A service dog is trained to aid people with disablilities other than sight loss. There are a number of different services performed by these dogs, all of which help a disabled person function in today’s world.
Hearing dogs are trained to be the ears for a deaf person. The dog will alert its human by going to them first and then to the source of the sound. The sound can be the telephone ringing, the stove or microwave signal, a baby crying, the doorbell, to name a few. These dogs are taught to respond to important sounds that often save the life of their human. They are allowed to accompany their human in public and private places.
Some dogs, called Mobility Assistance Dogs, are taught to assist people who are wheelchair bound. These dogs are able to pull the wheelchair, open and close doors, pick up things their human dropped, carry items. Some can even help their humans dress or undress.
Dogs that help people walk act by counterbalancing their humans. They are also able to perform many of the jobs that Mobility Assist Dogs do.
Dogs can be taught to respond to a person who has seizures. They will either remain at the person’s side or go for help. A person suffering from seizures can program the phone and train the dog to hit the 911 button. At the sound of a voice, the dog begins barking, alerting the operator to send help. In the case of diabetics, trained dogs can tell their humans about changes in blood sugar.
There are dogs trained to help people with allergies. They can smell when there is an allergen close by and alert their humans.
Some dogs are trained to assist agoraphobics (people who are afraid to leave their homes). They will stay by their human’s side, never leaving, giving their humans confidence to walk outside.
Dogs have even been taught to sniff out cancer before it’s detectable by other more conventional means.
There are drug-sniffing dogs, bomb-sniffing dogs, dogs that work with the police and FBI apprehending criminals, searching out crime scenes. Many dogs have been cited for bravery, helping our armed forces.
Search and Rescue Dogs perform amazing feats. These dogs are taught to seek out injured or lost persons in hazardous conditions.
Never attempt to pet or distract a service dog from its job which could involve saving its owner’s life. Please respect the owner’s wishes. Some owners will be willing to socialize and answers questions while others prefer to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Please remember, when you see a service dog, it is at work.