Sunday, September 30, 2007

How I chose to have a service dog

I began thinking about getting a service dog to assist me more than 12 years ago when my mom and I saw a show on Canine Companions for Independence. I grew up with dogs. They always seemed to intuitively know that, unlike the other kids, I could not always help it if I fell on them or stepped on them. I even managed as a child to train our Malamute mixed breed, Cami, to pull my wheelchair around the neighborhood. Okay, so the pulling pulling part came naturally.However, I did teach him to stop when I told him! By having him with me my parents were willing to let me venture out on my own more than before. My parents were also more willing to let me stay home by myself at the age of 11 because they noticed the dogs would also move to the room where I was if I was alone. So when we found they were training dogs to help people with mobility disabilities I decided to apply for a dog from Purdy Prison Pets Partnership Program.
After along application process including details about the type of assistance; information about my living situation, information about how I intended to cover the day today care of the dog; a description of my personality as well as the traits I thought I would and would not like in my partner; two letters of reference; and some forms signed by my doctors I mailed it in with the application fee and waited. I wasn't long before they called me for a phone interview, and then a in person interview. I passed the process and was accepted onto the list of people waiting to get service dogs. They told me the wait could be as long as 2 years or as little as a few months depending upon when they had a dog that matched my needs.

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