In the Service of…
Many people have aspirations of training their dog to be a service, emotional support, or therapy animal. The ability to take a dog into public places is very appealing for a variety of reasons. Highly trained service animals are capable of a variety of behaviors from alerting their human to an impending seizure to calming someone in the midst of a panic attack.
A service dog’s performs it’s duties calmly and peacefully sometimes in the most chaotic of circumstances. This work requires a steady confident personality and many dogs are not appropriate. Organizations such as KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc. raise litters intentionally for this purpose and many of those dogs are not placed as service dogs because they lack the right strengths and capabilities.
Non-profit organizations like KSDS often provide their dogs free of charge to qualified individuals but can have extensive wait lists. Check out their interview on 41 Action News.
If you are in need of an assistance dog there are great local organizations, like KSDS or Angel Paws, who can help you determine your best course of action. Because not all disabilities are qualify for service animals, if you are considering training your own dog it’s a great idea to brush up on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Their Frequently Asked Questions Page outlines guidelines for the use of service animals.
Therapy dogs are great ways to give back to the community. A well socialized, steady dog that loves people is a great fit for bringing cheer to residents of nursing homes or patients in hospitals. Because the dog must possess a certain skill set and level of obedience it is a great idea to work with an established organization. Pet Partners and Pets for Life are two lovely local groups who can guide you on this journey of giving.
(IF you just want to teach the dog to pick up his toys- call me!)