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Thread: Service Dog

  1. #1

    Service Dog

    How many people Multiple Sclerosis have service dogs?

  2. #2
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    We don't have a service dog, but we have taught our lab (which we had prior to David developing MS) to help David do alot of different things. There is a guy here locally with MS that does have a lab that was trained as a service dog.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by MSWIFE1 View Post
    We don't have a service dog, but we have taught our lab (which we had prior to David developing MS) to help David do alot of different things. There is a guy here locally with MS that does have a lab that was trained as a service dog.
    If your lab has a single behaviour that your husband can count on to mitigate his disability, that's a service dog. Outside training is not needed. "Certifications" tend to be scams as often as not. Costs associated with a service dog can also be deducted from your taxes, it's worth considering.

  4. #4
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    JenJen - are you saying that I can deduct dog food, vet bills, etc. because our dog that we had prior to David getting sick can turn lights on, shut doors, and a few other things to help David? If so this is great. I never really considered her a service dog because I assumed you had to have the certifications.

  5. #5
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    Yes. As long as you consider her a service dog, she is one. I was just looking into this myself. And therefore tax deductible!

    Irs.gov Publication 502 Medical and Dental Expenses

    Guide Dog or Other Service Animal
    You can include in medical expenses the costs of buying,
    training, and maintaining a guide dog or other service
    animal to assist a visually-impaired or hearing-impaired
    penses. person, or a person with other physical disabilities.
    (highting mine)

    And from http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm

    : The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animalindividually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.
    Worst case scenario, and they question it, you can have her show off what she does for David. My problem is that I really haven;t trained her to do much that is necessary.
    Last edited by sjean423; 03-05-2010 at 10:53 PM.
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MSWIFE1 View Post
    JenJen - are you saying that I can deduct dog food, vet bills, etc. because our dog that we had prior to David getting sick can turn lights on, shut doors, and a few other things to help David? If so this is great. I never really considered her a service dog because I assumed you had to have the certifications.

    Sjean nailed it. You have a bona fide service dog on your hands and your husband is entitled to full access with the dog. You should read the federal statutes and your state laws to understand your rights to use the animal in public.

    Pearl can go with me pretty much EVERYWHERE but the O.R. and the zoo... There are times when I leave her home for her own well being (tiny cramped meeting spaces where I KNOW idiots are going to trip or kick her).

    Pearl is NEVER vested --- it's not required by federal law, nor do I ever present any papers when asked. I simply hand over copies of the statutes if needed. I have rarely ever been challenged. Mostly it's because she's not on a leash.

    Now, all this said, you ARE responsible for making sure that your service animal is a good citizen out in public.

  7. #7
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    Thanks JenJen and Sjean I will def look into this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wheeliecoach's Avatar
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    In regards to the OP, I have a very good friend who has MS who has a service dog. She just got a new one after her golden, Dakota, died last summer.
    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

  9. #9
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    I would love to train a service dog. I would need a large dog for balance. I would love to have a Bernese mountain dog/border collie cross. I think that cross might add to the longevity of the bmd, which has a short lifespan compared to most dogs. I trained obedience dogs for 4-H, and found the border collie and shepard lab crosses to be the most trainable and loyal. I think there would be more people using service dogs if not for the large expense and long waiting list. I think suicide would be less among disabled if more people had service dogs. the joy one feels with the friendship of a loyal dog adds to quality of life.

  10. #10
    Anyone can train their own service dog. Owner-trained service dogs are just as "legal" as ones trained by organizations. Personally, I suggest that you start with a pup and work on a solid foundation in obedience, take them out regularly while young to experience all the sights, sounds and smells they will encounter while working.

    Top Dog has some good resources to get you started. I did work with a professional trainer to figure out how to get Pearl to understand how to open doors and turn on light switches because I'm alone and have no one else to help me train her.

    Pearl's now 3 and I'm about ready to start looking for another pup to raise and train so that when she starts slowing down at 8 or so, the other will be ready to step in.

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