Maia and Me Living with PD (Pt. 3)
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Click here to read part one and here for part two of “Maia and Me Living with PD”.

Maia dog is not a pet, nor cared for as a house pet. All her care, training, and needs have to be met for a medical service dog, as well as American and international travel certifications. It is the owner/handler of the dog who has the full legal responsibility that all these needs are met. Having a medical service dog can be costly––up to $19,000 or much more to own and train throughout the years. Most medical service dogs can go under home owner’s insurance to protect the service dog (SD) in case of loss or damage to the service dog. Please note a big mishap in America is folks think they can train once and call a dog a service dog. No! Yes, it is very expensive but well worth it. Even for folks training with a trainer on their own, it is expensive but well worth the cost to you and the dog for safety and your PD needs. This is an on going cost as the medical training for the dog and owner is very important. Grants, loans, and fundraising all can be written and be used for the cost, training and purchase of a service dog has to be done right. As a person with Parkinson’s your doctors, physical therapist, and movement specialist will all have to be involved in order to see if you are continually able to care for and handle the medical or service dog.

Please note that a medically proven therapy, task or medical service dog cost can be tax deductible with food, vet cost. Check your state on the facts.

Large responsibility

Additionally, service dogs should not be pet, called out to, or distracted from their work. DO NOT distract a service animal ever, out of respect for the handler’s medical needs and dog alertness. Maia and I have been through private training to see if I could handle Maia in public. Both dog and owner are doing great. We learn from each other, our surroundings and all weather environmental conditions. Most service dog organizations both public and private ask for criminal background checks, medical background checks, and financial needs. It is an extensive process but an important process legally and for your needs and safety.

Having a medical service dog is a large responsibility and costly. Along with all her training, the dog’s health care and service certificates have to be up to date constantly. Additionally, US and international certification for travel and insurance also have to be up to date. Currently, Maia and I are in an AKC training program in VA to help keep up all of our skills with a private AKC trainer. The intense training will help Maia to carefully assist me with walking gait, ground hazards for walking/running, sleep disorders, temp adjustments, seizure, stroke awareness, depression, medicine alerts and so much more.

Know your state laws

Insurance, state, and federal legal issues can and DO happen with lack of certification and bad training with fake untrained dogs. It is a big problem and we do not recommend anyone to go out on your own without proper training. It takes many years to train a dog, not a few classes and lots of time, especially with Parkinson’s. With travel and within public areas, interaction with other people, kids and with other animals, and events in public, an untrained dog can get picked out fast and it does show in public. Most fake or untrained dogs can get out of hand fast, and can hurt you or others around you. You can be fined or charged by federal law if an out of control fake service dog hurts others in public. Please note that therapy dogs can be denied access to certain places by law. But a true medical service dog has all access. See your state laws on this issue.

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