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Service Dog


Wufflebear
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I have been wondering if I could/should get a service dog. I pass out without warning maybe only once every 5 years.. and get hurt. The rest of the time I pass out with warning and dont get hurt but as we all know that is only part of the problem. I get dizzy or turned around and confused in stores, bad brain fog etc. etc. etc. So A dog to warn me about a no warning faint, a dog to help me out emotionally when I have to lie down in public, a dog to maybe even warn me when I am pushing myself too far and end up doing something stupid as I am do foggy and ddizzy to really be doing that.. especially with kids now I find that I can push myself too far.

Not even sure if any of this qualifies as dog worthy! My mom and kids think so.. Thoughts??

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When I was being seen at Mayo, there was another POTS patient who had a service dog. He was actually able to warn her when her blood pressure was too low to get up, and she'd stay seated or put her feet up. I think he also was able to tell she was going to pass out before she actually did, but I'm not sure.

When I was mostly bedridden, and only able to take short, small trips I looked into getting a service dog. I found out I did qualify, but the wait list is super long, it's really expensive, and I honestly didn't think I'd be well enough to do the intensive training they require you to go through when you get the dog. However, depending on where you're located, what kind of help you might get from your doctors, etc., I know there are ways around all of these issues, it just didn't seem like it would work out for me personally.

So, I got a puppy with the intention of having it service trained privately (which is nice; as long as you have the right kind of trainer near you, you can do it without worrying about whether you qualify for a service dog). The only downside to this is that you won't know if a dog is suited for service work until he or she is about 6 months old. I took the risk anyway, and even though my dogs (yes, I eventually got a second puppy to keep the first one company) probably are suited to service work, I'm no longer sick enough to need a dog that's 100% service trained (yay!). So, I'm going to have them both therapy certified, so they can go everywhere with me, and am working with a trainer on training them to do certain things that I still need help with.

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Not sure if they'd take the dog away if you were doing better... I actually never thought about that, but it sounds like a valid concern. Also not sure if his training would lapse, either, if you didn't use the dog for service type stuff for awhile. However, I do know that service dogs actually have to be specially handled when they are not acting as service dogs, because they are so intensively trained to serve, that they actually don't know how to just be dogs. When they're not being used, they can get depressed and have other issues. So not sure how that would work for someone who may not need the dog for long stretches of time.

Therapy dogs are trained to be almost as well behaved as service dogs out in public - pay attention to their handler, friendly to everyone, are pretty unflappable as far as whatever environment they have to go into, things like that. Anyone with any kind of medical issue - even if it's minor - can have a certified therapy dog, and that applies to both physical and emotional issues - people with PTSD and anxiety can have them, for example.

Therapy dogs are allowed in all establishments, just like service dogs. They can ride on the plane with you, go into stores, restaurants, basically everywhere. To get a therapy dog, you'd need to get a dog yourself and either train it yourself or have it trained professionally. The dog then goes through a basic test (it's not hard - it mostly tests basic obedience and temperament), and your doctor has to certify that you have a medical condition necessitating a therapy dog. The dog will then have something he/she can wear in public denoting that it can go everywhere that a service dog can.

Outside of the basic therapy dog training, you can still have your dog trained to do additional tasks that you specifically might need - like opening doors, bringing you things when you're in a flare, acting as a support if you get dizzy, things like that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

FYI here is the link to the ADA rules for service dogs. There is a distinct difference between therapy dogs and service dogs. Whereas service dogs are allowed in almost all public places therapy dogs are not legally afforded the same privlages.

http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

I am currently looking into a service dog myself or possibly training my 5 month old Great Dane puppy as a service dog here is what I've found so far:

My puppy has alerted me prior to several syncopal episodes so that is why I may pursue having her trained. (I pass out about 15 times a day) Cardiac and seizure alert dogs are born with the innate ability to detect these medical crisis, they are not entirely trained behavior. I also would be using a service dog for stability when i start walking as well as some other tasks like retrieving items, pulling my wheelchair, turning lights on and off, opening doors/pushing handicap buttons, Bracing and blocking, as well as assisting me to the floor when needed.

I live in Colorado and am blessed that there are several service dog organizations in the state as well as a place that assists you in training your own dog. Don't know what is available where you live...

The one I'm looking into has on site classes, in home or distance programs that allow a local trainer to facilitate the training. There prerequisites for begining service dog training include 1 yrs old, Canine Good Citizen through AKC, Vet clearance and screening for potential problems that would prevent the dog from being capable of fulfilling duties of service dog. They also require you have a ADA qualifying disability verified by a Dr.

Hope this helps with to your research.

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I encourage anyone who needs a service dog to get one. However, another consideration is that these dogs still have all the needs of any other dog...vet visits, grooming, daily exercise, being let out in a fenced area or taken on walks several times a day to relieve themselves, and feeding. I think for our particular type of illness, this has to be a consideration. Are we well enough to care for the dog and do we have help and financial resources, as well? I think many of us can manage it but some may not be able to meet the dog's needs.

Hope you are able to figure out what is best for you.

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Thanks Katybug, You're right that you need to be able to meet the needs of the dog. Thankfully my family can step in where I am incapable and we already are familiar with the responsibilities of pet ownership with our other 2 dogs, and now the puppy as well. Its true that it can be expensive especially when an emergency comes up...

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