Celebrating Service Dogs!
Most people are familiar with guide dogs for the blind, but there are a growing number of other types of service dogs who help people in many ways.
These incredible, highly-trained dogs are true heroes, devoted to helping their owners.
There are several ways you can help celebrate service dogs.
1. Always keep your distance from service dogs. Don’t touch them, don’t gesture to them or stare at them, and don’t let your dog or kids interact with them. Service dogs who are wearing their vests are on duty, and they need to keep complete concentration on their jobs for their safety and the safety of their owners.
2. Adopt a failed service dog. It happens – some dogs go through the entire training program and find out they aren’t cut out to be service dogs, but they are still wonderful, well-trained, loving dogs who would make great pets.
3. Donate to a service dog organization. The training and placement of service dogs is a very expensive endeavor. You can donate to programs that are set up to help cover the costs so that an individual in need who can’t afford the fees can still be partnered with a service dog. There are too many to list, but there are many wonderful organizations out there, including those that partner service dogs with military veterans, and those that focus on a specific type of service dog. Find the cause closest to your heart and know that your donation will help change someone’s life in a HUGE way.
Here are just a few of the many types of service dogs working today:
Guide dogs, or seeing-eye dogs, help people with full or partial vision loss. Guide dogs can be trained to help their owners determine when it is safe to cross the street, and guide them through busy sidewalks, public transportation, and unfamiliar buildings.
Hearing dogs provide many services to people with hearing loss, including alerting them to alarms, knocks at the door, approaching people, and other important sounds.
Medical Alert Dogs
Medical alert dogs perform an astonishing number of life-saving tasks. These dogs are often trained to detect or respond to specific conditions, including diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditions, and stroke. These dogs are able to detect early warning symptoms before the owner does, such as an elevation in the blood sugar of a diabetic owner. They will alert their owner to the problem, bring medication or a phone to their owner, provide physical support, or alert others of the need for medical assistance.
Mobility dogs are trained to help people who are in wheelchairs or have trouble using their arms or legs. Mobility dogs perform a huge number of services for their owners, including bringing them objects, pushing elevator buttons, opening doors, and helping their owners balance and move from place to place.
Neurological Conditions Dogs
Service dogs can also be used to help people with a number of neurological conditions, including PTSD, traumatic brain injury, autism, sensory processing disorder, and more.
These dogs provide people with important emotional support, giving them the confidence to be out in the world more. Depending on the needs of the individual, these dogs can help their people improve social interactions and relationships, expand verbal and nonverbal communication, teach life skills, increase interest in activities, and decrease stress.
They may be also be trained to alert their owners when they notice subtle early warning signs of panic attacks or confused behavior, calming them or bringing them back to their surroundings.