Since World War I, assistance dogs or “service dogs” have been helping individuals with disabilities. However today with nearly 30,000 disabled people using assistance dogs to mitigate a growing list of challenges, health and mental conditions, it is evident that the need it growing at a staggering rate.
Not many decades ago, Seeing Eye Dogs or Guide Dogs were the most prevalent assistance dogs encountered in our country. Now with service dog task training expanding to serve the needs of so many other types of challenges, dogs are being utilized for that and so much more.
In very recent years Autism Service Dogs, particularly for children, are growing in popularity as the rate of Autism is escalating to an alarming rate of about 1 in 88 individuals. This does not even touch on the countless other disabilities being served by assistance dogs now: diabetic alert dogs, gluten sniffing dogs, seizure alert dogs, and dogs who assist with hearing loss, spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, PTSD, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, hypoglycemia, spina bifida, arthritis, cardiopulmonary disease, and bipolar disorder. The list goes on and on.
Dog has been man’s best friend since the beginning of time but it is miraculous what a well trained service dog can do to improve the life of someone with a disability. There is no end to what they can do to improve the quality of one’s life when an individual faces challenges in mobility, safety, security, sight, hearing, and other limitations.
Service dogs, or assistance dogs help people with various disabilities. It’s the dog’s job, their pleasure, their dedication, and quite simply, it is their life.