Are you trying to decide whether a service dog or service animal is right for you? It is a big decision. Don’t rush it. You may be better off without one, depending on your situation.
We will discuss some pros and cons of having a service dog. In addition, we will go through some things to consider before jumping into obtaining this new family member.
Your new family member is a living, breathing medical assistance device.
Possible ‘Pros’ of having a service dog
Yes, there are pros and cons of having a Service Dog or service animal. Here are the Pro’s to consider.
- Greater Independence
- You’ll always have a best friend there who doesn’t judge you no matter what
- He will motivate you to get out of bed and do things, when you don’t really feel like it
- A real increased level of personal safety
- The chance of having new possibilities – the dog can open up opportunities for you that you might not otherwise be able to do on your own
- He’ll help you to keep more regular and/or consistent hours
- He’ll get you to exercise every day, even if for a little bit
- The dog will help you meet new people and talk to them
- The presence of the dog can help you feel more confident and less vulnerable
- The dog can help to distract you from negative or destructive thoughts
- Having the dog can give you a real sense of accomplishment
- The dog provides company and affection
Possible ‘Cons’ of having a service dog
- Possibly you would have no or reduced amount of alone time, as the dog would follow you or check on you at all times, even when you are taking a shower or using the washroom
- This is a big responsibility, not a lot different from having a child
- Service dogs cost money, initially and on an ongoing basis
- Negative attention people will give you because of your animal
- You must remember that a dog is still a dog, and someone needs to care for him/her, no matter what condition you are in
- Someone will always need to attend to the dog’s food, water, & regular meal times. People will need to take him/her out for a walk and a pee just like other dogs. You need to have someone who could possible take care of it if you were not able to
- It can be very expensive to have a service dog, there are things like Vet fees, possible accidents that require emergency care, pet/animal insurance, medications/vaccines, grooming, training, dog food and equipment, this all costs money of course
- You might find your freedom is somewhat limited. You might be unable to make some spontaneous plans without consideration for the dog
- Emotional and time demands
- Everything takes longer when you are taking the dog with you everywhere
- Picking up the dog poo
- From time to time the dog might ‘have an accident’ inside the house
- People may ask or ‘bug’ you about having a disability since it will be very obvious
- You may encounter challenges with access.
- You might also find that some people are not educated about the rules