Service dogs improve the quality of life for people with disabilities every day all over the world. They help people with I/DD and other disabilities to live independent lives within a community.
Service dogs are trained especially for one job: some dogs help to alert their owners to unsafe blood sugar levels or warn them of an impending seizure.
But there are so many different types of service dogs for people with disabilities. Let’s explore how our furry friends save lives!
Guide dogs have the critical job of safely guiding their owner, who is visually impaired. Two main things separate them from other service dogs: they wear a harness that makes it easier for their owner to hold onto and perform selective disobedience.
What does that mean? Selective disobedience means that even though they obey their owner, they won’t if they think it’s unsafe. These dogs assess situations to make sure it’s safe for their best friend! If the human wants to cross a street, but the dog sees cars coming, they won’t go until they stop.
People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing sometimes have hearing dogs. It’s their job to tell their owner about any sounds: fire alarms, doorbells, alarm clocks, phones, and even the person’s name. Thanks to these hardworking dogs, their owners have increased awareness of their surroundings.
Autism Support Dogs
Dogs are a fantastic icebreaker in any situation, but this is especially important for children and adults with autism. People with autism sometimes have trouble connecting with people and understanding social cues. Support dogs help to provide them with confidence and comfort.
If the person is non-verbal, autism support dogs carry contact information. For children with autism, they can alert the parents if the child is displaying harmful behavior or even stop the child themselves.
Psychiatric Service Dogs
Psychiatric service dogs help people who suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD feel more secure in their surroundings. These dogs give their owners more confidence when entering their home, become a physical barrier between other people, and sense when their owner is about to experience intense negative emotions, like a panic attack or flashback.
These wonder pups help their human before, during, and after a seizure had occurred. They find help or call 911 with a K-9 alert phone, bring medication to them, end the seizure by laying on them or even move them to a safe place if they need to.
Diabetic Alert Dogs
Like seizure dogs, diabetic alert dogs alert their owner that their blood sugar is reaching dangerous levels. If their human needs medical assistance, they can call 911 with K-9 alert phones or alert someone nearby. They also carry emergency information in their vests, so paramedics know all pertinent medical information about their favorite human.
These are only a few of the many different types of service dogs for people with disabilities; there are mobility assistance, emotional support, and allergy alert dogs, too. We humans are fortunate to have these intelligent and loving animals to look after us!