Besides giving us their unconditional love and loyalty, dogs serve us in so many ways.
There are trained service and therapy dogs to aid the sight-impaired, hearing dogs, dogs to aid people who have psycological or emotional needs such as PTSD, dogs who are trained to alert people before seizures occur, dogs who can sniff out cancer, diabetes dogs and on and on. The list is endless.
These dogs are matched with people very carefully to make sure they are up tot the tasks required of them and both parties are a good fit in terms of temperament as well.
Some service dogs are sent to foster families as puppies. There they learn basic commands and socialization until they are old enough and ready to begin training for their particular job.
The cost to train service and therapy dogs can be quite high. The training facility, food. veterinary care, staff, all come with a price tag. Many of the training organizations understand that clients who qualify may not be able to bear the full cost. They often have fundraisers and look into grants being offered to help. Some places offer a payment plan or a reduced fee.
When an applicant is considered eligible and is accepted, at least one dog is matched to ethe person’s needs. Both dog and potential partner are trained by a professional. This can take up to a few weeks to ensure that both dog and client work well together.
An assessment of eligibility usually includes a home visit, then completion of an application form and an understanding of the responsibilities and realities of life with a service dog.
After all criteria are met and training is complete, both dog and human begin their journey in a new and better life.