Living with a Service Dog Team
As a person with a disability, getting a service dog and becoming a member of a service dog team changed my life in ways I never imagined. But as I look back at my experiences, I have to stop and reflect on what it must have been like for my husband to live in a home with a service dog team. How did it change his life?
When I was considering getting a service dog, I immediately discussed it with my husband, Franz. I wanted to make sure he supported my decision. It was strange at first because Franz and I are very close and I was bringing another being into our home. And this was a being that would be by my side 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When I brought my first service dog, Ramona, home, I was amazed at how respectful Franz was from the very beginning. He never tried to distract her from her job and yet, he was always there to assist me with her care and well-being whenever necessary.
During our first year together, I sometimes questioned my decision to get a service dog. Franz constantly reassured me that I had to have to a service dog. It was not a question of “should I have a service dog” but “how could I not have a service dog and live the kind of independent life that I wanted.” He was the silent partner of our working dog team, the unsung hero.
I admire partners and family members who support their loved ones who receive a service dog both emotionally and sometimes physically with assistance in daily care and maintenance. Franz says that my service dogs not only provided me with independence and devotion but they also gave him more freedom and security that I could be more independent and self-reliant. He says his job is to offer unconditional support to our working dog team. I guess you could say that my service dogs changed both of our lives in ways that we never could have imagined.