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A service dog putting keys into his owner's hand.

Image via Wikipedia

You should consider the way using a service dog will affect your life.  You and your service dogs with become a team.  That means that you will take them with you everywhere.  Are you willing to take a dog with you everyplace you go?  Are you willing to add the extra time to get your dog ready and vested every time you go somewhere?  Are you willing to possibly travel to get your dog and do the training required?

Some facilities need you come to them to learn how to use your dog.  After the initial training of your dog you may or may not have to visit the training center for a refresher course for both of you, or they may check in on you from time to time.

When I began using my service dog (owner trained) I wasn’t expecting the changes that using a service dog would make in my life.  The freedom that I felt to be able to do things that I had not been able to do before was amazing.  I can’t imagine life without him now.  He’s become like a part of me now when we go out.  He’s become like an arm.

The part that I didn’t expect was the extra time involved getting myself and him ready to go.  I also didn’t expect, since I had been able to pass as normal, having a psychiatric disability, I didn’t expect the subtle looks and questions from people who wanted to know if I was a trainer for service dogs or if I was the service dog’s handler.  I also didn’t expect the children and adults who want to pet the dog.  It can be an annoyance when I run into the store for two things and people’s questions keep me there for an hour.

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