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How Service Animals are Changing LivesService Animals are able to provide services that can significantly improve the lives of people with disabilities. Dogs, monkeys and miniature horses are just a few examples of the types of animals that can be used. They can provide assistance for many types of disabilities. How can a service animal help you? If you are:
Blind. This is the most common type of service dog. They are trained to be the eyes for the person. They can assist in navigating around obstacles high and low and they can navigate to learned routes on command. The best dog breeds for this service are Labrador and Golden Retrievers and German Shepherd Dogs because of their intelligence and recognition potential.
People with Limited Mobility. A large portion of service animals provide these types of services. They can open and close doors, operate light switches, push wheelchairs, turn pages in a book, microwave food, open bottles, carry and pickup things off the floor, assist with standing and find assistance in emergency situations. As an added benefit, they can also be an important source of companionship especially for children.
Epilepsy. The animal can alert the owner of an oncoming attack sometimes hours ahead of time. They alert the owner by whining, pawing and/or barking. This allows them to get to a safe place, take medicine to block the attack or call for assistance. The dogs can be trained to stay with the person during the seizure or to call 911 for assistance.
Deaf. The animals are specially trained to be aware of surrounding sounds like smoke alarms, doorbells, tea kettles and crying babies. They normally alert the person by placing a paw on them and then back to where the sound is coming from. They can also be trained to take a special posture for more urgent sounds.
Diabetes. They assist people who are insulin dependent. They alert them of hypoglycemia (subtle drops in blood sugar levels). A subtle scent is given off by the body at this time that the dog is trained to detect. The dog alerts the person even if they are sleeping. This gives them the opportunity to prevent the attack by eating or drinking something with sugar.
Autism, Mental or Emotional Disorders. This use for a service animal is fairly new. They are used to keep their owner calm, confident, and focused. They can also assist in alerting them of important sounds that may otherwise be ignored such as a fire alarm or a knock at the door. They can also perform an action to help the handler calm down in cases of overstimulation or disorientation. This type of animal can also help persons with Posttraumatic Stress, obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorder.