I spoke with the application coordinator at National Service Dogs and she assured me that we can still apply until Alex is 10 years old.
That was a huge relief.
It's still a long process and there are no guarantees. NSD has given out 250 dogs in the last 16 years. Simple math tells us that only 15 or 16 families per year get a dog. How many apply? No idea but I'm betting it's more than 15 or 16.
I'm putting in the application. My husband still isn't convinced but he is at least on board with applying. He's worried about the expense and daily work of taking care of the dog. (To be fair, I am, too.)
One other note on the website concerned me. They pointed out that many applying families fundraise to help cover the $30 000 cost of the dog while they wait. There was a note that fundraising did not increase your chances of getting a dog but I am not convinced of that. That's a lot of work but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
I find myself getting overwhelmed if I concentrate on too many steps at once. So for now, just concentrate on the baby steps: get the application in.