What is a service dog?
A service dog is a special type of assistance dog that is specially trained to offer assistance to people who are visual, hearing, mental illnesses, or any other form of disability (Davis et al., 2007). Among the many characteristics that are looked into a service dog is its trainability and good health. Some of these service dogs are bred and trained by organizations that have wholly specialized in the training of the dogs while a large number of others are trained and bred by private individuals or those people with disabilities who would someday become their partners.
Service dogs are known for very many benefits especially to those people living with disabilities. Among the many benefits of a service dog is that it can be trained to perform a variety of tasks that can help in removing all the barriers present in a person’s functionality. From helping a person who is blind to detecting alarming sounds, a service dog is known to help such a person live a healthy and normal life despite the blindness. Some of these service dogs have even gone further to alert people of an impending danger though it is not yet known how they manage to do so. Such acts make the service dogs very important and thus indispensable in such people’s lives.
What is a service dog used for
Service dogs are also known to promote socialization among people. Several studies have shown that service dogs can not only act as companions to people but can also act as a means of creating a human to human friendship and bring about socialization among people (Fine, 2010). It has been discovered that people who have service dogs are more likely to meet new people as compared to those without. Service dogs are also important as they help in household activities such as getting certain things for the owner, answering doorbells. This helps those people that may be crippled to perform such chores in the houses that they would not have performed if such dogs never existed.
Another benefit of service dogs to the disabled is that they have the ability to initiate a communication (Fine, 2010). This is because dogs are known to have a wonderful way of connecting with humans and putting them at ease. The service dogs have the ability to sense human vocalization and gestures and with this, service dogs have been able to communicate with those people who are dumb due to their ability to listen but not respond.
Service animal laws
With such advantage to the people with disabilities, service dogs need to be treated just like human beings and be allowed to access wherever the disabled person is. May it be in the offices, banking halls, hotels or even public rallies because they are the personal assistants to such persons. With this, there have been legislations that have also been passed especially in the US to grant the service dogs the right to accompany their owners at the places they are. Also, the government has also proposed that social amenities be built in a way that they accommodate such animals.
Service dogs need to be allowed into public places like cinema halls as they give guidance to the owners as they enjoy in the cinema halls. For instance, if the owner was deaf, the service dog would notify its owner when the alarm to vacate the hall is run a service that would not have been offered to the person if the service dog was not there (Enger, 2003). Also, those people who have more than one disability have to be allowed to access public places with the dogs as they would assist them in leading them the way if visually impaired and also if he cannot walk well them he or she may need other service dogs that are trained to assist him or her with the stability when walking.
Despite having a number of disadvantages, service dogs remain very beneficial to any society as the services they offer to the disabled are so unique that other human beings cannot offer. The few disadvantages are avoidable and whenever the owner makes the decision of keeping the service dog it remains important to him or her especially if he or she is disabled.
Davis, M., & Bunnell, M. (2007). Working like dogs: The service dog guidebook. Crawford, CO: Alpine Publications.
Enger, K. (2003). Effects of a service dog on the families of individuals with spinal cord injuries.
Fine, H A, & Fine, A H. (2010). Handbook on animal-assisted therapy. Theoretical foundations and guidelines for practice. Elsevier.
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