Hi! My name is Josiah, and I am 36 years old. I have cerebral palsy, which means that it is hard for me to use my legs. My balance and stamina are affected, which is why I sometimes use a wheelchair. I manage pain and spasticity on a daily basis.
Eleven or so years ago, I found a wonderful dog at a shelter. His name was Declan.
Boy, did I luck out with Declan's personality. He was wonderfully suited to help negate some of my challenges. Declan was able to pull my wheelchair, help me balance while I walked, and even braced himself to help me when I fell. Declan's presence prevented people from walking too close to me and knocking me down, and he was always there for me as a companion. He loved to help me go camping, and was no stranger to road trips, plane rides, and even rides on ferry boats. With Declan's help, I have even been able to do short hikes in the Rocky Mountains near where I live.
Unfortunately as Declan aged, he was less able to work to help me get around. Sadly, on October 3, 2014 Declan lost his life in the most compassionate way after a loving last day spent with his favourite people. His presence is missed.
As time without Declan has gone on, I have realized what a difference in my life having a working dog has made. I am less able to go out on my own, having to rely on others to help me get around. I need help to get up and down curbs, so I can't just go for a walk. I can't go as far now, as Declan provided me with forward momentum, and helped me to balance. Declan pulled my wheelchair so well that the problem was getting him to stop! Without him, I must have someone push me, which reduces my independence further.
I have found a breeder I wouldlike to work with. I have applied to get a dog from her. The woman who runs the place will provide a German Shepard dog who has been hand-trained to work in service from birth. The puppies are worked with from birth until they are placed. The owner will choose a dog that best suits my needs, and I will learn to work with this new dog. I will have a say in how the dog is trained, because I know my needs best. Because I trained Declan to work in service for me, I am confident I can train this puppy who has had a better start than Declan did to serve and be my partner. We are in touch with a local breeder who comes reccommended by a friend of ours. We are waiting to hear if her dogs are pregnant. Our plan has changed slightly as we talk to more people who breed their dogs, and going with an ethical breeder is of top priority.
The costs I anticipate are as follows:
Puppy: up to $1800.
Puppy Kindergarten and Beginner classes: : $467.00 Includes puppy classes, adolescent classes in a group environment to encourage socialization.
In-Training Cape In-Training Cape: $55.00 (cost is in USD) plus shipping.
Vet Visits, Vaccinations and Spay/Neuter: $389.30 for a spay plus $109.00 for second set of shots, plus 169.00 for the third set (includes rabies shot).
Crate for crate training: $135.00
Gofundme's fees: 8% of the above costs.
Total initial costs: $3374.24
As you can see, the start up costs to get a dog to help me can be high. I have chosen to ask for help with this, as I am on a fixed income. Although I was able to care for Declan's needs as they arose, I will need help to raise the funds to purchase this puppy and ensure it has the best start I can give it.
Having another dog will not replace Declan. But it will change my life dramatically as Declan did. Please consider helping me with either a donation, or by sharing this page.
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