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Funding for a New Emotional Support Animal

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Silver Feedback Medal for January, 2021. 10 Feedbacks

A dog on a carpet.This is a picture of my dog, Minnie. I had to have her put to sleep on 6/1/2020. She was 18 years old and was my emotional support animal. I'm living below poverty, but I need another dog for my mental health. I have a letter from a psychiatrist saying that I need an emotional support animal. I need probably about $500 for a new ESA.

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The average adoption fee for a dog over 1 year is at least $250. Sometimes they are $350, depending where you adopt/rescue them from. I also need to buy my dog food (I can't and won't go to a pet food pantry), flea medicine, heartworm medicine, plus new dog means new stuff; such as a new bed, treats, toys, a winter coat (I live in Buffalo, NY), a sweater for inbetween days, a rain coat and other stuff you need for a new dog. Some of my former dog's things can be used. I also need this $500 for additional food and future vet bills. I can only give my new dog the very basics, such as needed shots (rabies, kennel cough, distemper, etc.) I also would like to have my new dog's teeth cleaned at LEAST every other year.

I know about GoFundMe and I will set this up, but perhaps some of you here know where I can get funding for an emotional support animal. This is not just a pet, I need it for my mental health. Please keep in mind that ESAs are NOT service dogs or therapy dogs. Those kinds of dogs are trained to do specific tasks, such as alerting you to blood sugar lows, picking up a TV remote if you've dropped on the floor and you're in a wheelchair (I'm not) or if you are visually disabled. These dogs cost THOUSANDS for their training. I don't need this. I just need a new little dog like my Minnie 15 lbs or lighter, for emotional support. ESA are NOT considered pets. They are like a kind of therapy animal that doesn't need specialized training.

If any of you know of any association, charity or organization that could help me, I would appreciate it so much! It's almost winter here in Buffalo, NY, and now I will be isolated because of the weather as well as COVID. I have no "inner circle" of friends or family members who love me. Because of my mental illness, I can no longer work and am struggling to get on SSI/SSD. Yes, I do have a counselor and I go to a day program for the severely mentally ill once a week. I also have Zoom meetings for support, but they are not the same as a friend. I sometimes get suicidal and I fear for my safety sometimes. You don't/can't end your life if you have an animal to love and take care of and they love you back as well. If anyone knows anything, it would be greatly appreciated. This was hard for me to write.

A dog next to a petunia.
 
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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
November 20, 20200 found this helpful
Best Answer

I'm not sure you will be able to find an agency that will supply all of your needs for free but you may be able to find agencies that will provide a part of the needs but then go to another agency to ask for more help.
According to what part of the country you reside you should start with your local humane society services to see if they support any programs to help with adoption fees and also if they have a list of agencies that may help with ESA costs.

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It seems you are asking for a continuous flow of supplies/money for your pets needs and most agencies go through the first phase of assistance and then you are no longer in their programs so you may have to request services/help on an ongoing basis.

It is difficult for us to find agencies that help with adopting a suitable pet because most sites are only interested in getting a pet 'certified' as an ESA pet and charge a fee for this. You apparently do not need this service.
You might also contact your local Family Services Center and ask if they have any suggestions that might help you find the assistance you need.
here is one link but you will have to check all suggestions yourself to see if they meet any of your needs and also if you qualify for their help.

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www.nycsecondchancerescue.org/.../

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Silver Feedback Medal for January, 2021. 10 Feedbacks
November 20, 20200 found this helpful

Thanks for your suggestions. I have a health home manager that may be able to help me, but I don't know how she will get me $500. I called the SPCA and told them I need a dog for an ESA and even told them I have a letter from a psychiatrist saying such, but they refused to help me. They also had no leads as far as where to look for funding. It's very, very frustrating. Yes, those certification sites are nonsense and they just want your money. All you need is a letter on official letterhead (from a doctor's office) mentioning your mental diagnosis and that you have need for an ESA. That's it. That's all you need and it costs NOTHING.

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I'll check out the link you gave me. Perhaps I'll call the humane society in my area to see if they know of any funding programs. I asked here at ThriftyFun because I figured someone may know something that I don't. You don't know if you don't ask, right? I'll keep an eye out for further posts to this topic. Gotta keep trying... grateful for all the suggestions here, even if they weren't "on target." I'll keep checking. Sure wish I could get a credit card. That would take care of everything, but my credit's in the crapper...

