Hi everyone! My name is Arien Smith and I am a mental health advocate, coach, writer, and activist. I am also a survivor of long-term abuse and I live with PTSD from the trauma I survived. I also have a physical condition that has stumped several specialists which causes me intense chronic pain, loss of balance and coordination, and dizziness.
I am proud of my strength, but I also acknowledge when I need help. Service dogs are incredible forms of assistance for disabled individuals, like myself, especially those who suffer from psychiatric and physical disabilities. I regularly meditate, exercise, work on self-help techniques, attend therapy, and work with my psychiatrist and doctors. I am still disabled.
Having a service dog means I can live a more independent, confident, and expansive life. A service dog is freedom for me.
I found a great Goldendoodle breeder (Cosmopolitan Companion Dogs) and individual trainers who are willing to help me out! Most for a fee, of course. That’s where your help comes in.
What Challenges Do These Disabilities Cause?
Disabilities are challenging, for sure. Physically, I have gradually lost strength when my illness flares up, which has made it difficult to carry groceries and walk. I also experience dizziness and loss of balance, which means falling and sustaining a head injury is a lot more likely for me.
PTSD is the most significant disability of mine. Dissociation is one of my primary symptoms. This makes me less coordinated and aware of my surroundings which puts me in danger when, say, I have to cross a street. I have about a dozen more symptoms than this, too. A service dog can help me get through and manage all of these symptoms, and a ton more.
The Beauty of a Service Dog
Over the past year and a half, my symptoms have intensified. Unlike anxiety, depression, and many physical illnesses, PTSD and my mobility condition have no medications that directly help the symptoms. But there is one thing that literally responds to and helps symptoms: a service dog.
Service dogs are specifically trained to assist their handler and help them manage their symptoms through a series of tasks they complete. There is also a beautiful bond between the handler and dog that goes beyond your usual pet.
A service dog could literally warn me of an anxiety attack before it happens so I can prevent it. They can also make sure I don’t cross a road when I’m dissociated and didn’t notice a car. When I lose my balance, a service dog can brace me and make sure I don’t fall and hit my head.
For these reasons, a service dog means more than just help—this dog could very well save my life.
The Fundraising Plan
Stage one (where the amount is set now):
Puppy and initial training from breeder: $4700 (generously discounted by the breeder!)
Training Consultations and Lessons: $2500
Toys and Gear: $2000
Unexpected and Emergency Savings: $2000
This budget will be done in pieces! Right now, the goal is $2500, which is the cost of the puppy itself (without breeder training).
How to Help if You Can’t Donate
See the little note up top that says “every share can raise $37”? That’s a good chunk of change! If you share this campaign link, especially with a personal note about why you want your loved ones to join this cause, it can really make an impact.
A Major Thanks from Me to You!
I want to sincerely thank you for your donation, share, or any way you are contributing to this campaign. This is a life changing moment for me, to have the chance to raise and adopt a service dog to assist me with my disabilities. You are bringing unconditional love, compassion, and amazing symptom-management into my life. I will be forever grateful for every dollar raised.
You and the impact you are making on my life will not be forgotten. Thank you so so much for all you have helped me with.