Author Topic: Is a service dog a better option for me.  (Read 835 times)

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Offline Amichael428

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Is a service dog a better option for me.
« on: August 01, 2017, 03:26:43 AM »
For most of my life,I have been know as a hard sleeper,but I'd say about a year ago my friends and family started noticing things like my alarms not waking me up, sleeping though classes I'd normally be awake for. When I was in the dorms we did a fire drill,I slept thought an military grade fire alarm,or at least I was told i did by staff,I don't remember. I've fallen asleep, leaning against walls,while driving,even got in a  vehicular incident because of it,the officers said I drove thought the fence for almost 300 ft before finally waking up and eventually turning back onto the road. When I wake up I never really feel awake,and often find myself half asleep or daydreaming to the point I think it's real. Hallucinating,things like the walls moving like water,or shadow's dancing. 

Ive always been against over the counter, prescription and illegal drugs to "cure" a illness that  is naturally occurring.  As a secondary Option I was looking into maybe a service dog that could nudge me when I was not fully awake,or Maybe alert me to when I was not seeing correctly. Is that a thing? What other things does it need to do? Do I even need a service animal,or could I just get an emotional support animal and have a Trainer train it to keep me awake in my car,it's not like falling asleep in a restaurant or on a plane is "life threating. "

I have not been officially diagnosed with anything yet,I'd like to state that as well,I'm Afraid if I push for these test before I have a plan of how i would  like them taken care of or treated they will just slap a general diagnosis on me and I'll be stuck in a limbo of constant medication and treatment plans. 

I have suicidal thoughts, although my doctor does not know I still have them,I have mentioned past experiences and they mentioned depression may be making me socially anxious, making my skin break out and my blood pressure to go up.


My family's also known for having a long line of diabetes,I have not been tested,and once again refuse to get tested for the moment out fear mostly,not sure how my doctor is going to react or try to treat it if I do have it.


Some important information as well is that,I have two dogs,a German Shepherd and a pitbull,both are sweet as sugar,but honestly not the best trained, would this make it nearly impossible to get a service animal if I need one?  I guess in the end I'm really just trying to find out if there is a service dog that is trained or known for being able to wake people up,or keep them awake when doing dangerous tasks.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 04:23:21 AM by Amichael428 »

Offline ccunnin3

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 10:04:23 AM »
If you don't wake up to alarms you probably won't wake up to a dog either. If you consistently don't wake up, the dog will get "untrained" and stop trying.

Also, a dog is not a good mechanism to ensure you stay away while driving. They are simply not reliable enough (as living creatures who make mistakes) to rely on in a life-or-death issue like falling asleep at the wheel.

I'm not saying a aervice dog couldn't help you at all, but some of the things you've mentioned are not readily solved by a service dog.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 10:32:19 AM »
I agree it would not be safe to rely upon a dog to keep you from falling asleep at the wheel of a car.  And in fact, you should not be driving at all until this symptom is cured.  This isn't just about your own safety, but the safety of all others on the roads or walking near roads that you could kill if you fall asleep at the wheel.

Certainly it's your choice what treatments to undergo or whether to undergo any treatment, but there will be consequences for those kinds of choices.  If you have a condition that makes you unsafe to drive and you choose not to fix that condition with an appropriate treatment, then the consequence is that you no longer drive.  You're allowed to choose not to drive instead of fixing your condition.  In effect, that's what I've done because I don't want the surgery that my neurologist says has a 50/50 chance of curing my seizures.  Those odds aren't high enough for me to want to risk that kind of surgery.

I think that instead of assuming you won't want the treatment and not seeing a doctor, you should see a doctor and find out what your options actually are.  Medication often isn't the only treatment option.  For sleep disorders there may be options like c pap machines to assist your breathing at night, changes in lifestyle, changes in diet, all of which may correct some kinds of sleeping disorders without medication.  There may be a treatment that suits you, that helps you and that you're okay with, but you won't know until and unless you see professional medical advice and diagnosis.

