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Interviews and Insights

  /  Interviews and Insights

Want to learn some quick facts about Service Dogs? Keep reading and level up your Service Dog knowledge!  1. Service Dogs are highly trained professionals. These hard-working dogs undergo hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of hours of training. Their training includes basic obedience and manners, intermediate and advanced skills, public access training, and job-specific task training. Each Service Dog's task training varies to match their human partner's unique needs 2. Service Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and breeds. No one can identify a Service Dog simply by looking at one. No breed requirements or other stipulations exist for a dog to qualify for Service Dog training. If a candidate has the proper temperament, loves to learn, and is physically healthy, then they're capable of training to be a Service Dog. Of course, a Service Dog's size should match their job. While smaller Service Dogs work just as hard and as well as their larger counterparts, it isn't appropriate (or safe!) for them to training as Mobility Dogs! 3. Therapy dogs, emotional support animals, and other types of working K9s are not Service Dogs. Only Service Dogs are Service Dogs. Only Service Dogs have public access rights while accompanied by the handler they're trained to assist. The handler must have a disability as defined under U.S. federal law. Emotional Support Dogs are not Service Dogs. Dogs who only help with anxiety or depression by offering support are not Service Dogs. Therapy Dogs are not Service Dogs. Search and Rescue, Police, or Military K9s are not Service Dogs. You can learn more about the differences between these various types of working dogs here. Fun Fact: The only other animal allowed to serve as an Assistance Animal in the United States is the miniature horse. Check out our guide on Miniature Horses as Service Animals for more info! 4. Service Dogs perform a diverse array of jobs. Service Dogs assist people with a wide range of disabilities. Common types of Service Dogs include visual assistance, hearing, allergen alert, brace and mobility support, neurological assistance, sensory processing, psychiatric, and many others. The jobs a Service Dog can perform are limited only by a trainer's capability and the laws of physics. 5. Each Service Dog team is unique. All disabilities are different. Furthermore, each person with a disability is an individual, and so is the dog! A Service Dog is trained to help their specific person with their specific needs. Some Service Dogs open doors

There are some very important things people with visible or invisible disabilities want you to know. This is a list of "don'ts". These 21 items should get you off on the right foot, or at least help you know more about which one's the wrong foot. Manners are important. How we conduct ourselves reflects what kind of person we choose to be. Kindness is critical. We all live on this planet together! Please be polite. We want to be treated like anyone else. Please don't draw attention to what makes us different — and understand that we may have invisible disabilities. Maybe instead focus on what makes us all similar. Don't rule me out. Please don't overlook me as a friend or date because I have a medical assistance device or dog with me. I may want to go have coffee with you if you ask nicely, or possibly even dinner. Who knows? I'm a person too! Nope, no secret club. Having a disability doesn't mean that we're in a secret club. There are no secrets, we just might not wish to share information about our medical situation or needs. Please don't ask us questions that you wouldn't want to answer yourself. Having a disability is not the best thing ever. While it's admirable of you to try to cheer us up, there are no "Pep Talks" needed. It's just how we are, and we have to live with it daily. It's a challenge, and it's hard sometimes. It's not something wished upon anyone else. It just is. This is not a contest. Please don't try to compare two people's disabilities, or life experiences. Everyone's struggle is different. It's apples and oranges, even if both people have the same disabilities exactly. Instead, understand that everyone is different and no one really knows everything about anyone else. Please don't talk about us behind our back. We're people with feelings, and we heard or saw that. Remember Mom's words, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Sometimes just don't say anything anyway. I am not a medical doctor. Please don't ask me if I think you need a Service Dog, or even how to get one. I am the only expert on me, just like you're the only expert on you. Googling programs for Service Dogs, and getting in contact with them is probably your best bet. Don't walk up

How disabled is disabled enough? It's a short question that can be plagued with a variety of different meanings and interpretations. However, the answer to the question is of extreme importance, because while being 'disabled' can provide benefits for some, not being 'disabled enough', can cause an immense struggle for others.

I was lost among the junipers in the starkly beautiful La Tierra Mountains just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. I sat in a deep stream bed that could drown me in seconds with one flash flood. Lucky for me, temperatures hovered around 60 degrees during a storm-free afternoon. Would I be found by the search dog, I nervously wondered?

Service Dogs enhance their human partner’s lives in so many ways. Sometimes, these special dogs even save their human’s life through complex and highly trained task work.

They guide, listen, balance, lead and love. They provide friendship and independence, freedom and peace of mind. They live to serve their handler to the fullest extent of their capability, be it through retrieving dropped items, offering physical support to an unsteady handler or alerting a Deaf or hard of hearing handler to important events.

Before partnering with a Service Dog, there are several important points to consider. While thousands of individuals with a disability benefit greatly from partnering with a Service Dog, it’s not the solution for everyone. If you or a loved one is considering full-time Service Dog partnership, please ask yourself the following 5 questions before making a final decision.

When you have a Service Dog by your side 24 hours a day, you have to accept that you will never be invisible again. Everywhere you go, all eyes will be on you chances are someone will have something to say about the furry partner at your side. Your days of anonymity are gone — and this can be very stressful for many individuals.