Raising Service Dogs: What Does It Entail?

lady in a wheelchair with a service dog Jessica Rockowitz

At some point during your life, you have likely encountered someone with a service animal. What exactly is a service dog, and what is their purpose? Service dogs are specially trained to assist people in performing important life tasks. They help with everything from physical disorders to severe psychiatric disabilities. Physical impairments can be defined as any medical condition or disorder that affects one of the body systems. Examples include blindness, diabetes, cancer, and many more. Many people wonder how to raise a service dog and if it is a good fit for their lifestyle. Let's look a little bit closer at what it entails.

Who Can Raise Service Dogs?

Most if not all organizations require you to be 18 years of age or older to raise a service dog. If you're under 18 and you live with an adult as your co-applicant, this can also be approved in some cases. It's also important for the puppy's development to have supervision and socialization throughout the day, so you might need to discuss bringing the dog to your workplace or providing an alternative for socialization and care, according to CCI (Canine Companions for Independence). If the puppy is left unsupervised, he or she must be in an appropriate sized crate. Therefore, it's imperative that your lifestyle allows for these adaptations if you are choosing to raise a service dog.


Does it Cost Money to Raise a Service Dog?

With CCI, those raising a service dog are responsible for providing food, supplies, vet care, transportation, and other related expenses while the puppy is in their care. These expenses are usually tax deductible, and assistance is often given if any large veterinary expenses were to arise. However, every organization is different in what they cover, as well as the expenses that go along with raising a service dog.


Benefits of Raising Service Dogs

Raising a service dog has so many tremendous benefits, not just for you and your family, but for the impact that you're making on the world. You're truly changing lives and making a difference for people with disabilities. If you are raising service dogs with children in the home, you are teaching them compassion and empathy by showing them the sacrifice and hard work that will go into caring for an animal that you will ultimately be giving up in order to positively impact another person's life. Also, who doesn't love puppy snuggles?


How Do I Learn More?

There are many fantastic programs in the US that raise service dogs and match them with future owners. The best way to find them is to do a search and read about the different support, training, and requirements for each. You can then see which one is truly the best fit for your family. Reach out to your network, too, and see if anyone has raised a service dog and can discuss their experience with you! For those of you who are local to Austin, check out Service Dogs Inc to learn more about raising service dogs here in central Texas.

Are you thinking of raising a service dog? We want to hear about it!


About the Author:

Jessica Rockowitz

Jessica is an East Coast girl originally from Boston, MA but recently transplated to Austin, TX. She is a former OB Nurse Educator turned Content Manager and Brand Strategist. She recently founded Every Mama Birth Education, where she creates customized childbirth education courses for busy moms, in the comfort of their own homes. When she’s not busy blogging or being a pregnancy and birth nerd, you can catch her chasing around her three busy kids and rescue fur baby. You can also follow her antics on Instagram.