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Considering a Service Dog

July 14th, 2009, 07:35 PM
So, I've been thinking about this for about 5 years now, and think I will be pursuing it. I am Diabetic, type 2 insulin dependant. As well, I have been diagnosed with various mental health issues. I have been reading books and websites and forums for years about service dogs, and have decided that training my own dog would be best for me and my needs. I have trained my mother's emotional support dog/psychiatric service dog, so I do have experience there. I am wondering if anyone here has done it or knows anyone who has?

I have done a lot of research over the past 15 years and know that the breed for me would be a Staffordshire Bull Terrier - compact, smallish, strong, intelligent, etc. etc. etc. I am considering a puppy to be raised around my current pets, small and large kids, traffic, social situations (we're in the hub of activity where we live), etc.

My main concern is the cost of the pup itself. I am willing to rescue, of course, but I need to be sure that there is no negative history/health history/etc. I worry that if I were to adopt a local dog, I know most of the byb's here, and they are faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrr from intelligent regarding the breed (bigger and stronger is best, personality doesn't matter, mixed breeding, oh yeah because a Presa Canario and Pit Bull and Mastiff pups bred for aggression make wonderful pets! :wall: :mad: :evil:). So I am considering going through a reputable breeder. Although as I said, money is an issue (NOT the cost of training and vets, food and all others, that is already covered with insurance, deals with local vets and trainers). I simply don't have $2500 or so to plop down on a dog at once. It's a huge financial concern, as I need a service dog, but don't have this spare cash lying around.

So, I've been talking to people who suggest writing to all the reputable breeders I can find and inquire about them possibly donating a pup for this cause. Do you think that would be presuptutious of me? Or rude? I'm not asking for a free dog because I am lazy, but because we are already dedicated to spending roughly $10,000 on proper training in the first year or two, another $5000 set aside via insurance for health care, and more so for everything else - food, toys, equipment, etc. Setting aside money each month really isn't an option right now, we keep putting it into our vet funds for all our critters (just spent a load going to an avian vet 3 hours away from here, twice in a week!). Do I seem bad because I don't have a butt-load of cash to drop on a pup?

Now that all being said, I don't expect to get a dog for at least a year. There are waiting lists and temperments to be tested. Not every dog can be a service dog, and I want to be sure that the dog we adopt will be a life-time companion and service dog (we couldn't keep a pet dog here right now, and try to train another service dog).

So, now I know that I am basically rambling, but I hope I can get some opinions from people here. Thanks! :D