Happy International Assistance Dog Week! These canines devote their lives to the safety of their humans.
1. Seizure Assistance Dogs
These dogs are placed with people who have epilepsy or a seizure disorder. Their range of responsibility is wide, from alerting another person when their human is having a seizure to standing in between their human and the floor to “break the fall at the inception of the seizure.”
Cooper is a service dog that protected his owner when she had a seizure in public. He guarded her from everyone except the paramedic and while the pair waited for help, he “licked her contracted muscles” and her face.
2. Autism Assistance Dogs
In addition to performing physical tasks, Autism Assistance Dogs provide emotional support. These dogs offer great companionship to their humans, as well as being a “focal point to help ease sensory overload” which can be a challenge for those with Autism.
Einstein the service corgi is a best bud to his human and helps him through stressful situations that can be brought on by Autism.
3. Mobility Assistance Dogs
These dogs are trained to have a variety of skills that make people in wheelchairs more independent. They’re able to open doors, retrieve dropped items and even help pay at a cash register by putting their paws up on the counter and giving their human’s wallet to the cashier.
In addition to performing those tasks, there are certain mobility assistant dogs for people with mobility impairments. These dogs offer support and balance while walking. They wear a special harness which serves as a counterbalance for their humans.
4. Medical Service Dogs
Medical service dogs perform physical tasks in addition to assisting with mobility issues. These medical dogs are able to signal shifting insulin levels, the onset of a seizure as well as other medical tasks that benefit the safety of their humans.
Bandit is a diabetic alert dog who signals his human when her insulin levels are dropping. A special scent is released when a human’s insulin levels drop and these dogs are trained to pick up on it with their keen sense of smell.
5. Mental Health Service Dogs
Mental health service dogs work with humans who have mental disabilities. They offer support to people facing the challenges of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, panic attacks, anxiety attacks, Dissociative Identity Disorder among other mental disorders.
Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group / MCT
Dan McManus suffers from anxiety but his dog Shadow helps him “manage his symptoms” through companionship and support. For nine years Dan and Shadow have been hang gliding, using a custom harness for Shadow.
Jim Urquhart / Reuters
6. Hearing Dogs
By alerting their humans of sounds in the environment, hearing dogs increase self-awareness and independence for their hearing-impaired humans.
Domi the hearing dog is a Boston terrier from from Finland who is always looking out for his human.
7. Allergy Detection Dogs
Allergy Detection dogs are trained to alert their human when they pick up on a scent that could be harmful. By signaling that the allergy agent is in the area these dogs can save their human’s life.
Gia is a food allergy dog that keeps her boys safe from their life-threatening allergies to peanuts and almonds.
8. Guide Dogs
Guide dogs are trained to help humans who are blind or visually impaired. These dogs are trained to listen to commands from their human, but will only follow through with the command once it’s safe to do so.
Nyla is a guide dog who devotes her life to helping her human.
Service dogs dedicate their lives to keeping their humans safe, and they do it all with a wagging tail.
Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group / MCT