When we hear the word service, we think of being helpful or providing aid to someone who needs it. When we think of service to others, we usually think in terms of what we can give and how we can make a positive impact on someone’s lives. Our goals may be multi-layered, but, usually, we want to make a difficult situation better.
There are all different kinds of service. Some of us are more and some of us are less altruistic in providing it, but certainly no being is more altruistic in the service they provide than a service dog.
Man’s Best Friend
If you know, you know. Where would we be without dogs? How would we possibly know the depth and breadth of love that accepts us, foibles and all? When we see them in action, especially service dogs doing their work, we can begin to understand what the meaning of real, selfless service to others is.
National Service Dog Month
September is National Service Dog Month. While the popular focus in September is team pumpkin spice or team apple, there’s so much more to celebrate this month. Service dogs are a special breed of being that deserves celebration! They have a long and interesting history. For example, therapy dogs were prominent during the Civil War. One of them, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Sallie, was memorialized by a statue in Gettysburg, PA for her heroism. In 1916, the first training school for guide dogs for the blind was opened in Germany. Several decades later, in 1975, a group in the US called Canine Companions for Independence began training dogs for other kinds of support to benefit humankind.
What Service Dogs Do
Some of these dogs’ work involves supporting people with medical issues including:
- Detection of an oncoming seizure
- Detection of an episode of low blood sugar
- Assistance for those in wheelchairs
- Helping to prevent falls
- Assisting those who are at risk of falling regain balance
Service dogs’ capabilities are seemingly limitless. They help humans:
- With laundry
- Open and close the refrigerator
- Turn lights off and on
- Retrieve medication or a blood glucose kit
- Carry items
- Pay for items in a store
- Alert their person to a deadly allergen
- Help their person dress and undress
- Lay across their person during a physical or mental health crisis
- Alert their person to objects in their path
- Help their person find the elevator and push the button
- Alert their person to alarms, emergency sirens, or other audio stimuli
- Look for help for their person should there be an emergency
In addition to the innumerable ways a working service dog supports their person, they provide them with the mental, emotional, and social support that, perhaps, no one else can.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, service dogs are permitted to go everywhere with their handler (person) because of their training. Other types of dogs, including dogs trained to work in a specific facility, therapy dogs, or emotional support dogs (animals) don’t have the same level of training, so they’re not permitted everywhere.
Homey Gnome Veterinary Clinic
Homey Gnome Veterinary Clinic serving Oakdale, MN and the surrounding areas, salutes service dogs for the heroic work they do, and we can help you keep your service dog healthy and well. We want them around for a long time, too.