Are there dogs trained by service dog programs that can assist people with disabilities with symptoms you describe?  Sure for waking a person who randomly becomes unconscious when out and doing their normal daily life activities (but not for driving, which would not be legal or safe).  For waking you when a significant alarm cannot, like Caitlin (and for the reasons she's given), I'm very doubtful. But you'd need a diagnosis and doctor's letter of support explaining your disability in order to get one.
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Offline Azariah

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 11:23:08 AM »
I don't wake well to auditory alarms. There are times they can be going off and I sleep right through them. I do wake well to a physical response. So I trained my service dog in training to nudge me when she hears the alarm clock go off. I have to be VERY careful not to let this get extinguished - i.e. there is no snooze option when you are doing this or your dog will stop waking you up.

My husband has trained Cosmo to wake him when he starts to doze off at his computer at home. This happens at night sometimes and before Cosmo he'd end up falling asleep in a chair which flared up his arthritis something fierce. This works very well for the two of them. I on the other hand do NOT want Cosmo waking me up when I fall asleep on the couch so I have extinguished this behavior between the two of us.

I would NOT want to rely on a dog to wake me up if I were in a potentially dangerous situation. i.e. driving.

I'd look at getting a diagnosis first if possible so you understand what you are dealing with and how to get the maximum medical therapy. This is pretty important before you get a service dog. A diabetes dog would be trained very different from a narcolypsy dog for example.
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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 12:51:58 PM »
I'd also like to point out that you aren't considered disabled and eligible for a SD until you have received treatment. Not a one-off diagnosis but actual ongoing treatment. Kirsten can quote the case, I think it was Rose V. Somebody.

I also don't wake well to alarms. I can sleep through and even sleep-solve the alarms with puzzles. Having someone bug me to wake up is triggering and will make me meltdown first thing in the morning which is a [censored] way to start your day.

I'm starting to try and retrain my internal clock, before my body wanted to sleep for twelve hours a night which is restrictive and kind of disabling it's self, I missed a lot because I was sleeping. I'm trying to change that by making a set bedtime and getting up eight hours after that with the help of an alarm app. I like it because it has a "smart rise" feature which means the alarm starts quiet and gradually fades in. I've found it really helpful in the intense startle I feel from jarring alarms and their sound becoming a trigger after a few weeks. If I set it loud enough I do have to wake up to turn it off and then I can muscle my way into waking up completely.

I can understand your fears. But SDs are not a holistic treatment or anything. They don't treat anything at all. Their job is to mitigate past what can be medically resolved. I would not consider a SD until I had seen a doctor.

The medication issue is your own decision to make. But I'm on five different medications for a set of mental illnesses I was predisposed to developing, and I could not be where I am without them. I would most likely be dead.

Yes, poorly trained dogs will affect a SDs behavior. If you are not on top of it the service dog will pick up problem behavior you current dogs have, be it jumping up on you, barking at the door, or raiding trash cans.

You'd also be hard pressed to find a program who would place with you with no medical documentation of you illness, and not even a name for your condition.

Driving while having narcolepsy, other sudden sleep disorders and seizure disorders is irresponsible. It puts lives on the line (not just yours) and feels to me personally as irresponsible as driving drunk.
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Offline Amichael428

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 03:46:50 PM »
I understand your concerns about me driving,and I'm not comfortable doing it either,but due to circumstances I have no other choice but to drive the 50+ miles a day to work.luckily for me, Its all rural farm road,so I pass one or two people on tractors on my commute.

I'd also like to point out I understand that I won't be able to get a legal service dog tell I get properly diognosed,but I believe having this information is extremely important because I would rather have a dog warn me about blood sugar,or when I'm seeing things than relying on more pills. Even if it's not an option at first,I would really just love to be a able to mention that that's something I'm interested in, before they put me on pills. 

My problem with going to the doctor right now about my sleep issue is that,I would loose my license,and wouldn't be able to get to work,I'm the only one in my family of four at the moment that can drive,and if I loose that,I loose my job, I wouldn't be able to pay bills and probably all four of us would be out on the street. I assure you I know it's dangerous,but I don't go where people are without a family member who can keep me awake or wake me up if I doze off or friend (they drive.) These"sleep events" are few and far between I'd say a minor one once a week and something major once a month.

I guess "Is. Service dog something I should look into." Be a better title.

Ps. The rest of my household has different types of diabetes,if I or one of them got a dog trained to detect blood sugar issues,does it alert everyone or anyone,or just the handler.

Offline OlgatheGSD

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2017, 05:07:19 PM »
A lot of us have been through years of treatments before considering and getting a service dog. Some of us, myself included, told our our doctors our symptoms and had to lose our lisence until we our issues became under control. A lot of us are in treatment for mental disorders and seeing doctors for our conditions as needed.

