Service dogs can make a huge difference in your life if you are disabled. Unfortunately, it can be very confusing to know how to make a decision to get a service dog as well as how to find the right animal for your needs.
If you have been thinking about a service dog or have had someone mention the possibility of this animal to you, then you probably aren’t sure if it is the right fit for you. Before going through the process of getting a service dog, you first need to make sure that it is the right option for you and that it will be able to help you.
Choosing a Service Dog or an Emotional Support Animal
One important consideration is whether you are looking for a service dog or an emotional support animal. Emotional support animals do a wonderful job providing emotional support but don’t need any special training. It’s easy to use an animal other than a dog for an emotional support animal while only dogs and miniature horses can be service animals.
Since they don’t require any special training, this means that you can easily train your emotional support dog yourself but that you won’t necessarily have all of the benefits that come with a properly trained service dog.
Service dogs are different from emotional support dogs because they are trained to perform tasks for their owners. These dogs can help with intellectual, physical, psychiatric, or sensory needs and generally need to be trained by a professional to ensure that they provide the benefit that the owner needs.
Work with Your Doctor
Once you have decided upon a service dog rather than an emotional support animal, you will want to talk to your doctors. They will be able to provide you with a note that states that a service dog will be able to help you mitigate or manage your disability, thus improving your standard of life.
The goal of the doctor is to help show not only that you have a disability but that having a service dog can improve your quality of life. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to get a service dog without being able to show that the animal will be able to improve your life and help you in a meaningful way.
Decide Where You Will Get the Dog
Once your doctor has given you the paperwork that you need to obtain a service dog, you will need to start the process to find and obtain your new dog. There are many different organizations that will train the dog for you and then work with you to control your dog or you can work to train the animal yourself.
Of course, anyone who needs a dog with specialized skills, such as a seeing-eye dog, will want to consider having a dog trained for him or her. This ensures that the dog is able to perform the skills and tasks required of it.
You don’t have to have a service dog trained professionally but not working with an expert can make it harder to get the trained animal that you need. This can be very frustrating, which is why so many people work with professionals.
Plan for the Cost
Finally, you must be prepared for the cost that comes with a service dog. These animals can be very expensive, which is why you should start planning for how you will pay for your new service dog right away.
Fundraisers, bake sales, and even auctions are great ways to fund the purchase of a service dog. As soon as you have talked to your doctor about your needs, then you will want to start planning for the purchase of your dog so that you don’t delay receiving your animal.
There are a few steps that you need to take when you are interested in getting a service dog. Understanding how to navigate this process can be very tricky, which is why so many people become frustrated during this time.
Although the process can be very lengthy, when you are determined to get the service dog that you need, then you need to stick with it. Getting the help of a professional is a great way to ensure that you end up with the right service dog for your needs.