Service dog files-vol. I

With the help of Capital District Center for Independence, I started pursuing the idea of a service dog two years ago and have been on and off with the application process ever since. Until now, that is. I have in my files six applications to fill out. The organizations I am applying to include Empire Servicedog Program Inc., Canine Partners for Life, Canine Companions for Independence, Canine Working Companions, Inc., and Paws with a Cause.

Each application follows the same basic pattern as far as requirements:

  • Service Dog Application (consisting of many parts)
  • Application Fee: $50 dollars each
  • Medical Information
  • Professional Reference Form
  • Veterinarian Form
  • Letter of Reference
  • Photo of Self

Looking at all these parts six times over is certainly overwhelming, especially when I have difficulty discussing my disability, let alone asking for help.

Part of the reason I have stopped and started it so many times is that I have difficulties describing and putting my exact form of cerebral palsy into words. Though pursuing a service dog will certainly enhance my life in many ways, I find it daunting because applying for a service dog is asking for help in a big way, and also acknowledging my CP to a degree that I have not done before.

It is for these reasons that I have shied away from it in the past, but there is only so much denial and procrastination that one can do. I can only benefit from doing this, but I have had doubts about it in the past, wondering if I would be perceived as a "good" recipient for a dog, having an odd fear that one had to be wheelchair bound in order to be a proper candidate.

A service dog is also a large financial commitment, with the fee being up to $20,000! So far I only have a quarter of that maximum amount saved in reserve for a dog. Otherwise, I'll have to take out loans or fund raise the remainder, though I've been told that fundraising for such endeavors has not been fruitful given the current economy.

It has occurred to me to post a wish on Wish Upon a Hero once I am placed with a dog to help pay for the remaining expense of the dog. However, I don't hold out much hope in this as I have participated in granting wishes on the site and seen people asking for the simple daily things I take for granted. So I am not sure I can be so bold as to ask for thousands of dollars from strangers.


Daniel Nester said...

I didn't know a service dog was that expensive.

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