San Francisco to participate in this training, to maximize the bond with their new Hearing Dog and minimize expenses for the program.

Step 6:

Completing your training.
As the Hearing Dog Team completes training, they receive a certificate indicating this success based on standards by which we operate, which are set by Assistance Dogs International.

Step 7:

Each year, the HDP recognizes the Hearing Dog Teams in their community as well as within our Hearing Dog Program family. The graduating teams are presented with diplomas during this fundraiser, social gathering, Hearing Dog Team reunion, luncheon and fun time.

Ready to Apply?

If you have reviewed the steps above and wish to submit an application, please click below.

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