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
November 20, 20200 found this helpful

There is never any harm in asking and it does seem (from the NYC link that there may be some help with adoption fees) that you can get some help. I understand about not seeing the dogs because it is easy to fall in love with one.

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Maybe if you try Go Fund Me someone will be able to supply some information that has been in the same predicament and found a way out. Money is tight for many 'helping' people so it may not fund you but may supply information.
Good luck - I know how difficult it is to loose a companion but try to think positive and I know you will find a way to do this.

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Silver Feedback Medal for January, 2021. 10 Feedbacks
November 27, 20200 found this helpful

Thanks so much for your support and encouragement!

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
November 20, 20200 found this helpful
Best Answer

usserviceanimals.org/.../

lowincomerelief.com/.../#:~:text=The%20Assistance%20Dog%20United....

While I have not had personal experiences with either site, there may be something of value for you in these sites. Are you a military veteran? There are other resources for vets? Your United way may have other local suggestions.

You may need to cobble together a strategy with a variety of sources and avenues.

One thing I am curious about I am not clear on why you would not use a pet food bank for help with food...that could help defer some of the food costs. I am a very long time dog mom and I am all about care for your pet, so I understand you have to plan for those costs too...so one strategy could be to negotiate with the vet a rate that can be revisited yearly.

Be careful with frequent teeth cleaning under anesthesia. My late daschsund lived to 17 1/2 and only had 3 cleanings with her vet carefully monitoring her in between She had chew toys and hard biscuits that helped her maintain good oral health. Sometimes gets over recommend cleaning because they are huge money makers. Also with vaccines, if the dog still has tiger levels for immunity, they can skip doses. This must be done under vet care. Hollistic vets are my preference...but I do know not everyone has that comfort level.

I almost feel like you have a opportunity here to start a non profit organization to help people like yoursef whose needs seem to fall between the cracks. If you want tips on how to do that, I can share some guidance.

Blessings and all good wishes!

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
November 23, 20200 found this helpful

I agree with you about the food bank as most people are very grateful for the help they provide.
There may be some confusion about a 'service dog' and an 'ESA' pet as her condition only qualifies her for an ESA pet but her 'disability/condition' does not qualify her for a 'service dog'.

I do not believe she will be able to find free money for all of the services she feels necessary to be able to have a new dog as an ESA pet.
Hopefully, she will do more research and find a way to afford a pet that can fulfill her needs.

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Silver Feedback Medal for January, 2021. 10 Feedbacks
November 27, 20200 found this helpful

Thanks so much for your encouragement! I don't like the idea of going to a pet food pantry for a couple of reasons: 1) I have no way to get there or back home, let alone being able to carry a 20lb bag of food onto a bus/taxi. 2) Cannot afford a taxi, 3) don't have anyone to take me. 4) Also, when you go to a pet food pantry, the food is not the best quality. 5) When you return for more, months later, you will most likely not get the same food brand again, and it's not healthy to suddenly change a dog's diet. 6) If the dog gets sick because of a sudden diet change, now you have a vet bill- or two- to deal with.
I am not a Veteran. I didn't realize that a dog's immunity can last a while, and it makes sense that a vet would pressure you to get their teeth cleaned year because of the bundle of money they make. That can be very expensive. Once when I took Minnie to get her teeth cleaned, they not only charged for the cleaning, euthanasia, anti-bacterial stuff and other things, she had to get 11 teeth removed at $40-odd dollars PER TOOTH. The bill was over $1000. I'll definitely be getting Dentastix and a Nylabone for my new little one! I will definitely look into the IRS for help with vet bills, but there's nothing there for funding to get the EMS in the first place, which is what I need. The grants talked about at the one site are for service animals, not for simply getting an EMS. I will look into the Assistance Dog United Campaign. I don't know if an ESA is considered an Assistance Dog. I've never heard of this term before. If an Assistance Dog is the same as a Service Dog, then they probably can't help me, but I'll ask them. I'll definitely look into Paws With a Cause as well. The idea of starting a non-profit for people like myself is a GREAT idea. I actually think the US Government should create a division called MEDVET which covers all expenses for service, therapy, guide, assistance and EMS animals from birth to death for those on Social Services, Medicaid and Medicare who could never otherwise afford these needed animals, but need them nonetheless for their mental health, well-being and to able to function well and thrive in human society. Think of all the seniors living on a limited income who are poor and isolated because they are living alone and would love to have a dog, cat, bird, etc. Senior citizens are at great risk of suicide for these reasons alone. I am thinking of approaching a couple of veterinary associations to see if they would get behind me on this, because it's needed SO BADLY. With their help, I would then approach a few local politicians that hopefully will recognize the need and get behind me. However, these are just theories; I've never done anything like this and I don't know where to start. If you would be willing to guide me as to how to do this, it would be a great cause to start. Thanks so much for the suggestions and the encouragement!

