Author Topic: Don't Want To Overstep Boundaries  (Read 777 times)

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Offline bippitybobbiboo

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Don't Want To Overstep Boundaries
« on: May 10, 2017, 08:06:47 PM »
DISCLAIMER: I discuss my medical issues, mental and physical, in the following post.

Hi everyone! My name is K and I'd like to introduce myself and my situation (and my dog)! I have had Mastocytosis since I was an infant, I am now 20 and in college. I pass out quite frequently, sometimes multiple times in a day; triggered by panic (I have a panic disorder as well), pain, heat. I also struggle with severe allergies, bone pain, GI issues, and horrible exhaustion. I've found it difficult to gain independence as a young adult and have had to medically resign from 3 separate semesters. I recently was in the hospital for a bone marrow biopsy and a few nurses suggested I look into getting a service dog.

In researching the topic I realized that I could in fact gain a great deal of independence with the right situation. That being said I do not want to abuse the system and I was wondering if someone with a little more experience than myself could help me and steer me in the right direction.

Let me tell you a little about my dog. I currently own a healthy 2.4 year old, 45 pound english springer spaniel named Bobbi. This is the dog that I would like to train to assist me. I’m confident in training as I train horses and have trained Bobbi and a few other dogs with basic obedience and “life skills”. I know that Bobbi would need more work before I even consider putting her into regular work. This dog is brilliant, well mannered and sensitive. She’s spent a great deal of time in crowds (I live in a SEC football town, BIG obnoxious crowds), is great at ignoring people and other dogs, down/stay trained, and is trained to help me with forward momentum on command (I am 125 pounds). At home I hold onto her during a syncope episode and she helps me reground myself and recover, she also helps me to calm down so that I do not have a panic induced syncope. All of this is nice at home but I am desperate to regain my independence in public.

I know the high standards to which she would be held as a service dog and this is why I don’t want to pursue this without some guidance. The last thing I want to do is push the boundaries of SD rights. She would need a little more training to fine tune some things but she is already a huge help to me around my apartment. So I suppose my question or discussion topic would be: Am I justified in pursuing this? Or am I overstepping a boundary?

Offline SalukiLover

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Re: Don't Want To Overstep Boundaries
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 10:41:31 PM »
You certainly sound disabled, and she is trained to help -- so yes, she qualifies as a service dog.  Now, what she may still need is some polish when it comes to public access work -- learning to tuck real well into small spaces, etc.  But I really don't think you are overstepping AT ALL.
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Offline Moonsong

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Re: Don't Want To Overstep Boundaries
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2017, 12:25:54 AM »
I don't know for sure what you mean by overstepping a boundary. Mind, I'm pretty tired and had a busy day today, so my communicative skills may not be firing on all cylinders right now  :tongue2:

If you're asking if you qualify for a PA trained service dog, all you have to do to qualify is be disabled according to the ADA and benefit from legitimate tasks (as in, not emotional support). There is no such thing as being "disabled enough". You're either disabled or you aren't. You will need to discuss with your doctor and figure out for yourself if you are disabled according to the ADA (which defines disabled as "substantially limited in one or more major life activities". Life activities include sleeping, walking, seeing, breathing, hearing, thinking, etc)

If you are asking if it's okay to PA train your current dog (and if you are legally disabled, then your dog actually already meets the legal definition of a service dog; "individually task trained to mitigate a disability") that's totally up to you. Do you feel like your dog can make it as a PA service dog? Are you willing to put the time, energy, and money into training your pet to be a full PA service dog? Are you willing to accept it if your dog needs to be washed out? Are you willing to work with a qualified professional trainer or OT program (highly suggested for first-time trainers, and by first-time I mean first time training a PA service dog. PA is perhaps the most difficult part of SD training, and the part where most dogs wash out).
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Offline Suse

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Re: Don't Want To Overstep Boundaries
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2017, 08:58:56 PM »
Go ahead and talk to your doctor. He would need to be able to write a letter saying you have a disability. My doctor wrote that my SD is required to be with me at all times.  It sounds like you have a dog already mostly PA trained. Since you are already taking her out in public haw about seeing if she will do some of the things to assist you there that she does at home.