Service Dog Care Request Nov 2017

What We Know About Service Dogs:

“A service dog will help during a medical or emotional emergency, aiding with memory related tasks, and providing security in public places. A service dog is able to pick up on the subtle changes in a handler’s mood, heart rate, and stress levels making it able to intervene.  Traumatic brain injury service dogs are trained specially to offer mobility and emotional support. Service dogs act when the handler is unsteady, when they are unsure of their surroundings and more.  A TBI service dog goes through extensive training to retrieve items or aid their handler in remembering medications. A service dog will immensely help mediate the symptoms of traumatic brain injury. Service dogs are also trained to pick up on the slight changes in heart rate and mood that indicate that a handler is in distress. Flashbacks, anxiety, migraines, seizures and other symptoms are hard to pick up by other people, but a service dog is trained to identify, and act when their handler needs help.” 

What We Know About the Cost: 

“All in all the cost of service dog training can vary from $7000, which includes training them to perform basic tasks, to $20,000 for more intensive training.  Cost is dependent on the needs of the individual who requires the dog. The average service dog with only public access will be approximately $10,000. If the owner needs more specific tasks then costs will increase. ” 

MVRC seeks to help a local veteran in securing training for his service dog.  A local training business has answered the call to support, and now as a community- we need to lessen the financial burden to make this possible. The cost for this program is 380 dollars.

Editors Note: Nov 28th 2017: Need filled by a private donor. 

The Background: 

W is a Army Veteran with an honorable discharge from military service for Traumatic brain injury that was made worse with seizures, migraines, and followed with anxiety, depression, sleep apnea and more.  He is a husband, and father.  W is an active MVRC donor and longtime volunteer. He states “I am happy to pay this forward when my situation allows for that so that another veteran in my place now can also receive the same kind of help. Anything to offset this would help immensely for me and my family.”  

After a failed suicide attempt in 2013  W realized he needed more help in addressing his mental wellness and medical conditions.  W bought a dog and found that the dog easily clued into his preseizure and panic attack activity/scent. He subsequently spent a large sum of money to train him as a service animal and the dog has been performing those tasks for him since.

Last year during a routine exam at the vet , W’s service animal was found to have a heart condition that now limits his activity level and ability to safely perform the needed skills of a service animal.

Initially able to work from home from a longstanding corporate position, W accommodated his service animal’s new needs. In preparation of retiring his first service animal, W purchased a second dog to begin to puppy raise, and provide basic obedience. The puppy (now 3 years old ) quickly picked up on W’s needs, and is poised to be trained for the final aspects of service! 

W  has had to return to his workplace (in-office). Initially, he left his service animal at home because he felt he needed to hide his needs, avoid the stigma in the workplace, and he was concerned with the dog’s declining health.  After a meeting with his manager, who has expressed some concern with his work, W felt it was time to begin the reasonable accommodation process to remain gainfully employed. Part of the  accommodation is to bring his service animal in the workplace to support his mental and physical wellness.

W is unable to fund training the younger dog, but will need this service dog candidate to pass her Public Access/Specific Skills learning in mid December.  

While there are wonderful local charities providing assistance animals, the majority will not train an animal already in the home. Their programming largely relies on rescued or bred pets, and significant time commitments. The time consuming process of training a new dog to sense aura, or preseizure, activity would set this process back by at least 2 years. In addition, W is not comfortable with adding the expense of a 3rd animal in his home at this time.

Final Thoughts:

This is EXACTLY the type of act of service our community can do to show their committment to serving those who have paid the price for our nation’s freedom. MVRC believes in empowering our very ABLE, incredibly TALENTED and insurmountably COMMITTED veteran population. We believe it is our calling as civilians to support the success of our military and families- as they continue to be large assets in our community after service.

To learn about how MVRC uses donations from the community, please click here. 

To donate to this Campaign, please send a check, or use this online campaign to support!

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