Service Dog Awareness Month: When Man’s Best Friend Can Help

By AASLAugust 28, 2019

It’s National Service Dog Month! These furry companions are a gift to us and to all. They are literally lifesavers! What better way to celebrate them than to discuss the amazing ways they can help those with disabilities?

What is a Service Dog?

Service dogs are dogs that have undergone an in-depth level of training to learn and perform a specific job reliably in all settings and environments. A service dog is not the same as an emotional support dog. While service dogs can help from an emotional standpoint, their main purpose is to provide independence and security for a disabled individual, by performing specific assigned tasks. Both types of dogs, though, provide their handlers a side benefit of complete cuteness and companionship…that’s an added plus!

So, what types of disabilities would call for a service dog?

There are many disabilities that would cause a person to benefit from a service dog, but the need should be evaluated based on the needs of an individual versus the disability itself. One person with autism, for example, may benefit from a service dog, while another person with autism may not. Continue reading to learn more about the various roles that service dogs can perform.

 Physical Limitations

Service dogs are able to support individuals who may have physical limitations. A person who is in a wheelchair may benefit from a service dog if the wheelchair needs pulling, or if the person needs help transferring from the chair to the car, bed or shower, for example. Dogs can also press handicapped accessible buttons, open doors, load and unload laundry, and pick up objects from the floor, for someone who is unable to.

So, what about those who don’t use wheelchairs? Well, someone who isn’t in a wheel chair can have many of the same limitations in mobility. For instance, he may not be able to bend down to pick things up off the floor, open doors, get into and out of the shower, etc. Good old Fido can help!

In addition to that, those with unsteady gaits could benefit from a furry companion. K-9 companions can stand near them to provide support and even wear a handle on their backs that the owner can hold on to. If the owner happens to fall, a dog can break the fall to prevent bodily injury, and also bark for help and push an emergency alert button if the owner has one.


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