This last week Cammy, my roommate's guide dog pulled a muscle in her leg. My roommate realized her girl needed a couple days off and pulled out her white cane. Her white cane is far from her favorite way to get around, but she had to go to school and work. Many people considering partnering with a service dog think that having a dog means they will no longer need other tools or people to function with their disability. Even though our dogs are amazing, one should never make a dog, no matter how well trained, solely responsible for one's health and safety. It is important to have back up ways to meet your needs in case your service dog is sick or injured.
1. When you get a service dog do not get rid of any mobility equipment you already have and make sure you always have it where you can get to it quickly. Guide Dogs for the Blind encourages their graduates to carry at least an ID Cane in case something should happen.
2. Carry a cell phone in case you need to call someone to help you.
3. If you have caregivers do not eliminate them because you think the dog will handle it all.
4. Identify people who could come babysit your service dog if they cannot work and you must go out.