Posted by Petjoy on 9th Nov 2016
A service or medical alert dog can be a vital part of making difficult health days just a little bit easier. While you may have never considered the option, (or maybe never even knew it existed) these animals are a great addition to ensuring that you live your life with MS exactly the way you want to… but this is not the only perk of an MS service dog. From alerting for help if you need it to saving energy on days when you need all you can get, these five benefits of getting a working canine companion just might make you think about adding one to your team.
They can improve your balance and offer support.
If you have MS, size really does matter when it comes to your service dog. Your dog will need to be sturdy enough to provide you with the support you need and at the same time not injury itself trying to do so. Even if this is not a concern of yours right now, it is good to be prepared for the possibility of relapses that effect your balance. While it may never happen, being prepared can give you peace of mind.
They can boost your mood and fight depression.
According to PsychCentral, a leading authority on mental health, pets can change the course of depression in many different ways. One way being that they can change the way you react to situations and while a service dog is a working dog and not a pet, the bond that you share with your service animal is much stronger than that of an ordinary pet. Your pet will learn to read you and you will also learn to read him over time, making you both pertinent to the happiness and well-being of one another.
They can help you conquer fatigue.
MS can leave you feeling absolutely zapped and sometimes from the moment you wake up. Many MS patients note that this kind of fatigue is not noticeably affected by getting more sleep. When energy levels are overwhelmingly low, you can depend on your service dog to help you with small tasks around the house. Service dogs can be trained to retrieve the phone, items from the fridge and even carry a small, rope held basket from one room to another.
They can be your eyes.
Optic neuritis can leave MS patients with trouble seeing out of one eye. This can make getting around on a busy sidewalk a little risky especially if you also are having balance issues at the time. Your dog can help you navigate streets and sidewalks safely when your eyes are not in the mood to cooperate.
They can get help if you need it.
When balance is effected, falls can happen. While you shouldn’t live your life worrying about taking a tumble, it is nice to know that if you do need help – you can get to it. If this happens to you when you are alone, your dog can be trained to press an emergency button to get help if you need it.
Life with MS is an adventure… when you add a service dog to your life, the adventure becomes a team effort and a journey that you will not want to miss. To learn more about what a service dog can do for you, talk to your doctor about receiving a service dog letter. There are plenty of organizations in your local area that likely train and sell service animals, however, there are also foundations who provide free service dogs to those who are on a tighter budget.
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