Having a service dog can make a disabled person’s life a lot easier. If a disabled person is blind, a service dog can be their eyes. If a disabled person is deaf, a dog can be their ears. There are so many ways a service dog can help. If you think that you need one, then talk to your doctor and have yourself checked to see if your disability merits a service dog. You can also ask someone from the Social Security disability claims department to get a request for a service dog. Here are the steps to take to get a service dog:
See if you qualify
Before you request for a service dog, you should see if you qualify first. You can ask your doctor if you qualify for a service dog, or you can also refer to the guidelines below:
- If you have vision impairment, PTSD, hearing loss, diabetes, autism, epilepsy, or multiple sclerosis
- If your seizures occur once a month or more
- If your bilateral hearing loss is at 30% or more
- If you have mental disorders such as schizophrenia, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and/or general anxiety
You have to be committed to the dog
Some people have the notion that since they’re disabled and they need a service dog, an organization responsible for providing these needs will simply hand over a canine. It’s not that simple. Before you are provided with a service dog, you must be committed first to undergo training with the dog. Even trained dogs are not capable of attending to your needs as soon as they meet you. They need to familiarize themselves with you and your environment. You need to spend some time getting acquainted with your service dog so that it can help you effectively.
But don’t worry because you have to spend only an hour every day training with the dog. If you think that you can spend an hour each day working with your service dog and letting it get familiar with you, then you can qualify for a service dog.
Prepare your home for your service dog
Living with a service dog is like having a two-way relationship: it takes care of you, and you take care of it. You need to provide a stable and clean environment for your service dog if you wish to have one.
Having a safe environment for a service dog means that you should be living in a home that you intend to live in for a long time. Dogs are not used to sudden changes, and constantly moving around will give your service dog anxiety. Therefore, it won’t be able to help you with your disability.
Another description of a safe environment for a service dog is that there are no other people in your environment that can be detrimental to your dog. Your dog’s focus should be on you and your needs. If you have another person living in your home, that is disruptive of your schedule and your needs. As a disabled person, your service dog might find its task of taking care of you too tedious.
People who are not sympathetic to your situation should not stay around you if you wish to have a service dog. This also applies to other pets that you might have that do not like dogs. If you have cats in your home that do not like your service dog, you may have to choose to let your cats go if you need your service dog more. Finally, you should also be willing to take care of your service dog. It’s pretty much the same as having a pet in your home: You feed your pet, you give it a bath every now and then, and you take it out for walks so that it can exercise. The only difference with a service dog is that it is also taking care of you.