Don't Let a Disability Keep You From Enjoying Your Dog
Just because you suffer from a disability doesn't mean you cannot own and care for a pet the same as any other person. There are a great many dog owners with disabilities, and it has been proven that having the company of a dog can actually have a positive effect on physical and emotional health. There are several reasons that having a dog can be good for you. You should not allow your own condition to dictate whether or not you have a pet, it is a rewarding and fun experience that having a disability doesn't ban you from. With the right care, an open mind, and a few adjustments, a disabled person could have the same fulfilling bond with their dog as anyone else.
There are some things that your dog will need that you might not be able to do for her yourself, but there are numerous resources out there to help you out. Trips to the vet for checkups and shots can be aided by a family member willing to accompany you to the clinic, and there are young people everywhere who could be paid a small fee to come by and walk the dog each day. Some people make a career out of dog-walking and pet-sitting. The same people could help you out with routine brushing, putting out food, and filling water dishes. If you ask around, you're likely to find a number of relatives, neighbors, and friends who would be happy to help out. Your veterinarian could also probably offer some names of pet-sitters, groomers, and other animal-lovers who could lend a hand. Some vets will even make house-calls, depending on their location and practice.
You also don't have to be left out of playing with your dog just because of a disability. Dogs are open to any kind of love and attention you offer them, and there are plenty of activities and games that you can do together. Most dogs could play for hours with the red dot from a laser pointer or similar device. It doesn't require much dexterity, and you're liable to get plenty of laughs watching him chase and pounce on the moving target. Even the most simple squeaky toy or plush critter can keep the pooch occupied for hours. Another idea to help get your dog some activity and entertainment is to let him chase remote controlled toys. There are hundreds of cars, trucks, and other toys that you can 'drive' all over the house with a handheld remote.
Dogs with training to assist their owners have gone above and beyond seeing-eye dogs. The blind have enjoyed additional freedom for decades now from their specially trained pets. Now there are dogs trained to accompany and assist people with many different disabilities. Dogs can lead a blind person down the sidewalk, alert a deaf person of danger, and assist with basic activities like taking a walk. These dogs are not like regular pets, they are companions and assistants, and they are welcomed in restaurants, stores, and other places where pets are not normally allowed.
Having a disability often doesn't mean that you will need a lot of additional help to care for your dog. Sometimes there are just a few minor adjustments that need to be made for you and your dog to be just fine by yourselves. One example is to make the routine of feeding your dog a little easier for yourself. Instead of lifting a heavy bag of dog food each day, use a scoop or the bowl to dip up the food. You could also divide the food into baggies with one day's feeding in each bag. Then all you have to do is pour a bag into the dog's dish each morning. Putting your dog's dish on a stand or low table can help you avoid bending over or crouching unnecessarily. The dog can reach it better, too (unless you own a Chihuahua).
Taking the dog out for a daily walk is often the most challenging activity for dog owners with disabilities, but it shouldn't keep you from enjoying a pet. As stated before, there are a number of resources you could use to find people willing to walk your dog for you. Neighborhood youngsters, relatives, school kids needing a part-time job, and professional dog-walkers are all ideas you could use. Vets and local shelter and pet store owners might also be able to suggest some names. You could also avoid having to walk the dog by having a fence installed in your yard. A secure yard allows you to let your dog out to exercise anytime you want with no more physical exertion than opening the back door.
Owning a dog is a rewarding and fun experience, and a disability shouldn't stop you from enjoying the company of a pet. Dogs are just like family members to many people, even those with health issues. No matter what your disability, you can still provide a loving and healthy home for your dog.
About the Author
Rebecca J. Ann has a great passion for dogs. She loves dogs as much as she loves her family. Knowing that heartworm disease is one of the top 10 dog killers, she has built a site about Heartgard for Dogs, where you can find out how to prevent your dog from the deadly disease, heartworm disease. You can also find useful information and review about dog health related products such as Drontal for dogs.