A service animal is “any guide dog, signal
dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an
individual with a disability…regardless of whether they have been
licensed or certified by a state or local government.” (Americans with Disabilities Act - ADA)
Some service animals are guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired. Some are hearing dogs for the deaf and hard of hearing. Some dogs assist people with other disabilities.
Some service animals are trained to serve in police work and the military. They can learn to detect bombs and land mines, and perform search, rescue and recovery.
Other service animals could include monkeys, pigeons, dolphins, and miniature horses.
Service dogs. Many service dogs are rescued from local shelters.
These dogs are trained to
open doors, ring doorbells, retrieve objects, operate light switches,
pick up objects, summon help, alert hearing-impaired people to sounds,
pull wheelchairs, activate elevator buttons, carry, fetch, pull laundry
in and out of the washer and dryer, alert their owner to oncoming
seizures and drops in blood pressure, and other helpful tasks.
Service dogs are also trained to help people who suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) such as veterans and others who have experienced traumatic events like combat exposure, abuse, terrorist attack, assault, serious accident or natural disaster. There is a biological reason that the dogs make people feel better. There is a biochemical reaction when they are around the dog and endorphins are released. The dogs help their owners calm down, cope with crowd anxiety, personal space and mobility issues common to PTSD.
Becoming a service dog is
very difficult, because few have the right temperament. Dog training
begins at about age one, and lasts about a year. Only about 24% of the
dogs complete this training.
Therapy Animals. Therapy animals are not the same as "service animals." They are animals that are used to visit hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools, and other facilities.
What You Can Do
Therapy dogs. Help an
organization which uses animals as therapy. A therapy dog can be paired
with an able-bodied person who takes the dog into hospitals and nursing
homes to visit patients, to help them feel better, and to assist with
their physical therapy, such as helping with motor skills. Therapy dogs
perform their tasks by invitation.
Guide dogs for the blind. Help
raise a puppy which will be trained as a guide dog for people with
blindness or other physical and developmental disabilities. Less than
10% of people wanting and qualifying for a service dog are able to get
one, most waiting from 2 to 10 years to get a trained dog.
Help raise a service dog which
will be trained to help a disabled person. Service dogs allow a
disabled person to be more independent and to help prevent injury.
Those who benefit from service dogs are the sight and hearing impaired,
diabetics, and those with balance or seizure conditions.
(509) 838-0596 2704 N. Colville Rd Spokane, WA 99224 Contact: Debbie Wing Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://hopeaacr.org http://www.lyndees.com Contact
for information on training or acquiring a service dog to help mediate a
disability. They also provide Pet Partner Handler Workshops and Therapy
Dog Skills Training classes for those who wish to become Registered Pet
L.E.A.D. Training Program (Loyal Encouraging Assistance Dog Training Program) assists people with disabilities in training their own service dogs and offering ongoing support to them. They work with both therapy and service dogs trained to help the disabled and veterans with PTSD.
HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response is a program which trains dogs to
provide comfort to people affected by disasters. These special dogs
must be able to manage unpredictable, stressful situations.
Pawsitive Outreach Affiliate of the Pet Partner Program supports activities and therapies promoting human/animal contacts for healing, comfort, companionship and improvement to the client's overall well-being.