|Service Dogs Save Lives!
|Service Dogs do many things to help people with
|Psychiatric Service Dogs
|Website Copyright B. Brake 2004
|How Do Service Dogs Help People
|Hearing or Signal dogs serve as the ears of a person who is deaf or hearing
impaired. They alert their partners to sounds such as their name, the microwave
or oven timers, smoke alarms, the telephone, the doorbell, and many other
everyday sounds that play important parts in our lives. Hearing dogs may use a
paw touch or nose bump to get their handler's attention, and then will take the
handler to the source of the sound, or in the case of a fire alarm, will take their
partner outside. Many Hearing Dogs wear bright, blaze orange collars, leashes,
and vests. These orange accessories signal that the dog is a Hearing Dog.
|Mobility Assistant Service Dogs help people with physical disabilties. They may
pull their partner's wheelchair, walk in harness and function as a mobile cane for
balance assistance, or perform any number of other tasks that the disabled
partner has difficulty doing. They are trained to retrieve dropped items, pull
clothing on and off of their partners, bring medication or a telephone in an
emergency, and many other amazing things. Some are even trained to help their
partner into and out of their wheelchair, and to help their partner rise from the
floor if he or she may fall. These weight-bearing tasks are of course dependant on
the Service Dog being large enough and strong enough to do them safely.
|Psychiatric Service Dogs are trained to help people with psychiatric disabilities.
These disabilities include anxiety/panic disorders, depression, agoraphobia, post
traumatic stress disorder, manic depression, and many other psychiatric
conditions. These Service Dogs can bring their partner's medications or a
telephone in a crisis, provide a grounding effect by sitting with their partners and
allowing petting to calm the partner, and provide a focus based in reality. These
dogs can break dissociation spells by nuzzling or touching the partner repeatedly,
and calm hypervigilance by providing a "reality check," eg, if the partner
hallucinates smells such as smoke, the dog can check to see if there really is
such an odor, or if the partner fears attack from a person when entering a house
or darkened room, the dog can check to see if there is anyone there. The dogs
also aid in getting people out of the house if they are afraid to leave or are in
deep depression, as the dog has regular toileting needs as well as exercise needs,
and often the person who is unable to do something for their own benefit will have
no problem doing it for the dog, eg a depressive who doesn't want to get out of
bed for anything will still get up and get dressed to take the dog out to potty, and
is then far more likely to continue to remain up and functioning.