Sunday, September 8, 2013

Service Dog Month!

September is Service Dog Month.  It's time to think about those wonderful dogs who make life so much better for their owners. And what other dog gets to be with their owner 24/7? The bond between service dogs and their people is nothing less than heartwarming.  It irks me when animal rights people say that owning a dog is cruel and that no one should breed dogs. The sheer gall of those people, and their uninformed position is irritating.  Apparently, they have no conception of the human-animal bond, of the joy dogs and owners take in each other.  They change the language to cause all manner of problems. Dogs bred to be service dogs are among the finest companions and what they and their owners do for each other is nothing short of miraculous. Those who wash out of the program go on to become pets in loving homes.
Photo courtesy of Guide Dogs of The Desert
These pups will eventually enrich the lives of those  who have a medical
"disability" experience a life full of "abilities" in the future.

The dogs who graduate are paired up with owners who need an assist in any one of a number of ways. These dogs love being with their owners, helping them, which for the dog is like a game. And yet they also seem to understand how important they are.  One great bonus is that when people see a service dog they are much friendlier to the disabled person. 

"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...


Anonymous said...

Just one word ----Brava!!!!!!!!

rescuegal said...

Great blog with a wonderful subject, Darlene Arden. Thank you for giving people this window of opportunity to see how very special this particular human/animal bond really is. Hats off to all who make this service possible.

Gordon said...

What a wonderful article, Darlene. You have covered every aspect and, I find it so hard to believe that Animal Rights people can be so naive. As the saying goes, "we live and learn"......those people have yet to learn. Let us hope that it won't be too long before the strong bond between service dogs and those that they are helping, is recognised by such people.

Darlene said...

Thank you so much for your kind comments. Service Dogs are so important and I think they should be recognized all year long. Thank you all for caring so much!

Judy Pierce said...

The human-animal bond is something I wish all people could experience. And service dogs are amazing animals. I have a dear friend who used to raise dogs (for their first year) who were in training to aid the blind. It was such a wonderful experience for our friends and their children.

Darlene said...

Thank you so much for your comment, Judy. Service dogs are amazing and invaluable. And if it were up to the Animal Rights people, no one would have one, no one would have a pet, either. Thank you for sharing!