Our vision is to see love and dignity rehabilitate inmates and give people living with disabilities greater independence.

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Retrieving Independence is a Nashville-based nonprofit that breeds, trains and places service dogs with people who are living with a physical, mental or emotional disability.

Changing people’s lives, one dog at a time.

With a unique and ground-breaking model, the Retrieving Independence training program provides counseling services to our inmate trainers. When an incarcerated person is transformed through the support and love of the RI training program, not only do they benefit, but our communities also benefit.

And when our service dogs are placed with their forever person, they change another life!

Volunteer Services

Retrieving Independence volunteers are crucial to the successful integration of our dogs into the homes and communities of their future partners. By becoming a volunteer, you will have the opportunity to change lives one dog at a time. We have three basic types of volunteers…

Support Retrieving Independence

Inmate Training Program

Retrieving Independence and the TN Department of Corrections have a partnership in which inmates learn to train service dogs. Our dogs work within two TN prisons where male and female inmates receive counseling and learn service dog training skills.

Success Stories - Retrieving Independence

Apply for a Service Dog

Retrieving Independence works hard to select and breed dogs that will be suitable for service work. We work just as hard to qualify and match clients with a service dog. If you are ready to apply for a Retrieving Independence Service Dog, please fill out a request for an application.


Due to the high demand, registration is currently closed through the remainder of 2024 and will reopen in 2025. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Director of Client Experience, Rebekah Glasmeier at

Fall in Love with Puppy Raising Crewneck in Indigo

Official Merchandise

Retrieving Independence has an official merchandise store for short-sleeve and long-sleeve t-shirts, as well as sweatshirts. We have a variety of options, including our latest fall design.