Is a dog for you?
Regardless of your physical limitations, a dog might help.
Here are two considerations:
Because the interviews and training must be face-to-face, applying for a service dog will take time. Start looking now if you think you or a loved one with PD might need the kind of help a trained balance dog can provide. Groups such as Service Dog Project (SDP) in Ipswich, Mass. and Freedom Service Dogs, Inc. (FSD), in Englewood, Colo. match people with dogs in their regions. Assistance Dogs International lists resources by state at assistancedogsinternational.org.
A Great Family Pet
Consider adopting a rescue animal. Many shelters are selective about who can adopt and will help you determine which of their rescues has the right temperament and energy for your lifestyle. The quality-of-life benefits may outweigh the extra duties. To find a reputable local shelter, visit aspca.org/adopt-pet.
Originally printed in MoreThanMotion, June 2016.