Adopt a Dog

Since our founding in 1929, The Seeing Eye has bred its own dogs to raise and train to be Seeing Eye® dogs. We selectively breed for health, longevity, intelligence, obedience, temperament, and other factors, based on DNA data, staff observations, decades of genealogical records, and the expertise of our staff geneticist.

We strive to breed only as many dogs as we need for our program, which means very few dogs become available to the public for adoption.

Dogs that are unable to complete guide dog training for whatever reason are first offered back to the volunteer who raised it as a puppy, and most puppy raisers do welcome the dog back home. If the dog has potential to work in law enforcement or some other kind of service, those organizations are given the priority in selecting dogs. The few dogs not adopted by their puppy raisers and not selected for service work will become available to the public for adoption. In addition, sometimes Seeing Eye graduates are unable to keep retired dogs in their homes, and these older dogs also are occasionally available for adoption.

We have many more applicants to adopt dogs than we have dogs available for adoption. Most of those who apply to adopt a dog from The Seeing Eye will never receive a dog from us. Those who do receive a dog have waited on average one to four years, depending on the preferred age, gender, breed, temperament, and health of the dog. The wait time is typically shortest for German shepherds and longest for golden retrievers, with Labrador retrievers and Labrador/golden retriever crosses somewhere in between. Those willing to adopt a dog with a more serious but manageable health or temperament issue may experience a shorter waiting period. Once you apply for an adoptable dog, we ask that you contact us every six months to renew your application and let us know you’re still interested.

Highly qualified applicants who make a donation of $25,000 or more to The Seeing Eye may have an adoption expedited process. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, donations make it possible to fulfill our mission. Thank you!

Adopted dogs are not to be used as a guide or service dog.

Please read through the Frequently Asked Questions below. If after reading you are interested in applying to adopt, please call our Adoptions Team at 973-539-4425 ext. 1844 or email

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Our Dogs Become Available For Adoption?

When a Seeing Eye puppy or dog is unable to complete guide dog training, we call them “adoptables”. We also have adoptables that have career changes and are trained in a different line of work.

These dogs may be unable to complete guide dog training either because they have a behavioral problem that disqualifies them from guide work, or they have a medical issue that makes them unable to become a guide dog.

When a dog gets removed from the program, they are always offered to the puppy raiser first. If the puppy raiser does not adopt the dog, and the dog has potential to work in some other capacity, these organizations are given priority in selecting dogs. The few dogs not adopted by puppy raisers and not selected for a career change will become available to the public for adoption.

Am I Able to Adopt Where I Live?

We limit our adoptions to families that live in the Eastern United States. To adopt one of our dogs, we require you to come and meet the dog we are offering. We do not fly our dogs to be adopted.

Which Dogs Are Available to Adopt?

The majority of dogs available for adoption are between one and a half and four years old. The youngest know basic obedience and are housebroken. Some of the dogs may have had some guide dog training, but our adoptable dogs are not to be used as a guide dog. Dogs that have retired from careers as guides also are available and usually are seven years or older, but can no longer be used as guide dogs. All adoptable dogs have been neutered or spayed, and have up-to-date vaccinations prior to being offered for adoption. Most dogs will still require additional obedience training once adopted.

Predominantly, we have German shepherds available for adoption. Occasionally we also have Labrador retrievers, Labrador/golden retriever crosses, or golden retrievers available.

How Much Does it Cost to Adopt?

The standard fee for dog adoption is $1,500. The fee is reduced for senior dogs and dogs with more serious but manageable health or temperament issues.

Can I Expedite the Process?

In recognition of donors who support our mission with a gift of $25,000 or more, The Seeing Eye maintains a VIP list of qualified adopters with significantly reduced wait times. For more information regarding our VIP adoption program, please email or call 973-539-4425 and ask for Donor & Public Relations.

How Do I Become an Applicant?

To apply to adopt a dog from The Seeing Eye, you must contact our Adoptions Team Staff. They can be reached at either 973-539-4425 ext. 1844, or you can set up a time to call at They will send you either a link to fill out the application online, or a copy of the application to adopt via either mail or e-mail. Once you fill out the application there is a $25.00 application fee that can be submitted electronically or via mail. Once received, your application will be processed and your name will be placed on the adoption list.

Please note: To stay active as an applicant, contact our Adoption Team Staff every SIX months. We ask that you check back with us every six months to affirm your continued interest in adopting. Because this is an important step in keeping your application from becoming inactive, please make this important step a priority, or your application will become inactive. If you call within six months of your application becoming inactive, we can make your application active again, but other active applications will have likely gotten ahead of yours, so you will be farther down the list. So please do remember to check in for your six month renewal.

How Am I Offered A Dog?

We will contact you by phone if and when we have a dog that may be suitable for you. At that time, you'll receive a description of the dog, the reason it was removed from the program, an overview of the dog's life in the foster puppy raiser home, and an explanation of the dog's needs moving forward.

We will arrange an appointment for you to come to our campus and meet the dog in a timely fashion after being offered the dog. We ask that you bring your whole family to come and meet the dog. If you have other dogs at home, we would prefer if you would bring them to meet the dog you are being offered. If you, your family, and the Adoption Team Staff agree that it looks like a good match, you will be able to fill out the paperwork, pay the adoption fee, and take the dog home.