About 2 years ago, someone asked me if I had heard about seizure assist dogs. I had not, but, I was interested. Just recently, I finally started researching these dogs and services that provide them. Most places that offer seizure assist also offer mobility and/or therapy dogs. I was getting very excited because my son could benefit from all these services. As expected, the facilities raise the dogs until they are 1 1/2 – 2 years old. At which time, the dogs are trained and ready to go to a family. These facilities that I found that train dogs for seizure assist, quote a cost that is quite high at around $15,000 and up. I understand the reason behind the cost, but, it was beginning to look like we would have to pass on this idea. Now, most of these places did have help for raising the funds; but, since we could technically afford the price, we didn’t feel right looking for this help. Some places had scholarship funds and some offered to get you started in a fund raising campaign to raise the money. Either way didn’t seem right for us because as I said, we could come up with the money ourselves; but, it was an expense that was beginning to make us question how important this would be for Parker to have. Also, dogs don’t live that long. We would find ourselves requiring to get another assist dog down the road with another $15,000 + pricetag. Over the years, we could go through our retirement funds before we get to retire. Another issue was that most of the trainers had a waiting list and we could be looking at 2 years or more before getting the dog. We were hoping for one a little sooner than 2 years. One other problem with most of the places was that they were in other states and we would have to go to them to get trained when the dog was ready. The training would require us to travel and stay in a hotel for a couple of weeks and devote ourselves to our training. Yes, this was looking like a costly adventure for us.
I kept up my search and I just about decided that a service dog for Parker was not to be, when I spoke with a place right in my own state. They are in fairly close proximity to us and they don’t require that the dog be raised by them at their facility for 1 1/2 – 2 years. They help the families pick out an appropriate puppy, and they come to us once a week for a year to train us to train the pup. What they expect of us is to be diligent about the training and work on it 20 minutes a day. If we fail to keep up on the training, we need to reimburse the company for all the mileage they invested in us. Other than the cost of the puppy, and of course regular care and feeding, we would not need to come up with any other money. This is great!
So, at this time, I am expecting an application to arrive and I need to obtain a doctor’s note stating that Parker does indeed have epilepsy. Hopefully, once the paperwork is complete we will begin our search for the puppy.
I am sure if this is a good thing for Parker, it will all work out in the end. There will be more information to follow, as things progress.