|Photo courtesy of Guide Dogs of The Desert|
These pups will eventually enrich the lives of those who have a medical
"disability" today....to experience a life full of "abilities" in the future.
"There are no current statistic on just how many service dogs are enriching the lives of those who live with disabilities on a daily basis," says Deborah Sands, DJS Consultant Services specializing in service animal public access/education training. "These dogs are more than 'pets.' They perform 'tasks or work' to be the eyes that guide, the ability to notify a sound, an impending seizure, a diabetic emergency, a severe blood pressure drop or an oncoming anxiety attack. They are trained to open doors, stabilize balance, pick up objects and help someone confined to a wheelchair...and so much more!!! Just ask anyone, be it a civilian or a military veteran who has been gifted with these remarkable and loving canine partners. These specially trained dogs are everyday canine heroes who provide a lifeline to their handlers."
The dogs vary in size. Even the smallest dog can alert to an epileptic seizure, for example. The dogs are matched to the task. And not all are purebred. It depends, again, upon the task. Shelter rescues, for example, often become the "ears" for someone who cannot hear.
|Photo by Debbie Sands, Courtesy of Guide Dogs of America.|
Service dogs..those 4 footed love machines...upon graduation with their handlers, will become a seamless "team" forged in a bond whose loyalty to each other will be stronger than steel.
It's easy to see the bond of love as service dog and handler work together. And when the vest comes off at home, the dog becomes a pet just like any other beloved 4-legged family member when off-duty, with plenty of time for play.
I'm glad we have a special month in which to honor these wonderful dogs and bring attention to them. I hope you'll remember them all year long...