Companion dogs are specially trained dogs that are placed in a family with a child with autism. The dog must have good basic obedience and good house manners, be current on vaccinations, and be neutered or spayed. Some companion dogs may be trained in one or more tasks to support the family or child.

Companion dogs do not have public access and must follow local dog laws and access rules for housing and public accommodations.

Families must live within a one hundred miles of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Application Process

  1. Request an application and indicate that you are applying for a companion dog.
  2. Participate in an in-home interview with two SSD representatives and a demonstration dog.
  3.  After the interview, if you, your family, and SSD agree to continue the process, you must complete selected parts of the formal application.
  4. Your family must participate in at least four therapy dog visits with SSD.
  5. When an appropriate dog is found and matched with your family, we will schedule training.
  6. Your family must complete at least ten hours of training. Upon completion, you will pay for the dog and sign the ownership papers. 
  7. SSD will follow up annually to ensure the dog continues to be a valued addition to the family.


Companion dogs cost $2,500. Families may elect to make payments of at least $250 per month for ten months.

If you have questions, please email us at ssd @

Apply for a Companion Dog