The Reason Why There is a Need for

Service Dog Funding

The High Cost Associated with the Purchase of a Service Dog

A service dog is a specially trained dog that performs tasks for people with disabilities.

German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are the most common dogs that perform these services. In 2019, there were approximately 20,000 registered service dogs in the United States performing tasks and serving as companions to disabled individuals.

A service dog can assist individuals with disabilities by:

  • Providing balance or support when standing or walking

  • Assisting with transfers from a wheelchair to a chair/bed

  • Opening doors

  • Retrieving things for their person

  • Turning lights on/off

  • Alerting a person who may have a seizure

  • Alerting to cardiac episodes

Common disabilities where a service dog can provide assistance:

  • ALS

  • Arthritis

  • Cardiac-related disabilities

  • Cerebral Palsy

  • Chronic back/neck problems

  • Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome

  • Diabetes

  • Epilepsy/seizure disorders

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Hypotonia

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Muscular Dystrophy

  • Myasthenia Gravis

  • Narcolepsy/Cataplexy

  • Paralysis

  • Parkinson’s Disease

  • Spina Bifida

  • Spinal Cord Injuries

  • Stroke

  • Vertigo

Because of the specialized training these dogs require, from a very early age, it can cost between $15,000 and $30,000 to purchase a dog. The cost reflects adoption costs, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and trainers fees.

Few families or individuals have the funds to buy these dogs because the money is required upfront. In addition, most disabled people are already facing much higher annual medical costs due to their disability.

The are many accredited service dog trainers throughout the United States. Most non-profit service dog training organizations are certified by Assistance Dog International (ADA), which basically reflects the standards, training, and quality of the program. In the United States, there is no government provision for certification of service dogs.

In Connecticut, Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) is a non-profit service dog training for people with disabilities. Since their fee to train a service dog is a hefty $24,500, they help clients set up a funding page on Click and Pledge. For example, here is the page for my sister’s grandson, Rowan:

But Rowan’s story is only one of many people seeking assistance, people from all walks of life. Here is the url for other individuals who have started funding pages, with the help of ECAD, on the Click and Pledge website:

Here is the website for Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD).