Where can I get a Guide / Service / PTSD dog?

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Good afternoon Lawrence,

My name is Evin. I was in a serious accident 4 years ago. I was hit from behind by a drunk driver while driving my ATV. I had injuries that have affected my vision and mobility.

My case manager and rehab team have discussed and applied to the lions club of Canada, Oakville, Ontario for a guide dog. They have also discussed another option of PTSD service dog. I guess I am a little complicated because I have a few issues. I am hoping that I will fit somewhere.

I am attending Orientation and mobility training with the CNIB. I am so excited about my training and I can’t believe how the power of touch can change your life!!

The CNIB has provided me a list of the different guide dog organizations, but will not recommend any one organization in particular. I do understand why they are not in the position to do so. The Mira foundation was listed. Is there a minimum sight loss that the Mira foundation requires?

I also found the link to your website and I am very impressed! You are a very talented man! I remember many years ago, when a friend told me about you and your passion for life and fishing! I enjoyed fishing with this friend and we always had time to talk about our life experiences and that is when I heard about you, sitting in a boat/ a porta boat to be exact.

I know that you are very busy, but I would love to hear from you.

Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely, Evin

Hello Evin,

Having gone blind three different times in my life, first as a child who lost central vision, second as a young man who had to learn to live without seeing important details, and third as someone later in life who has since lost the ability to see light and movement. Three different events with vastly different outcomes. It may have been easier to just jump right to the end, but that wasn’t the hand that I was dealt.

It takes time to readjust to new circumstances. Progress can be quick to begin with, but the last finishing touches can take more time and effort. You know you will have reached full rehabilitation when you start getting through your days without the disability coming to mind. It’s possible.

With respect to guide dog schools, there are two issues that need to be considered. One, the quality of the dogs and training, and two, the after-care support. In my opinion, Mira does a good job at both.

The issue with seeing well and using a guide dog is that you won’t necessarily follow the dog and this will end up putting you in a dangerous position. Don’t worry, when you are assessed for guide dog training they will cover your eyes.

Moby and Lawrence by Cedars

You aren’t the only one with multiple challenges and service requirements. How well a service dog school can train a dog to address your specific blend is the real question. I know Mira has been in the fore-front of innovative thinking and training in this regard, but you will need to determine that for yourself. Not all schools want to deal with people who cross over lines of the traditional service dog types.

Having good independent mobility and orientation skills is important, and to this end, Mira is the only school in Canada that has an O/M instructor on site throughout each class. You only need to be able to leave your home and get around the block and back on your own to qualify. With 80% unemployment among the blind in Canada, there are lots of folks with guide dogs who don’t often have the need to venture far from home.

I’m not totally familiar with the specific services PTSD dogs provide, but I can say that all dogs bond and eventually reflect your emotional state. You will learn to know your mood from your dog’s behaviour before you know it yourself. They are truly gifted in non-verbal communications. It’s us who depend on language. Dogs read body language and smell different emotions. We should all learn from dogs how to be more sensitive to each other’s emotional and physical state.

Keep me posted on developments if you want, and please feel free to reach out as you see fit.

Best regards, Lawrence

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