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.
We're in our first puppy class at the Whole Dog Institute, doing basic puppy relationship building. We've had a really intense one week course with a private trainer already to get fundamentals like sit, down, come, and touch rock solid as well as some early socialization experiences under our belt. Trey is a rock star and has been soaking it up like a sponge, but we've been careful to not move too fast!
We've also gone on our first hike by the Eno River, explored the Duke Gardens, met some friends' fabulous huskies, visited a coffee shop, gone to Home Depot, and mastered the game of Tug-Of-War!
With training and classes now the primary focus, it's critical that we meet our fundraising goal! Please, please, please help me reach $7500! Share the fundraiser on Twitter and Facebook, email it to your friends and family, print out the flyer and hang it up at your favorite coffee shop or gym.
If you're on Facebook, you're likely seeing a lot more photos of Trajan. I'll try to be better about posting updates to GoFundMe, I'm just really afraid of spamming everyone with emails and messages…
Thank you all so much for your generosity and support! Trey and I wouldn't be together without you!
Kevin & Trajan
Trajan slept most of the drive home, which was great. We've had a really awesome first 24 hours at home, Trajan has been an angel and we've only had one accident in the house. I'm so excited to have him home with us.
Our first vet visit is tomorrow morning and then we're going to explore the Duke Gardens together. It's a big day and I'll take lots of pictures to share with you all!
He'll be coming home with me this weekend and we'll start our journey together. I have time off from work over the next few weeks so that we can explore the local area together, meet our veterinarian, and build a strong foundational bond with each other.
With Trajan finally coming home, it's now more important than ever that I reach my fundraising goal so we have the best chance to successfully train for Service Dog work together! Please share the fundraiser link and tell your friends and family. I couldn't have gotten this far without all your generosity and support, and I can't thank you enough for all that you've done.
Thank you so much!
Kev & Trajan
Praying for you during your fundraiser and into the future. disabilities come in all shapes and sizes and I empathize with your challenges. Best wishes for the best to you !