Why a service dog?
If you lived in the house with me, this qestion would seem a no-brainer. But the vast majority of the world does not, so it comes as no surprise to me that people ask "why did you get/are you training a service dog?"
I use a rollator and went back to work, so I must be to active to need a service dog, right? Wrong! There area wide range of tasks a srvice dog can provide a handler, such as;
Guide for visually impared persons
Hearing assistance for deaf/hard of hearing pesons
Mobility assistance for wheel chair AND ambulatory persons
Other Medical alert
the list goes on.
Monster is already trained to help me avoid uneven surfaces and is working on removing objects from my path that might cause me to stumble. I was left with some visual imparement and balance imparement after my stoke. A misstep, a stumble,turning my head too quickly, a startle, or trying to bend over can send me sprawlng. Monster is trained to help me avoid situations where something like that might happen. He will also be trained to retrieve objects droped onto the floor. We chose a larger sized breed so that he could assist me with bracing and regaining balance once he reaches his full height.
There are a long list of other tasks that a mobility assistance dog can be trained to do, from opening and closing doors to bringing the phone to a handler, helping to unload a dryer, and a lots more tasks. Service dogs can enrich the lives of anyone with a disabiliy.
Like my rollator, service dogs seem to be somthing that not very many stroke survivors know can be a big help to them, so not very many survivors look into getting a service dog. I'd like to help make more of us aware of them and ways that they can help us.
First of all: Just about any dog can be trained to be a service dog! Thee are no "unaccepable breeds," only dogs whose temperments might be a concern, but that is something unique to the dog, not the dog's breed.
Second: You CAN train your own pet, or have your pet tained to be a servie dog. The waiting list from an organization can be years. You can have a trainer or a vet evaluate your dog for temperment and personality. If your dog meets the criteria, you can have your own dog trained.
Thrid: Service task training is always specifically taylored to your individual needs. You or your trainer will create a training map for your animal, to include just the tasks that you need the dog's assistane to complete. It may be only 1 task, or it may be many. That is for you and/or you trainer to determine.
Fourth: As long as your service dog performs 1 assistance task for you, the dog is considered a service dog and entitled to full public access under the Americans with Disablities Act of 1990 an the Departmnt of Justice.
Fifth: Training can be done at a trainer's facility, or in your own home. Many trainers offer "private" lessons and can taylor training to fit your schedule. Training costs can vary and training maps can be widely different, so it pays to shop around for a trainer.
There are more than just pysical benifits from owning a servie dog. Monster and I have only been a team since last Friday, but having him to train has given me more motivaton to become/remain active, helped ease my depression, made me feel safer when Sam and Logan are not home, and, in my case, helped me deal with some of the "empty nest" syndrome I have been going through with 2 of my 3 kids no longer at home. Monster has also had a positive effect on Sam and Logan.
I am a big supporter of service dogs and I'd like to invite everyone to take a look into the ways a service dog can benifit you. It is easy to find all sorts of information on service dogs, their training, organizations (I advocate Service Dogs America), and teaming up with a wonderful companion and assistant care giver. All you need to do is run an internet search for "service dog!"