We have spent the past three years as puppy raisers for service dogs for others. We have loved our time with them. While working with them, we learned of the invaluable service they provide.
After the diagnosis, I (Christina) have been researching ways to help my husband as the disease progresses. Then it hit me, a service dog for HIM! A dog trained specifically to his diagnosis can be a huge help. However, the costs of obtaining one from an organization are extensive. This is when I realized, that we have the skills here to "self train" a service dog! What we have learned these past three years will be indispensable. However, for those wondering, we will be consulting with a trainer for more advanced tasks.
What do PD service dogs do for their partners?
*Help with balance.
*Tugging to help out of bed or off the sofa.
*Help with gait freezing episodes, frequent for PD patients, by encouraging movement.
*Help after a fall
*Getting help from a family member
John is early on in his diagnosis but is already experiencing balance issues. Service dogs take some time to train and the dog would not be ready for full time service work until about 2 yrs old. So it is important to start the process soon.
Again, we will be doing most of the training of the dog, but will be consulting with a trainer for more advanced tasks.
We are raising the funds for the purchase of the dog, vet care for the first year (shots, spay/neuter) and training costs. We have consulted with a Labrador breeder and puppies will be available as soon as August. We will be meeting the litter to determine if there is a suitable candidate.
While fundraising wasn't a consideration for us, with the encouragement of others, we have created this GoFund Me. Can you help us reach our goal?