Service Dogs, Inc. of Austin, Texas

About Us



Founded in 1988 by attorney Sheri Soltes, Service Dogs, Inc. builds better lives for Texans overcoming challenges through partnerships with custom trained Assistance Dogs provided free of charge.


  • Bring greater independence to wounded veterans and others living with disabilities through partnership with a working dog
  • Help abused children find their voice in court
  • Provide our first responders with a healthy way to process the stress, trauma and grief they encounter daily on the job keeping us safe
  • Provide abandoned, unwanted dogs and career change dogs renewed lives of love and service

Our Programs

Hearing Dogs – alert their deaf partners to essential sounds such as:

Oven timer
Door knock
Microwave oven
Baby’s cry
Child or adult calling their name
Emergency alarms in offices
Emergency sirens in traffic
Smoke alarms
Phone ringing/ring tone
Other custom trained sounds, e.g. washer or dryer buzzer, medical device alert


Service Dogs – perform a variety of assistive behaviors for their mobility challenged partners.

Retrieve dropped or indicated items such as:
Credit cards
Remote control

Turn lights on and off
Open and close doors
Open refrigerator and retrieve items, e.g. bottle of water, to-go bag
Nudge paralyzed limbs into position
Tug off jackets, socks, etc.
Open and close cabinets and drawers
Help partner sit up or roll over in bed
Go get help
Other customized tasks, e.g. tug zipper of hoody down, tug Velcro straps on shoes


Courthouse Facility Dogs – Work to help make the judicial process less stressful for children and other victims of crime.

Present during interviews with Victims Assistance Coordinator in investigation of abuse and preparation for trial. These dogs accompany children to court for docket call and accompany children on the witness stand – the child and Courthouse Facility Dog enter the courtroom out of the presence of the jury. SDI trains the Courthouse Facility Dogs to be very still and quiet for long periods of time, so when they are on the witness stand the jury is not aware of the dog. We train with a simulated paneled witness stand at our training center. This is to avoid the defense claiming that the jury was prejudiced in the child’s favor by the dog being there. Courthouse Facility dogs also provide comfort and stress relief to adult victims of domestic violence and to courthouse staff.


Emergency Services (formerly First Responder) Facility Dogs – 

Service Dogs, Inc. trains Emergency Services Facility Dogs to interact with Emergency Medical staff, including EMT, paramedics, ER, and other hospital staff. These specially trained dogs give these people a moment to take a break from their stress filled jobs and de-escalate from the traumatic things they see every day.  Our dogs have assisted at long term deployments like the Big Bend wildfires, in everyday first responder debriefings, such as after fatalities involving children, on the scene of accidents, at high schools after accidents involving student fatalities, and in hospital emergency rooms.



Trainers Academy – Professional dog trainers learn to train Hearing and Service Dogs, shelter dog evaluation and public work in a 5-day workshop followed by opportunities for audits.  Limited class size guarantees lots of attention from instructors.  Over 50% hands on training sessions with our advanced program dogs.

Our Clients

  • Individuals living with a severe loss of hearing or mobility
  • Texas residents
  • Adults – having a Hearing or Service Dog is a big responsibility, but pays off profoundly with increased independence
  • Victims Assistance Staff in District and County Attorneys’ Offices
  • First Responders
  • Professional dog trainers wishing to advance their knowledge of Assistance Dog and Facility Dog training

Our Dogs

  • We adopt dogs from animal shelters and rescue groups. We also adopt career change dogs from other organizations.
  • Dogs are selected based on temperament, including both mix and pure breeds.
  • We use only positive reinforcement training methodology.

Your Donation – One Donation Saves Two Lives

  • Your gift gives dogs new lives
  • Donations offer people the gifts of independence, security, companionship, unconditional love, and team work
  • Your gift is tax deductible, deeply appreciated, and used carefully and responsibly


Service Dogs, Inc. is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit. Please consider making a donation today! Service Dogs, Inc. does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, HIV/AIDS status, physical or mental disability for the purpose of service, employment, membership, volunteering, or leadership.