Service Dogs: Important Partners
By: Michael Appleman, M.S.

Physical assistance dogs are often an over-looked, and sometimes, under-appreciated part of society. For those with physical or mental disabilities, the independence provided by having a service dog is
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unsurpassed. So many service dogs have been trained to perform with a lot of strength. They have been seen pulling their owner, pulling a wheelchair, bracing their owner when he/she is about to fall, barking and finding help, closing and opening doors. They can also be trained for dexterity acts, such as, getting a telephone, picking up small objects, opening up the refrigerator door and more. Some are trained as hearing and seeing companions. They have alerted their owner to sounds, individuals and dangerous items that they can see.

For many people who are living with a physical disability, prior to their disability they were used to a typical way of life, school, and activities before an illness or injury caused them to live with a disability. Much

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of their usual daily living that had been easy became difficult or impossible. Thankfully for many, with the love and help from a service dog their quality of life can also change positively.

With the help from a service dog your quality of life increases. A loving and well trained service will not leave your side and will always keep looking out for their companion. With a service dog, many individuals have stated that are able to take walks and maneuver in crowds.

Service dogs have been found to be able to detect an odor coming out of the human body. That has been found to help individuals who suffer from cancer, diabetes, head injuries, seizures and a sudden drop in blood pressure. The individual who was suffering and others around him/her are able to realize he/she needs medical attention, needs to call

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for help, take needed medication and even find a safe place to sit or lie down. This has helped to save lives and also help individuals to not fear going outside of their homes.

Service dogs should not be overlooked by those who do not rely on them. The public should respect and offer their assistance if a service dog calls out and asks for their assistance.

If you need help getting or training a service dog do not hesitate to contact BSTTW at 936-483-9014.

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