Life With a Service Dog

Advantages and Disadvantages

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The best part of having a life with a service dog is that they are companionship, love and affection, and duty all rolled into one.


That package can mean the world to someone who has a disability.  Just a warm body in the room, another soul, can keep the bad thoughts away. 

Thinking of how you can keep yourself going becomes easier with a service dog.  They rely on you just as much as you rely on them.

If your health is a little rocky, they can be there to bolster you.  Their support when you falter, and their strength when you're weak can be all it takes to get you through to better times.  They are essential not only in a physical sense such as when they retrieve your fallen glasses or pick up your socks.  They are a necessary part of your life, in all aspects of it.

Training a service dog to walk nicely beside you, ignore other dogs or people who insist on trying to pet them, even in the face of a vest that specifically says 'do not pet' and equanimity in all situations, even novel ones, is a lifetime skill set.

Both you and your service dog, whether owner trained or through a foundation, will never stop learning together.

The team of you and your service dog can stand against all storms.  Whether that's a downturn in your health so you can no longer stand for any length of time, or maybe it's the death or disability of your long time caretaker, they are there for you.

Your life with your fully trained service dog can be easier and much fuller than if you did not have a dog to forge ahead of you, circle and form a fence around you when you're feeling vulnerable, and even being your ambassador. 

Meeting new people can be eased by their presence and friendly demeanor. Having a disability can be intimidating to some people and they don't know how to treat you in a wheelchair or walker.  A dog breaks the ice, and gives people something other than the elephant in the room to talk to you about.

The only disadvantage to your service dog being so well trained is that people will insist on meeting them, and have no clue if the dog is even actively tasking. 

They see a dog tasking and putting their paw on you as 'cute'.  They don't see it as lifesaving, by warning you that you're about to go into syncope and faint, falling to the floor. 

Their warning bark or other trained response to lowering blood pressure, or raising heart rate, or even the scent of higher blood sugar can be missed and dismissed by the untrained eye.

You may not be in the shape to tell people what's going on.  They may not be aware that your life with a service dog is not all roses. You must be their advocate, as they are yours.

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