This picture is of Candi my Service Dog and the usual service dog vest she wears with the appropriate information on it, her Gentle Leader over her nose and her leash attached to it. That is my husband sitting next to her in a cable car as we take a ride up the mountain to the ski area. You can read the blog before this one (Service Dogs/Part 1) to read the first part of this two part blog.
For me having a Service Dog is heaven on earth but, is it right for you? There are many things to consider. First off do you really like dogs and have you ever had a dog as a pet? If yes then you have an idea of what it takes to be a pet owner. However it is considerably more to be a Service Dog owner. Especially if you plan to train the dog yourself which many do. There are the costs of all dog training classes and courses, all medical bills and shots to keep them current on everything. They must have the best dog food you can afford, a dog bed, vests and leashes, ID tags and current dog license and yes dog toys. Mine also has a doggy rain coat and doggy coat if very cold outside for walks. In other words you need to be able to afford one and take excellent care of your dog.
You have a big responsibility in keeping your dog properly managed, well groomed and well behaved especially in public. Only a real Service Dog is allowed in most the places you go to. IF they make a mistake on the floor let’s say, YOU have to clean it up right away. If you keep track of their potty times you should never have a problem. Depending on what they are trained to do for you they should be on a leash right next to you, no wandering around. Never hand their leash to someone else unless they are a trusted person you know well.
Remember a Service dog is a still a dog first and they need a lot of love and respect and need to be around you all the time. Besides what they do for you they need their play time, exercise, walks and rest. They like you can have an ‘off ‘day now and then but still need to be treated with love. Develop a strong bond with your dog too and gain their absolute trust in you. Show them that being a Service Dog is a wonderful happy thing. I have seen Service dogs that look so down trodden that it breaks my heart for that is NOT necessary!
Here is another big thing to consider, can you by yourself take care of ALL their needs? My husband walks Candi, bathes her, gives her good play time and walked her thru all her dog training classes and does potty detail. Oh I do a lot too but if he passes before me could I still do his part? Yes I could, it would not be easy BUT I never would give her up!!! If I went first she would have him. A family situation is the best for all concerned for many reasons. However if you are alone you better have help available if you need it.
If you have never had a dog this might not be a good option for you. We don’t mind the dog hair, the work involved, the expense and all of that. Forget having a totally neat house or worrying what their tail is going to knock on the floor, don’t mind the dog smudges on your vehicle windows or patio doors, the dust or what gets spilled on the floor. I like a clean house but love my dog and her help way more!!!!!!
Both my husband and I have loved and had dogs all our lives so having a Service Dog was just the natural next step after I came down with MS, it has been a huge blessing!
Next time Part 3 Tips, Tricks and What Candi does for me.
It's that time again a new month and hopefully a warmer one. Sometimes it's hard to come up with new things each month to peak readers interest. Hopefully these will touch someone out there in cyber world.
1. Brigham and Women's Hospital (my old stopping grounds for twenty years) is doing a study regarding genes and the environment as it relates to MS. The study does not require you to go into Boston and involves a saliva sample. The link below will provide you with more information and allow you to discuss what it entails with their research nurse. My daughter and I will definitely be looking into this as results may help her children.
2. While writing this information, I will try to say things in a bipartisan way. Keep tract of the news regarding Social Security Disibility Funding. There are many theories out there, that say the funding will be empty by 2016. Get involved. As I write this, I am an independent who believes both parties have great ideas. Just hoping one of these days, they will work together. For me, I couldn't survive without this benefit. This is a brief article from the Associated Press dated February 12,2015.
Urging the U.S. Senate to Ensure Continuation of Disability Benefits
February 12, 2015
In early January, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a rule that has caused a great deal of concern in the nearly 11 million Americans – including many with multiple sclerosis (MS) – who rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The rule makes it more difficult to transfer funds between Social Security programs further threatening the soundness of SSDI which is expected to become insolvent in 2016 (largely due to long-term demographic trends including an aging workforce). If Congress takes no remedy to address these barriers, SSDI beneficiaries could face benefit cuts of up to 20 percent by the end of 2016. The average monthly SSDI benefit for someone with a disability is $1,140, just over the poverty line and often enough to sustain only the basic necessities of life. Immediately after this House rule went into effect, the National MS Society – in partnership with about 50 other national disability organizations – sent a letter to all members of Congress about our concern.
On Wednesday, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing titled, “The Coming Crisis: Social Security Disability Trust Fund Insolvency.” Witnesses included Acting Social Security Commissioner, Carolyn Colvin. The Society and other disability advocacy organizations again joined forces in a statement for the record, urging Congress to expeditiously allow for easier transfer of money between Social Security funds. A temporary shift of Social Security’s incoming revenues to the Disability Insurance fund – called “reallocation” – will extend the fund’s solvency for almost two decades without cutting coverage, eligibility or benefits – and without increasing taxpayer contributions. Congress has made similar shifts 11 times in the past, almost equally increasing the percentage of Social Security revenues going into one fund or the other. Under reallocation, the solvency of the overall Social Security system stays the same, with the combined funds remaining fully solvent through 2033.
3. National MS Awareness week is March 2-8. Try to be a part of this, even in a small way. Go to the MS Society website for ideas of how you can get involved.
4. Does coffee protect against MS? If interested in learning more about this, the Amercan Academy of Neurology will highlight this at their annual meeting in April in Washington, D C. There are many additional articles on this subject and the abstract of study can be found on the National MS Society web page.
5. Health Allies. Stay tuned for this amazing launch.
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