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
November 28, 20200 found this helpful

That makes sense about the dislike for the food pantries with the logistical part of it. I guess I have been blessed that my previous and current pup did not have issues when their food had to be changed for one reason or another. We have an integration process we follow and it works for us. That doesn't help with the logistics you encounter, though.

My suggestion is to contact your local Small Business Development Center and talk to them to find the branch that helps people start a non profit organization and that you could create a group that can make a difference for people like you who fall between the cracks in these situations.

Here is a zip code finder: americassbdc.org/.../

The SBDC can tell you which arm of its services can teach you the process to do the set up and all of the necessary paperwork/legal/accounting etc. requirements.

They will have free or very low cost classes to help you learn to write for grants to fund the operation. Right now everything is online so they may not have a local arm, but could hook you up a virtual mentor.

You can work with your local government officials as non profit.

You can solicit help from for profit companies as sponsors.

You can educate and help match people with the services that are lacking.

Like a for profit business that solves someone's pain point problem, a non profit does the same but it is about the differences in taxes and legalities.

In reading your posts you have expressed yourself well and I think you could make something of this because from what I can read there is a need.

I hope you take the steps and find solutions for yourself and others in need. I feel in my heart that your offering would bring blessings to many!! Prayers for solutions and guidance!

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 140 Posts
November 20, 20200 found this helpful

Sorry for your loss, You could start by adding your story to Social Media, they are larger and will have much more avenues for help. On the larger sites they may have a faster idea, and even put you in touch locally to also help you. There are so many in need during this Covid season, and there may be a wait. Your needs are very specific , and someone has the answer for help. - www.zumper.com/.../ and this link- www.certapet.com/.../ - Good Luck

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Silver Feedback Medal for January, 2021. 10 Feedbacks
November 20, 20200 found this helpful

Thanks, Ana. I know that my new dog would be able to move in with me in a new apartment. When you have an ESA, the pet deposit is waived and they can't evict you. That's violating Federal Law. What I want to do, as I said above, is a GoFundMe page and then post it on Facebook. However, I already mentioned this above-- that is, the GoFundMe page. The Zumper link is about pets in apartments, and that's not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for funding. The certapet site is also informative, but, again, it doesn't mention anything about getting funding for this new dog. Thanks anyway.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for 2021. 15 Feedbacks
November 20, 20200 found this helpful

Have you tried all the different animal shelters/rescues in your area? If you ask around and tell them of your situation, one of the places may be able to help you find a small dog. Also, would you consider a cat, a rabbit, a bird, or another type of animal? Check the pet ads in local newspapers too. Veterinarians usually know of people looking for homes for puppies, kittens, etc.....give them a call. Also watch on Craigs List Buffalo, NY under "Community" then click on pets. Good luck finding a companion.

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Silver Feedback Medal for January, 2021. 10 Feedbacks
November 20, 20200 found this helpful

Thanks, but as I mentioned above, the shelters cost $250, which I don't have. I am looking for funding for this dog-- adoption costs, food, etc. Perhaps you could re-read my original post. I don't want a cat (not a cat person, plus I'm allergic) or any other kind of animal. Allergic to rodents, so no bunnies, hamsters, etc. I really want another dog like my Minnie. Even if someone gives me a dog FOR FREE, I have no money for what I mentioned above: food, new dog new stuff, flea meds, etc. I need the $400-500 for this. I have to have this money BEFORE I can even THINK about getting a dog. I'm a member on many adoption sites but I CAN'T look at the dogs. I can't "fall in love" with a dog and have NO MONEY to get them. Again, looking for funding. Thanks so much!

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November 23, 20201 found this helpful

Jenlyn, I am also very very sorry that you had to part with your great love, your ESA. It took me a year to stop sobbing every night for my beloved Ginger. I took a lot of Tylenol. I was extremely fortunate to be able to afford my next ESA. But I was astounded at how much money I had to hand over. Senior discount? No. Therapy discount No. I just wanted a small female dog. I ended up with very depressed discouraged dachshund with submissive unrination that absolutely nobody wanted. It took a year to make her feel safe enough to just raise her tail. It took another year to "cure" the submissive unrination. Pouring love and at her worked, along with have pee pads covering everything. Anyway just to say I have been on your journey and want to encourage you to keep working to get your puppy. Good luck and let us know how you are getting along.

