The definition of a service dog is a dog that is professionally trained and certified to be able to help those with disabilities overcome certain challenges throughout the day. Service dogs can be very beneficial for those who are disabled and vital for their survival. Service dogs are allowed in public places, in buildings and apartments even the ones that are not pet-friendly; you basically get a legal exception if you have a service dog. Service dogs are specially trained to help those with certain disabilities with daily tasks, to guide them, alert others when they’re having a seizure, and can even remind you to take your medication. With that being said, there are things that you need to understand and be aware of when taking the initiative to get a service dog.
People Petting Them
Service dogs like to be petted and are as playful as any other dogs. Even though only the polite, obedient, and helpful dogs pass service dog tests, you don’t want them to get distracted while helping you. A service dog can be responsible for pushing you around in your wheelchair and believe it or not some people will not notice that and will pet them anyway. If you don’t want to end up taking twice as long to go from A to point B in the street or falling off a few stairs because your dog is distracted then you need to make sure you let people know that they can’t pet a service dog whenever they want. People are supposed to take permission first to make sure the dog is not actually in the middle of performing a task for its owner.
Look Out for Fake Service Dogs
As service dogs get more recognition by the public every day and because people who are in need of service dogs have privileges, like not paying for pet services in their apartments or airplanes, others tend to fake it to avoid the hassle of taking a dog into public places. Therefore, you have to make sure you don’t’ be caught out with service dog registrations and certification because they are not required and are not real. Non-profit organizations that test these dogs determine when they are ready to become service dogs. They don’t provide certifications or any documentation, they usually test the animals just to make sure they’re ready to help you out and that is it.
Service Dogs are Not Easy to Get
You don’t just pick your favorite dog breed, send it to get trained and then voila! Even though this is pretty much the process, it’s actually not that simple at all. Getting a service dog means going through documentation, paperwork, interviews, and sharing personal information. Also, specific dog breeds are not eligible to become service dogs, or some dogs are just a little aggressive, and that doesn’t qualify them to be service dogs. You will also have to wait until they’re trained, pass tests, and are all ready to help you out. It’s not a cheap process either, even though you might be able to get financial aid, taking care of a special dog is somewhat expensive so make sure you can afford it.
Going Out with a Service Dog Is Like Going Out with a Toddler
You will no longer be able to get yourself together and hit the road. Just like having a baby, a service dog means preparing yourself to go out, looking for all the accessories like the leash or treats. As well as remembering your own things like medications and snacks. If it’s a hot day and you will be out in the sun all day with your dog, you will need to make sure you have enough water and food for them as well. You don’t want your service dog to be too tired to perform their daily tasks, right?
There are now more programs that allow people to get a service dog and help them with their disability than ever before. Your service dog is not only going to help you emotionally and physically, but it’ll also give you an unconditional amount of love and comfort you whenever you’re down. It’s also tough to get lonely when there’s a dog around; they’re the most loyal pets and always act as a man’s best friend. Just make sure to look out for frauds and fake service dogs so you don’t end up falling in love with a dog that will not be able to provide you with any kind of assistance. Remember you can also get financial aids to help you find the most suitable companion to help you with your disability.
Maureen McCarthy founded Love and Kisses Pet Sitting in 2006. She is a member of Pet Sitters International and has Feline Certification through the University of Edinburgh. She operates one of the most successful pet sitter businesses in North Carolina. Read more about Maureen here.