How To Finance A Service Dog
Life with a disability can seem less like an ordeal when a service dog comes to your aid. If you’ve already pictured a life with a service dog at your side then it’s important that you consider the costs of adopting and training. Keep in mind that costs for adoption and training can quickly escalate. What you’ll need is a greater understanding of the various grants and finance options that can help you out in this quest for a helping-paw.
Costs Involved In Owning A Service Dog
Owning a service dog, like owning any other pet, can cost you a handful. If you’ve decided to get a regular dog, making it a service dog will require additional training costs. Some of the common expenses include:
- Adoption: This can cost you anywhere between $500-$15,000. Adoption costs depend upon various factors such as the dog’s breed, licensing, adoption fees, medical services, and so forth
- Food: Service dogs are generally larger breeds, therefore costs on food will also be greater. A budget of $400 per year should prove sufficient
- Veterinary Care: Yearly checkups are the minimal requisites to sustain your dog’s health. These can easily cost around $250. Add to it another $300 for preventive medicine
- Supplies: Miscellaneous supplies can cost an upward of $100. Such supplies can include toys, leashes, vests, beds, collars, and more
Costs Comparison: Training Your Dog Vs Getting One That’s Already Trained
Adoption charges can differ depending on whether the dog is trained or not.
Training a dog can cost you anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000. Adopting a trained service dog will cost you this in addition to the adoption charge. Hiring the services of a certified trainer may prove a slightly less expensive alternative.
Certain training programs and service dog certifications, such as the one offered by the American Kennel Club, can assist you in this. However, it’s largely believed that when it comes to training a dog, hiring professional help is the best thing to do.
This will cost you around $150-$250 an hour. On average, a dog requires a training period of up to two years to fully equip itself with the support services its owner may need.
Ways To Afford A Service Dog
- Grants from non-profit organizations: Use the services of non-profit programs as the Assistance Dogs International and the Service Dogs for America to find a suitable and affordable service dog. If you’re on the waiting list of such non-profit grants, make sure that you fulfill the eligibility criteria to prevent any future impediment
- Spending account: A letter of medical necessity (LMN) from your doctor can enable you to use your flexible spending account (FSA) affiliated with your insurance policy to buy a service dog. With your FSA, you can buy a dog before necessary tax deductions
- Crowdfunding: There are several popular fundraising sites, such as GoFundMe and Kickstarter, that allow you to raise funds using your social network
- Build your savings: While the idea of building up one’s savings is enticing, it’s not the easiest thing to achieve. Start with reducing redundant costs as much as you can to help boost side savings
- Get a loan: You can always take out a loan with easy installment plans and low-interest rates.
Organizations That Offer Service Dogs
The following are only a few non-profit programs that offer free-of-cost service dogs to eligible recipients. To qualify for one of these, you must strictly meet the eligibility criteria set out by each.
Brigadoon Service Dogs
Services are offered to veterans, adults, and children
Paws with a Cause
The organization offers dogs that are custom trained to increase service reach within the community
Guide Dogs of America
The program offers services to people of all ages to help increase independence amongst the visually impaired or blind
The Service Dog Project
The organization works in collaboration with Great Danes to help deserving applicants with mobility issues
NEADS services dogs for both adults and children with physical disabilities
Service dogs can offer great companionship and assistance for people living with disabilities. A number of organizations finance the adoption of service dogs on your behalf, provided you fully meet the criteria. This makes service-dog adoption a lot more convenient and cost-effective than it would be otherwise.