My Service Dog, Jade

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When Your Service Dog Is Sick:

     An issue that I haven't seen addressed is how a disabled person is affected by their service dog being sick.  I have some say on this topic, first hand, as my service dog has been sick for the past few days.  It seems she's come down with an upper respiratory virus, which I wonder if she contracted from me.  I too have been sick with a cold as of late, and it makes me wonder what our dogs can contract from us.  Regardless of that fact, she is sick; those of us with service dogs tend to utilize our vet clinics much more than the average dog owner, as we have to keep our dogs in tip top shape...for exactly this reason.  When our dog is sick and can't go out, guess what, it's difficult for us to go out as well, for some us, impossible.  It seems it's  only us, with service dogs, that think of these things.  I took my girl to the vet yesterday, who told me she has a an upper respiratory virus and needs to stay home and rest.  That means, I stay home as well.  She's now on antibiotics and eye drops to help her get better, and I feel so bad for her.  I hate to see my girl suffer.  She's been a constant ball of sneezing and snorting, and her eyes are watering non stop.  If I were the average dog owner, I'd probably not have taken her to the vet and let the virus just run it's course, saving the $147 it costed me to take her in.  But us service dog people have to be sure there's nothing seriously wrong that could put our dogs out of commission.
     I wanted to blog this because I think it's important for people to understand how much the health and well-being of our dogs affects us.  I need my girl to be healthy so she can help me in and out of the house.  I also am very affected by it, because my best buddy isn't feeling well, and it breaks my heart to see her so down and out, lethargic and sneezy.  Poor girl. However, it affects me more than the average dog owner, who might also feel sad that their dog isn't well, but they can still leave the house and go on about their daily lives.  My dog is not a guide dog, or hearing dog, or seizure dog, but she's just as important to me, as she assists me with daily tasks.  If she was a guide dog though, for example, and she's ordered on bed rest, then I'm ordered to stay in the house as well, because I don't have my eyes until she feels better, because my dog is my eyes, or my ears, etc.  That is why it is important that those of us with service dogs keep our dogs in great condition, very healthy, and the reason that we utilize our vet clinics more than the regular dog owner.  I wish I could've kept her from getting sick, but the truth is, that because she is a service dog and is still in training classes and goes everywhere with me, she is way more vulnerable to germs exposed by other dogs, and people.
     I also wanted to mention that I had her microchipped while at the Vet yesterday.  If you don't have your service dog microchipped, it's just silly.  I don't foresee any way that my girl would ever get separated from me; however, I feel more comfortable now knowing she's chipped than before.  You never know what could happen.
     Keep your service dog safe, healthy, and happy, as they are not just our buddies, they mean so much more to us!