So you want a service dog!!!!
Service dogs can be a wonderful asset for someone with a disability, but it is always good to go into anything with your eyes open from the beginning. Many factors come into play with the use of a service dog. These dogs can be a life saving partner, but they come with needs and can change every aspect of your life. Below are some things to think about:

  1. Do you like dogs? Enough to share your life with them 24/7? These dogs are not simply a tool, they are individual intelligent creatures with their own set of needs. They become a part of every portion of your everyday life. Are you ready for that kind of sharing?

  2. Are there other animals in the home? Do you have family support for a dog? Keep in mind that bringing in a working partner while there are other animals in the home will change the dynamics. Are the current animals likely to adapt easily? Does the rest of the family want an addition to the household?

  3. Having a service dog is like growing an appendage. You are no longer just you – you are a ‘we’. That means there are frequently times that it will be inconvenient. You have to make sure the dog has a place to be comfortable with you yet safe from heat or cold or tight quarters etc. Yes, that means even in public restrooms…

  4. Are you ready and able to care for your dog’s physical requirements? Dogs need proper exercise, grooming, bathing, feeding and off-duty outlets. There also needs to be a provision for the financial responsibility of regular healthcare and preventative medicine.

  5. Are you ready and able to participate in continued training to keep the skills from degrading? Training is never finished – maintenance is forever.

  6. Are you aware that there are licenses, equipment, and miscellaneous costs associated with having a working dog?

  7. A service dog is on call 24/7 for you. Are you ready to be equally dedicated to your dog? They aren't machines with an off switch, they are living partners.

  8. Are you aware of the public issues you will come across? You will forever be answering the same questions , educating the general public about service dogs, never be simply un-noticed, and will have to deal with the individual fears that people have of dogs! You will have to consider where you can walk, sit or stand and be safely out of harms way. You will have to seek appropriate places for your dog to relieve itself. You will be responsible for all of your dogs needs at all times.

  9. And lastly, are you comfortable with the liability of having your dog with you in all situations in the public?


These questions are not meant to discourage you from having a service dog. But, it is wise to approach something this important with real thought. Having a dog as a working partner is a commitment that lasts many years. It is a decision that needs to be well thought out.