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Funding for a New Emotional Support Animal

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.

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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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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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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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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 20, 20200 found this helpful

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.
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.
www.nycsecondchancerescue.org/.../

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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. 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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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.
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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November 20, 20200 found this helpful

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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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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November 23, 20200 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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Better Living Charity AdviceNovember 20, 2020
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