A Psychiatric Service Dog for Kevin
After years of exhausting a long list of traditional treatment options and augmentation strategies—and several long discussions over many months—my psychiatrist and I believe I would benefit greatly from the use of a service animal. And that’s why I need your help.
I'm trying to raise $7500 to help cover the costs of getting and training a psychiatric service dog. Any money raised past my target goal will be donated to Psychiatric Service Dog Partners, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the advocacy and support of psychiatric service dog use, and Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization that runs the largest no-kill animal shelter in the United States.
Acquiring a service animal is often a long, difficult, and expensive process. There are many wonderful organizations across the globe whose mission is to raise, train, and place service animals with disabled people in need of their aid. These professionally trained dogs often carry a price tag well over $10,000! Unfortunately, very few of these organisations specialise in psychiatric service animals, with a handful of notable exceptions focused on PTSD service dogs for disabled veterans.
Many psychiatric service dogs are owner-trained, which is when a disabled person gets a dog on their own and trains the animal to perform the very same work and tasks as a professional organization would. This owner-trained approach is frequently recommended for psychiatric service dogs because of the many idiosyncricies they must learn and be sensative to, but it is still very expensive. Acquiring a dog, routine veterinary care, animal health insurance (more commonly called "pet insurance"), and the various accouterment of bringing home a new family member quickly add up to a daunting “initial investment” cost.
There are also the costs associated with training itself. I am by no means a professional dog trainer and in order to be successful we will need to work with an experienced trainer nearly every week for much of our first two years together.
Once fully trained and able to accompany me throughout the day, my new service dog will help me combat the negative effects of my disability, live a more productive life, and reclaim the activities I once loved. At home and at work he will help me keep a regular schedule, including remembering to take medications and eat meals; alert me at the earliest stages of a panic attack and help to mitigate them; disrupt negative or unproductive behaviors and rumination; and, ground me during dissociative episodes.
I’m hopeful that I can raise the money to help cover these initial hurdles before the end of 2016 and be on the road to partnering with my new service dog in the spring of next year, maybe even sooner. I am saving every penny I can towards my goal but also have to have to prioritize student loan repayment, frequent doctors appointments, and my medications, and that's why I need your help!
Over the last few years, my depression, anxiety, and the myriad challenges of ADHD have significantly worsened, which has taken a toll not only on me but on my friends and family as well. My doctors and I truly believe a service dog will be a powerful and effective resource in managing and coping with my disability.
Thank you so much for reading my story and for any support you're able to offer! Even if you can only share my fundraising campaign and spread the word, I genuinely appreciate your help.
Soon begins the hard work of puppy raising, socialization, and obedience training! I haven't been this excited about something in years and it feels amazing. Thank you again!
It will still be another five or six weeks before we know if any of these little ones has the right temperament for Service Dog work and another three or four before a potential candidate could come home. I'll keep you updated as the puppies arrive. :)
I can't tell you how excited I am and how grateful I am for all your help, love, and support! Thank you all so much!!