PAALS (Palmetto Animal Assisted Living Services, in Columbia SC) has accepted me as a client! I’m to be matched with a potential service dog, and when it is ready, I’ll be trained with it. There are certain basic commands / tasks that I need that they will pre-train the dog to do, of course. But I will need to spend 2 weeks on their campus falling in love with the dog and the dog falling in love with me, and learning to put the dog through it’s paces. This will include learning to train for additional tasks as they come up, and keeping the dog “fresh” with all the other tasks it’s been trained to do.
For instance, I need the dog to be able to press a large-button-phone programmed to 9-1-1 for emergencies. As this *hopefully* is not something the dog will need to do often, regular training is important so the dog won’t forget!
Between now and 2 years from now when the dog is “ready” for me, I need to fund-raise. The amount I need to raise is $7000.00 (yes, the decimal is in the right place). This only covers 1/3 of the cost of breeding, raising, socializing, vet care, training, and equipment for the service dog. Didn’t realize the cost was so high, did you?? Consider: $1000.00 a year for vet care alone over the life of the dog (PAALS will help with vet care if we can’t afford it) is about $12,000-$14,000! There is the cost of harnesses, collars, capes, food, the cost of helping people attend the training camp, and other specifics. The PAALS Holiday Wish List addresses the exact costs of the specifics involved in breeding, raising and training.
So, my friends, if you are looking for a charity (other than your Parish) to sponsor, please consider donating to PAALS. They are a 501c3 charitable organization, and your donations are tax deductable. Nice end-of-the-year place to get those tax deductions in! And it will help your humble correspondent tremendously
Even $5.00 means $5.00 less that I need to raise.
This is an example of the kind of dog I can expect – a Labrador Retriever – this is NOT the specific dog I will have!