At this point, pretty much everyone knows why dogs are the best. They’re loving, they’re loyal, and they’re truly emotional companions that can provide joy to anybody’s life. They also sometimes star in hilarious viral videos. As if all of that wasn’t enough, dogs also possess the incredible ability to be trained to make significant differences in the lives of people all over the world by acting as service dogs.
Struggling with a disability, mental illness, or challenging circumstances can feel overwhelming and lonely. Service dogs provide emotional, and sometimes physical, support for those in need when they most need it. The registry for service dogs exists so that service dogs are accounted for, while also providing a hub of information to service dog owners, but did you know just how many different kinds of service dogs there are?
It is amazing what dogs are capable of, so, in tribute to that, we’ve compiled a list of just some of the roles service dogs can take up to support their owners.
One of the more commonly known types of service dogs, guide dogs have certainly earned their place on our shortlist, and part of that is due to just how much these pooches are capable of. They’re usually paired with those that have limited vision to ensure safe navigation through busy, urban areas.
More often than not guide dogs are either Golden Retrievers or Labradors, but Poodles have actually proven to make excellent guides. Their primary function in the outside world is ensuring that their owner steers clear of obstacles and knows when to stop before a road. A common misconception of guide dogs is that they’re constantly on duty. Once they’re home, they’re just like any other pup, and often very playful.
As tempting as it may be, however, do not interfere with a guide dog in public. They have an important job to do, and that doesn’t involve receiving head pats from every stranger they pass!
Next on our list is the lesser-known hearing dog. These service canines are integral to the lives of those with limited hearing, as they alert them to noises they otherwise would have no knowledge of. This can include doorbells, the ringing of a phone, or more life-threateningly: a fire alarm.
As is the case with many service dogs, hearing pups help to return a feeling of independence to those with impaired hearing. When your hearing is compromised, even waking up to an alarm clock becomes impossible. Hearing dogs change all of that by responding to the alarm clock for their owners.
Similarly to guide dogs, the trusty Labradors and Retrievers are great at fulfilling this role, but even little dogs like Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus have been found to possess the perfect temperament for rising to the occasion. Who knew!
Loss of sight and/or vision can be hugely debilitating, but mental illness can also cause a great deal of stress in an individual’s life. When struggling with severe conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or many others, completing even the most simple of daily tasks can feel exceptionally difficult.
Incredibly, man’s best friend has also been trained to help in these instances too. Psychiatric dogs can help soothe their owners enormously in a huge variety of ways depending on their needs. They can even notice the signs of panic or breakdown and begin the process of de-escalation before a full meltdown occurs. They can offer much-needed comfort at a moment’s notice, which can prevent debilitating reactions to excessive stimuli.
A service dog can benefit an individual’s life in a powerful way, whether they’re helping with practical tasks, or simply providing much-needed companionship.