Hey everyone, I’m Hollyn Donovan and I’m raising money to cover the cost of acquiring a Medical Alert and Response Service Dog (service dog). My service dog, who I will name Hartley (regardless of gender), will be trained to assist me in living more independently with my disabilities, primarily Autism, Anxiety, Bipolar, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). I’m starting this fundraiser now in hopes that, come sometime between December 2018-March of 2019, I will be able to locate and invest in Hartley as a puppy. Once I have found Hartley, I will begin to train him/her with the help of the professional service dog trainer and her program, Scout’s Legacy Service Dogs, which I intend to use to fully train Hartley over an approximately 2 year period.
Given the mix of both mental and physical disabilities I live with, it has been recommended to me that a larger breed service dog would be most appropriate for my needs. So, I will likely be getting a Golden Retriever puppy as my service dog prospect, but that hasn’t been 100% decided yet.
If you’d like to learn more about my personal journey and what had led me to this point of my needing a service dog, please visit my personal blog.
Why a Service Dog?
For those who may be unaware of the type of tasks and capabilities which Hartley would be trained to provide, the following is a realistic list of what my fully trained service dog would be capable of providing for me:
- Deep Pressure Therapy (dog lays on you to provide pressure to help calm anxiety and panic attacks, similar to the effects of a weighted blanket)
- find exit (lead me to an exit in a crowded place or when I’m having anxiety/panic attacks)
- block (use the dog’s body as a barrier creating space between myself & others around me)
- find help on command (ie: find family, find assistance, etc)
- interrupt behaviors (alert/interrupt me when I’m biting my nails, picking my skin)
- allergen detection
- allergic reaction alert
First off, because not just any dog can be a service dog. Significant behavioral and temperament testing has to be done before a puppy can be identified as a potential service dog candidate. Once selected, service dogs require extra training, extra vet care/testing/health clearances, special high-quality foods, etc.
A breakdown of the projected expenses for Hartley are as follows:
- $1,500-2,500: Puppy must be a basic health and temperament tested puppy, from a quality breeder with health-tested parents that come from quality bloodlines
- $3,500: first 2 years of basic vet care (vaccinations, spay/neuter, hip/knee/elbow testing clearance)
- $2,500: back-up vet fund for unexpected illnesses or injuries
- $5,000: 2 years of training with Scout’s Legacy Service Dogs
- $1,500: basic dog supplies for the first 2 years (food, bowls, toys, treats, leashes/collars/head-leads, vest, patches, beds, crate, public transportation fees)
While $15,000 may seem like a large amount of money for this endeavor, the reality is that if I were to get a fully trained dog from a program, the trained dog would come at a cost of $15,000-50,000 for the dog alone. In addition, I have not found any program in the United States that will train a dog for ALL of my combined disability needs, so I feel that going with the owner-trainer/professional-trainer option local to me (Scout’s Legacy Service Dogs) is my best route of training Hartley and at the same time, will allow me to do so at a MUCH lower overall cost.
****Together, my parents and my grandmother have agreed to support this fundraising effort by committing to match a combined 40 cents per dollar of every donation made to this cause.****
If you’d like to support me and Hartley, you can donate one of three ways. The first is through my Go Fund Me, which can be found here. Or! You can donate directly via PayPal here. You can also purchase a t-shirt through Bonfire. For “When I Needed A Hand I Found Your Paw”, click here. For “The Best Therapist Has Fur and Four Legs”, click here. Our current designs are listed below. But act fast! each campaign only lasts 21 days.