Personally, I knew a service dog would help me for a very long time, but I only recently in my life had one. I lost my license for 6 months and my ability to work. I am on too many pills to care to list. I am subjected to tests and therapy I hate. A dog is not a solution to my problems. My dog doesn't keep me off the street or keep me off of pills, or even prevent me from needing therapy and medical treatments. She mitigates my health issues and improves my quality of life. Service dogs are in no way a form of treatment and it is unfair and unrealistic to expect that out of them. They are a less reliable glucose meter and alart clock. Without treatments and relying on your SD, how could you manage your symptoms without your SD in the event they get sick, need hospitalization, you are somewhere you can't bring them, if they die? This is why they aren't a treatment. Our lives don't depend on our dogs opening doors, detecting seizures or glucose levels, fetching water, or licking our faces during panic attacks.

And honestly, you should not avoid a doctor because you want to explore a dog before pills or treatment. It is incredibly irresponsible to put yourself and others at risk in the hopes you will get support about a dog before all else.
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Offline ccunnin3

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2017, 06:33:45 PM »
Rather than state my opinion on the subject, which I am sure you don't care to hear,I will quietly point out that if you know you have a medical condition that prevents you from driving safely (as you have expressed here) and you continue to drive anyway you can face serious consequences if/when a collision occurs. You can go to jail.

Many of us, myself included, have given up driving at least temporarily for the sake of safety.
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Offline Suse

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 06:56:54 PM »
I am really concerned by your list of symptoms and your refusal to go get diagnosed, and not telling your dr about suicidal thoughts.  You can not diagnose yourself. Is it better to have to find another way to work?  Or  to have a horrible accident and hurt or kill yourself or someone else?  This kind of behavior means you are not responsible enough to have a dog.

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 07:36:38 PM »
I'm sorry if this sounds harsh; I'm just low on time at the moment so I'm being super blunt to hit the most important points.

1. Whether or not a service dog would be beneficial almost doesn't even matter if you refuse to get this issue diagnosed. Like Summertime said, court cases have ruled that we need to attempt treatment first. Plus, it's heavily suggested that you never get a service dog before attempting treatment; it's great that our dogs can help us, but would you prefer to have to bring a dog with you everywhere you go and continue to have this issue, or would you prefer to not have the issue at all?

2. I don't think you should get a service dog based off of what you said. First of all; you're putting yourself, others, and the dog in extreme danger by depending on it to wake you while driving. I'm sorry that what I'm about to say is very blunt, but to do that is beyond irresponsible. Even if you feel like you have no other option than to drive, you are putting OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES at risk. Even if it's just one or two people in a tractor, you could KILL them. Again, I'm not trying to be mean. I really just cannot emphasis that enough.

Second of all, like I said before, you might possibly be able to get better if you pursue treatment. You have the right to try what you're comfortable with. You don't like drugs? Why not try naturopathy? There are other options that you might be comfortable with if you look for them.

Thirdly, like others said, if a military grade fire alarm didn't wake you, a dog lightly nudging you will not wake you.



Anyways, I'm soooo sorry if this came off as unfriendly or rude or mean; I'm just in a bit of a rush and am trying to emphasis as much as possible how dangerous you are being to other people and potentially a future dog. That isn't fair. It's one thing to risk your own life if your job is that important to you, it's not fair to the people you might potentially injure (even possibly disabling THEM and making THEM lose THEIR jobs) or kill.
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Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 08:29:32 PM »
I have never had my license and I'm not sure if I ever will. I have depersonalization episodes that make it hard for me to be aware of and respond to my surroundings. I walk into traffic and knock into things.

It is not okay to drive with a significant impairment such as yours. It it not okay, it is not legal, and it is not moral. I understand your need to work but that isn't more valuable than you life and other's lives.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2017, 12:03:07 AM »
You don't HAVE to endanger others, you're choosing to do so.

If you cannot drive safely, then you don't drive.  Find a job that is within range of public transportation, go on disability, or get treatment for your condition.  Those are choices you have that are not illegal and do not endanger others.

Will a program place a dog with you?  Not to help keep you from driving dangerously.  Not without medical documentation from the doctor treating you for your condition.
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Offline Amichael428

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2017, 12:13:57 AM »
You don't HAVE to endanger others, you're choosing to do so.

