View Full Version : Service dogs

07-12-2013, 08:15 AM
Fact: I have Lupus (duh). Fact: although I refuse to let it run my life, there are days that it does getter the better of me. Moments when I feel like I was a door mat for a herd of elephants. Add the years of being the Queen of Klutz and having broken way too many bones (all my toes, each at least twice). Those broken bones, although healed, frequently remind me of the abuse I once imposed on them. Especially my lower back. Bone on bone is not a good thing. Step wrong, turn wrong... breathe wrong (to mean simply breathing) and BAM! quick and intense pain that though may only last a moment, it makes for the world's longest moment and leaves me reeling.

I'm ok with having to use a cain. A walker? Not yet. At age 50, I just can't get my head wrapped around that one. Wheelchair? Still too self mobile for that. I hang on to a shopping cart whenever one is available and that tends to help.

At one point a few years ago, when discussing treatment options (or the lack of) with my general physician, she and I came to the conclussion that a service dog might be an option for me. My biggest "problems" are getting from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa. Also, if I do manage to get down on the floor whether I intended to or not, getting back up is no easy deal. Bending to pick up dropped objects is rarely an option.

I know service dogs are amazing. They can do everything from detect seizures, to guilde the blind, hearing, and so much more. My needs are simple: be physically strong enough to allow me to use as a steady to get up and down and to pick up dropped objects. The hardest part of the training would be the retrieval. Standing by me is the easy, yet so appreciated part. In other words, the service dog would be doing what my husband normally does. The problem is, my husband works full time as do I and he can't be by my side 24/7 and frankly, as much as I adore him, I wouldn't want him to be.

Do any of you have a service dog? Getting one? Please share your thoughts on this topic.

07-12-2013, 08:46 AM
I suggest you read some of marla's comments about her dog connor. I think it is an excellent idea. the fact that you have an extra companion that will love you no matter how sore you feel cannot be overemphasised.

07-12-2013, 02:10 PM
Speaking of Marla has any one heard from her lately?

07-12-2013, 05:49 PM
Ditto about Marla

07-12-2013, 10:10 PM
I know Marla was having spotty Internet service while living near Monterey, but I'm wondering if her hubby finished his advanced degree? It seems to me that Jeff should have finished (Spring 2013) and they would've returned to San Antonio about now.

I've sure missed her posts on WHL.

07-16-2013, 01:45 PM
Since writing the original post, I've talked to a lot of people and did quite a bit more research. Yeah, its time. As much as I'd like to get an already trained dog, the $6600 is out of my affordability at this time. Fortunately (?) the duties I need the dog to perform don't require a great deal of skill so on that note my husband and I are confident we can do most of the training ourselves. I will be taking the pup through the good canine citizen course and probably continue on to various obedience courses. I found a local labrador breeder and will be meeting them next week with the possibility of getting a pup in October. After much thought and discussion, the pros of a pup vs older dog outweigh the cons although I'm really not looking forward to housebreaking!

This was not a hastily made decision and also a decision based on the reality of my health, not the desire of another dog. A bonus is that my beagle will have someone to play with besides my husband and myself and chewing on the cats (and they let her-crazy cats!) I spoke with a coworker who is wheel chair bound due to cerebral palsy and I value her insight. She told me that the dog will enhance, not detract from my quality of life. That having a dog could possibly prevent me from injury that could result in body cast, surgeries, wheelchair... long term unpleasant effects. Yeah, she knows I'm klutzy and she's witnessed my instability. She's right. Another friend said jokingly, yet with all seriousness to make sure I get a soft comfortable dog. Why??? so when I do fall and the dog breaks my fall, I'll have something soft to fall into. Good point!

I don't know why this is such a difficult decision for me. Logically, it makes perfect sense. I even spoke with a professional service dog trainer and she wholeheartedly recommended I get a dog. Logistically, I have room in my home with a large fenced in yard for a service dog. I can afford the vet bills, food and accessories it will require (I already spend much $ on Quinn the beagle, so what's one more?!) I know this is the right decision...yet. The emotional hurdle gets in the way. But as my dear sweet husband says so eloquently: "get over it!"

07-16-2013, 07:38 PM
there is a thread in whl, discussing service dogs. there is a reference to a couple of good books to use. http://forum.wehavelupus.com/showthread.php?10377-Do-you-have-a-Service-Dog&highlight=service hope this helps.