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Silver Feedback Medal for January, 2021. 10 Feedbacks
November 27, 20200 found this helpful

GingerGoodDog, I'm so sorry for your loss. I just want to say right off that petloss.com is a great site with resources. They have a supportive chat room there so you don't have to worry about travelling anywhere. They have a memorial candle service every Monday at 10PM (EST) through a live chat, and the people there are wonderful! I can only handle doing the service once a month. More than that would be too much for me. Call your local humane society as well and see if they know of any pet grief/loss groups that can help you. Sometimes people don't take our pet loss seriously because to them, it's just a dog. If they've never had any kind of animal, they don't understand. Forgive them if this has happened to you. My Minnie was a rescue. The SPCA busted a puppy mill in Angola, NY and rescued 99 dogs from there. Minnie had anxiety issues and when I got her from my landlords who lived downstairs, they said she was too afraid to even leave the property to go for a walk. Imagine-- a dog too scared to go for a walk! So I did some slow, careful exposure to help her out. I would walk her as far as she would go-- not far at all- then pick her up, walk her down a few houses, put her back on the ground, and we would walk back home. Each time, I took her a little father, then another day a little farther, a little at a time. And guess what? She GOT OVER IT! I was so PROUD of her for her courage and trust in me and in MYSELF that I made this slow, loving effort to help her. Afterwards, she walked with no problem and enjoyed it! Another weird thing about Minnie? She NEVER WAGGED HER TAIL. What a strange, funny little dog she was! I would grab her tail and gently wag it for her and say, Minnie, Minnie... do you know what this is? Do you know how to use this? And I would have a good laugh as she looked at me like, Mommy, what in the WORLD are you doing with that? She was so funny and such a sweet little treasure... so beautiful! Thank you for your kind efforts in helping your new dog. It's WONDERFUL what you did-- what a great Dog Mom you are! It sounds like you and I have a lot in common. Bless you for your encouragement!

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Silver Feedback Medal for January, 2021. 10 Feedbacks
November 27, 20200 found this helpful

GingerGoodDog, www.finalgift.com/ is a nice site, too. You can create a memorial page for Ginger there and they have other resources that may help.

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Silver Feedback Medal for January, 2021. 10 Feedbacks
November 27, 20200 found this helpful

Here is a picture of a little memorial I put together for my Minnie. The cedar box has her ashes in it, and the vet did a memorial cement pawprint and gave me the little clear plastic heart with a cutting of her fur in it shortly after she put Minnie down in my arms in my home. This vet makes her living helping animals cross the Rainbow Bridge in people's own homes with whomever you want present. No cold, metal tables in a vet's office where you are rushed. It was expensive, but a couple of people helped pay for it for me. It was just me, the vet, and my Minnie. It was heartbreaking, but lovely. I had to go to a hospital respite program afterwards for 5 days. It's hard, but I'm coping. I miss her so much.

 
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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
November 25, 20200 found this helpful

I think I have just found what you need. I have located a website that has all the information you need to get a new ESA dog for you. Believe it or not, you can get a grant to get a new ESA dog for you. Even the ISA offers you funding to get a new dog for you. I would like to give you this website to check out. There is way too much information on this site for me to type it all in here. There is a lot of options available to you to help you out and find a new loving dog to be there for your support. usserviceanimals.org/.../

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
November 26, 20200 found this helpful

I believe the majority of people have never heard of an ESA pet and just naturally assume it is the same as 'service dog/animal'.
There are agencies that provide free 'service dogs' for disadvantaged disabled people but as far as I can find there is no agency that will help obtain and care for an ESA dog/animal as this is for an emotional problem the person has and is not always considered (by the medical world) a disability.
An ESA pet usually comes straight from a Humane Society Center and very little help is offered in acquiring an ESA pet. I did find one agency that will sometimes give a $100 discount on an adoption but nothing else.
Some agencies will help out with food but it may not be the person's 'choice' of foods - just pet food.
It seems there are more people with this problem than most people realize so maybe someone will start a media campaign to make more people aware of this distressing emotion illness.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
November 28, 20200 found this helpful

You could start a go fund me account

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