Service Dogs For Disabled Individuals

Posted on: 11 April 2017


A disability is defined as a condition (physical, mental, or both) that limits a person's activities and functioning. Blindness is one example of a disability. Others are developmental disorders, physical impairments, chronic illness, autism, speech disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, and severe anxiety disorders. In the United States, disabled individuals can apply for government assistance in the form of money and an official label of disability. Official recognition of a disability can protect a person from discrimination in the workplace. Money can help those who cannot work. Some people with disabilities use service dogs to help them.  

What Service Dogs Do 

Dogs that are trained to help severely handicapped people are known as service dogs. There are many things a service animal can help a person with. A dog may help a blind person navigate and find their way around. Service dogs may pull wheelchairs for those who cannot walk and have less ability to control the chair with their arms. Certain dogs can tell when a person is about to have a seizure and can communicate the danger to the owner. Service dogs can also help people with balance problems stand and move, as well as being trained to fetch medications or a phone in an emergency.

Service Dog Documentation 

Perhaps you are a disabled individual and you are wondering how to make your dog a service dog. There are certain certifications that a service dog can get, but these things are not required. The requirements are that the person fits the legal definition of a disability and that their dog has to be trained specifically to help the person with their particular disability. Service dog documentation, therefore, hinges on finding a reputable and trustworthy dog trainer who can provide any necessary proof or paperwork that the dog was been trained to help you. Also, you should register your dog with the U.S. Dog Registry. When your dog is recognized as a service animal, it will be allowed to accompany you almost anywhere, including airplanes and apartments that have a no pet policy.     

Note on Therapy Dogs

Sometimes, people confuse service dogs with therapy dogs. While therapy dogs are considered modern working dogs, they are not the same as service dogs. Instead of helping one individual with a specific disability, therapy dogs help many people in facilities with more generalized issues like sadness, loneliness, or sometimes anxiety. These dogs may be brought to visit hospitals, nursing care facilities, psychiatric wards, or even support groups. There, therapy dogs let the suffering people pet them, talk to them, or play with them, while remaining calm and obedient. Both therapy dogs and service dogs serve important roles in society.