So you are thinking about applying for an assistance dog, but you’re not sure if this is the right thing for you. Here is some information that can help you decide…
First off, an assistance dog is not a cure, they are a treatment option. All disabilities are valid and equally deserving of help. An assistance dog is there to benefit and assist with your day-to-day living, giving you the freedom and control of your day as much as possible.
An assistance dog is not for everyone and that’s ok, just like any treatment it may not be a fit for all. If a pet dog has ever been of benefit to you with your disability, an assistance dog will likely greatly benefit you.
If you choose to go down this path here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be prepared for attention. An assistance dog brings attention to you, the amount and type of attention you get depends on the area you live in.
- Like having a baby or toddler, you may feel like you cart around everything but the kitchen sink.
- All your clothes will have dog hair.
- You have a jingle following you around due to their tags.
- You have increased financial responsibility such as food, vet, grooming, etc.
- Housing and exercise requirements – is your living environment suitable for a dog, do you have a plan to meet their exercise/down time needs?
- Household/family – do the people you live with support your decision for an assistance dog?
- Meeting training requirements – as with all things if you don’t use it you will lose it.
An assistance dog is your partner, you work as a team. Even though an assistance dog is medical equipment they are still living beings and have needs that must be met to enable them to be at their best to support you.
Assistance dogs are invaluable in the help they provide but they are also a big commitment. If you need help in deciding if an assistance dog is right for you please get in touch with us and we can aid you with this decision.