Service dogs are vital to many people. They require special training. This training can be expensive. It also may be lengthy. But, these dogs have a job to do. The person with the service dog may not always look like they need assistance. But, not all illnesses appear on the outside. Service dogs, their trainers, and handlers have many rules to abide by, too.
During my 5 year stay at a local veterinary clinic, I met one service dog. Sure, I’ve heard of them. I knew they wore a vest, or something. But that’s where how familiar I was stopped. Which, to me, is pretty sad. Service dogs are a vital part of the medical community. They serve many purposes. The veterinarian field should be educated on this. Thankfully, thanks to an amazing trainer, I’m more familiar with them.
I met Elizabeth Brooks after I began working at a local grooming salon. She used the facility for her training classes. During my time at the shop, we grew a friendship. We are so different. But, at the same time, we’re a lot alike. She’s the mastermind behind Paw Pals Pet Dog Training. She dedicates her life to her business.
She began her training career in 1998. So, as you may expect, she’s seasoned. Elizabeth is also a graduate of Arizona Canine Academy. She’s a Certified Assistance Trainer and a Certified Dog Obedience Instructor. Paw Pals was also featured on Dateline NBC and The BBB Eye in Colorado Springs. This girl is well rounded! Her personality even shows that.
Elizabeth has the patience of a saint. I worked by her side for a while. She was in the process of training a New Foundland. Not to be a service dog. She was doing private in home sessions for basic training. I wasn’t introduced to a service dog until later. That’s when I met this huge, blue merle Great Dane. He was only 8 months old when I met him. Elizabeth couldn’t tell me what condition his handler suffered from. But, watching her train him was a life long lesson.
Service dogs are not pets. When you see one, they are working. It’s important not to distract them.
I think it’s important to educate others on the importance of service dogs. They are trained to help people. These dogs actually perform services for their handler. The services are based on what disability their handler has. Thankfully, there are laws that protect service dogs and their handlers.
Disabilities That May Benefit From A Service Dog
- Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)
- Panic Disorder
- Neurological Problems
- Physical Weakness
- Social Phobia
Service dogs are trained to do amazing tasks. Being working dogs, that’s what they do. They work for their handlers. They’re providing them with a service.
Things Service Dogs Are Trained To Do
- Deliver handler’s medications during an illness episode or flare up
- Bring a drink to their handler so they can take their medicine
- y Carrphone to their handler during an emergency
- Answer the door when someone rings the doorbell
- Dial 911
- Help when there is a speech impairment
- Ask for help from someone in the workplace
- Assistance with going up and down stairs
- Get handler to stand up
- Call 911 if smoke alarm is going off
- Carry a backpack with medical information and must have supplies
- Medication reminders
- Helps manage emotional overload
- Crowd control
- Wake up a sedated handler
- Turn lights on
- Assisting with safety in public
The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) website has a lot of information on service dogs.
Identifying Service Dogs
Orvis has put together a great article and infographic. It focuses on how you can identify if it’s a service dog or a pet.