Unread 01-13-2008, 02:10 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default Service Dog

Hi all -

I am in the process of getting a service dog! I actually tried it out with two dogs last Wednesday. Simply amazing! I could walk better than I have in over a year. The dog not only provides me balance but also pulls me along.

I have spoken with another woman with ALS who got her service dog last June. She said her only regret is that she didn't get the dog earlier!

So...I'm wondering. Do any of you have a dog? Can you please share your experiences?

Thanks - all the best!
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Unread 01-13-2008, 08:31 PM #2 (permalink)
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Default Congratulations!

I recently tried to convince another PALS to consider a service dog.
Is yours trained to help you with things other than walking? did you go through the ALSA organization to get one? did you pay? This type of helping companion is not yet well known - could you post more about your new dog and how you got hooked up? Seems the service dogs that are easily found are for the blind....
So what is the breed / name of your pooch?!
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Unread 01-14-2008, 06:17 AM #3 (permalink)
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I would love to know more, also. We have always had a dog and I miss having one around. Right now I am kind of enjoying the freedom, but I know that won't last. I was thinking that when I am ready to get a dog, this might be the way to go if it proves that I need help.

Please keep us informed of how you and your new dog are doing. What is his/her name?
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Unread 01-15-2008, 03:26 PM #4 (permalink)
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Yes - it is exciting! I don't have the dog yet. I hope to get it by fall. I did get opportunity to be with dogs last WEdnesday. I walked better than I'd walked in over a year - without my walker! The dog not only provides balance he actually pulls me a bit which makes it easier to walk.

Dog can be trained to do many things. Some immediate needs it can help me with are: helping me up when I fall, picking things up off the floor when I drop them, pushing elevator buttons (though I don't need that yet), helping me open fridge and doors around home (again, don't need that yet) - and COMPANIONSHIP!

I sobbed and sobbed after about six steps with the dog. It was simply amazing. I will keep you informed and will let you know as soon as I am matched with my future canine partner!
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Unread 01-15-2008, 06:00 PM #5 (permalink)
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We have a puppy that is approx 7 mos old. Mutt, we think German Hsepard Golden retriever mix. Is it possible to train him to help my husband?
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Unread 01-15-2008, 06:36 PM #6 (permalink)
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APC -

Most service dog organizations will NOT train your own dog. Typically it takes 2 years to train a dog. First year they are in a volunteer home with regular training. Second year they get intense training from the organization.

However, you may be able to find a volunteer in your area to train the dog. My thoughts on a service dog are : I only want a dog that is professionally trained specifically for ALS. Otherwise, I fear it would cause me more trouble than it would be worth!
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Unread 01-16-2008, 09:01 AM #7 (permalink)
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Can you provide names and contact information of organizations that provide these service dogs?
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Unread 01-16-2008, 09:20 AM #8 (permalink)
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I contacted three different service dog organizations. Typically the wait for a dog is a minimum of 2 years. Obviously, that just won't work for us folks with ALS. Also, as you can imagine, training a dog for a person with ALS is MUCH different than training a dog for a person who does not have a progressive disease. I also know having a dog is a huge commitment. It is required to go for the 3 week training session. If you can't do that I'm pretty sure you can't get the dog.

Johns Hopkins ALS Clinic (where I go) recommended Canine Partners for Life in Cochranville PA. They have trained dogs specifically for ALS. Here's their website:

www.k94life.org

Again - I will keep you all informed once I get the dog!
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Unread 01-16-2008, 07:41 PM #9 (permalink)
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We will be watching these events closely, Kate. And don't forget to post pictures!
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Unread 01-16-2008, 07:59 PM #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply. I didn't realize it took 2 years. Thanks for the update!
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