The picture is of one of the dogs from Amazing Tails,LLC, a nonprofit organization that trains service dogs to assist with a variety of medical issues. I interviewed with them today. I was so nervous when I arrived at what could only be called the most amazing farm!! When I rang the doorbell, I did not hear any barking and thought that I would not get to meet any of the dogs.
I was in for a shock. After the interview, I was paired with several of the dogs. After about 15-20 minutes, I had learned to roughly walk with the dog. The true training process for a new owner takes 10-14 days. I had reseaarched service animals, read about what they could do, watched video clips. Nothing compared to seeing the dogs today and having them assist me with walking. For the first time in 6 months I could walk without feeling Iike I was going to fall over. The dog kept me stable, the dog braced himself for me to get off the couch, and the dog helped me walk up and down stairs.
I was shocked when the dogs seemed to know when I was nervous and I actually became calmer just being around these amazing animals. If you want to learn more about the amazing work that these dogs can do and see more pictures here is the link: http://amazingservicedogs.com/
All of this training takes time and a lot of effort on the part of the trainer. Growing up with dogs, my parents could barely get our dogs to sit and here a dog is standing perfectly still to allow me to get up and then balancing me while I walk. They are definitely angels to me. I came away from the experience today amazed. Even though the wait for the dog can be anywhere from one to two years, due to availability of puppies and skill sets; the service dog will be well worth the wait.
Here is the thing and I am not trying to be a telethon. The dogs cost 10,000 dollars. This includes all of the vet care up until the time the dog is released to the new owner, the training, the cost of the animal itself, and the 2 weeks that the trainer allows you to stay in her/his home while you are learning the routines of the dog, the commands, and how to work with the service dog.
I have already had someone who has generously given the first 1500 toward the dog. The website has ways to give and the donation can be used directly for the service dog that I would get, provided that you gave my name. I put a picture of only one of the many dogs on the site. I know that this is going to change my life and allow me the freedom to leave the house and get back into living.
I made a promise at the start of writing this blog that I would keep the readers up to date on what was happening. Today was a huge day!!! I do not think I will ever forget the feeling of being able to walk again for the first time. A huge thanks to the people at amazing tails!!