7. Service Dogs for the Mobility Impaired
For people who have a limited range of motion (perhaps due to partial paralysis), a helping paw can help in carrying and retrieving items, or even helping to pull a wheelchair. The New Hampshire official website has a comprehensive list of service animals identified by their ability to assist mobility impaired individuals, which extends to providing support for people with stability and balance issues, as well.
6. Service Dogs
It is important to make the distinction between therapy, assistance, and service dogs. Service dogs, by definition, are specially trained to assist people with disabilities, including physical, emotional, and other health impairments. Because service dogs are professional assistants, they are not considered pets. Due to this, service dogs are allowed access to areas that otherwise prohibit pets.
5. Hearing Dogs
Professionally trained companion dogs for the disabled can be specially trained to help the hearing impaired as well. The National Education for Assistance Dog Services, or NEADS, trains and provides canine companions for people who are hearing challenged, including combat veterans and people with autism. By signaling people with gentle head-butts or other sensory stimuli, these service dogs provide vital assistance as well as companionship.
4. Diabetes Alert
Another incredible skill some dogs have is the ability to detect in advance when a diabetic person is going to suffer from a sudden drop in blood sugar. Unfortunately, like seizure alert dogs, diabetes alert dogs are not covered by medical insurance. But their ability to save lives, such as in the case of 8-year-old Johnny Pion and his dog, Hero, have gained media attention and recognition of their abilities.
Image Credit: Martha Soukup / via Flickr
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