If you cannot drive safely, then you don't drive.  Find a job that is within range of public transportation, go on disability, or get treatment for your condition.  Those are choices you have that are not illegal and do not endanger others.

Will a program place a dog with you?  Not to help keep you from driving dangerously.  Not without medical documentation from the doctor treating you for your condition.

You're right,my family who depends on my income to pay most of the bills,do most of the work around the house,to drive them to Thier own doctor's appointments and god forbid Thier hospital visits. Clearly can survive with me on disability. This is the closest job to me and it's almost 30 miles on rural dirt road to that job. There are 4 houses along that entire stretch of road,and they aren't even "connected" to them.  If public transportation even existed in the closest town that would be a great option,but it's not. Disability does and will not pay enough for all of my family to live off of. If I could take off work to get treatment I would but I can't not everyone lives in a town,city or metropolitan area.  The second we sell our land and house absolutely we can move into a city,I can use a buss, cab or walking to get to work but at the moment I'm doing the best I can to ensure my family can survive,now if you and the others would answer the questions rather than telling me what I'm doing is dangerous I'd really appreciate it. If not ill just update everyone after I get a a proper dignosis and or treatment.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2017, 01:25:04 AM »
I did answer your questions.

No, you can't get a service dog for what you want (to prevent you from stupidly risking the lives of others).  And no, you can't get services from any program without medical documentation of a disability, ie diagnosis and treatment of some kind.

If your family is that dependent upon you being employed, then rather than risking the lives of others you should suck it up and take any treatment you can get that will make you able to drive safely.  You don't have the right to risk the safety of others.  You CHOOSE not to get treatment.  Which is fine, you can choose that...except when you choose to put others in harm's way because you don't want to take medication or even find out what the treatment might be.  Buckeye's not that rural.
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Re: Is a service dog a better option for me.
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2017, 01:45:41 AM »
You asked us if a service dog would be a good idea for you. We're saying no, not at this time.

What's the point of getting a dog to NUDGE you when you won't even wake up to a FIRE ALARM? Not to mention the fact that you're going to be depending on a living creature who makes mistakes to save your life, others' lives, it's own life, and stop you from destroying property.


You aren't driving on 100% deserted roads all of the time. Your work has other people there, I assume? Those people must be able to access the work location as well, meaning that if you fall asleep at the wheel in the parking lot you could kill someone. What about driving your family to their doctor's appointments? I don't think I've ever heard of doctors living out in the middle of an abandoned dirt road, and even if they did, there's still the same issue of you hurting their other clients or damaging property.


Look, I'm sorry that you're in a tough situation. We've all been there. That's NO excuse for recklessly endangering other people's lives. What would you say to the family of someone you killed because you fell asleep at the wheel? "I'm sorry, I knew that I might fall asleep at the wheel, but my job is more important."


What you are doing is ILLEGAL.

What you are doing is DANGEROUS and RECKLESS.

What you are doing ENDANGERS LIVES.

What you are doing is SELFISH.


What about the people you're endangering? What happens to their families if you kill or injure them? What if their families depend on them like yours does to you? What would happen to your family if you were killed in an accident, or so physically injured that you weren't able to work for some time or possibly even forever? How could you risk doing that to someone else?!


Again, I'm sorry for being so harsh. I just can't understand how you can prioritize your ability to drive over OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES. Have someone else drive you to work. Get an uber. If you really are disabled, I believe there are certain taxis that you can call that will transport you where you need to go. See if a coworker could pick you up. See if there's any kind of work accommodation that you could get to work from home.


There are so many other options that you can try. Options that are LEGAL and SAFE. You're choosing to stubbornly hang onto your refusal of treatment and to hang onto driving even though it's incredibly dangerous to do so.


As for your family being dependent on you, how does it help them for you to continue like this? What would happen to them if you died because you fell asleep at the wheel? And even on a 100% deserted rural road, you can hit a tree. You can hit a telephone pole or light post. You can drive off into a canal or ditch. You can still die even if you don't collide with another person. Apparently, you've run through several feet of fencing before. That fencing was around something, you could have hit whatever it was surrounding. The four houses that are off the road? If you fall asleep your car could swerve and you could hit them.

By continuing like this, you are not only recklessly endangering others, but putting your own family whom you claim to do this for at risk! Why would you do that?!
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