September is National Service Dog Month! This is truly a wonderful cause, and one we are happy to support. Service dogs are truly amazing, and definitely deserve recognition. A Bourne, MA vet discusses service dogs in this article.
Most people think of Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds when they think of service dogs. That’s not wrong: these are the most popular breeds. However, service dogs really come in all shapes and sizes. The main thing is to match the dog’s physiology and character to the tasks needed. A smaller pooch won’t be very helpful pulling a wheelchair, but may be great for detecting seizures.
The official definition of a service dog, according to the Americans With Disabilities Act, is “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.” Dogs need to go through a lot of training and testing before getting their official doggy diploma.
There’s often some confusion about service dogs, emotional support dogs, and therapy dogs. One major distinction is that service dogs are allowed into almost any establishment, are protected by law, and are exempt from most ‘No pets’ rules and policies. They have also been trained to perform specific tasks for one person. Therapy dogs’ main job is to provide support and comfort. They may help many different people. You may see them in nursing homes, for instance, or hospitals. Emotional support dogs are, as the name suggests, pups that help their humans cope with anxiety, depression, grief, or trauma. One thing they all have in common? They’re all wonderful!
There are actually many different types of service dogs. Seizure service dogs will be able to detect the onset of a seizure, while Hearing service dogs may alert their humans to certain sounds, like a ringing phone. There are also Mobility assistance dogs, which help their owners physically.
There are many ways to help service dogs. One great option is to donate time or supplies to an organization that trains and places service dogs. We work with Heroes In Transition, a nonprofit. You can find their website here. There are many more. Even if you can’t donate, consider spreading the word. Even social media posts can help!
Please contact us, your Bourne, MA vet clinic, for your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!