A registered service dog is your best friend and your eternal companion. Service dogs receive this classification for their ability to help their owners with a variety of physical and/or mental problems. And this classification is not limited to service dogs. Service animals can also be classified with the same abilities as service dogs. The Americans with Disabilities Act (aka ADA) requires dogs or service animals to provide services to people with disabilities.
Most people think that dogs primarily serve the blind or deaf, and while this is indeed a very valuable service, there are many other uses for these animals. For example, dogs or other animals can be trained to help people pull wheelchairs, and they can pick up and retrieve items for people with limited mobility.
Service dogs can smell changes in the body, which may indicate that the person needs medication or needs help from a doctor. For example, people with diabetes know that the disease mainly manifests itself in the person’s feet. So when the person’s dog starts paying too much attention to a person’s feet, that patient knows that the dog is trying to tell him that his diabetes is spiraling out of control.
The same is true when a person has anxiety problems. Dogs and even service animals can have a calming effect on people with this particular problem. The condition is usually treated with medications that can have the same calming effect on dogs.
People with never-out-of-home problems know that their dog needs to be taken out of the house and taken away. Doctors know that this patient would never have attempted this exercise without a service animal. Therefore, doctors agree that service dogs are beneficial for these patients.
Doctors know that this arrangement is almost like a marriage between a man and a woman. This is the marriage of a patient and a service animal. The love that this companionship generates is invaluable to the patient’s health.
According to the ADA, patients do not need to identify their dogs. However, some scam companies offering cheap ID documents have appeared on the scene. These documents have no weight as there are no requirements for issuing these ID cards. However, there are legitimate companies, such as Registered Service Dogs, that require patients to obtain a form signed not only by the patient’s physician stating that a service dog or service animal is needed for a specific medical need. Registering a service dog also requires the patient’s veterinarian to sign the same form stating that the animal is safe from the public.
Dogs In Therapy
Petting a dog is one of the most relaxing things you can do. It has been shown to improve mood and relieve stress. For these reasons, doctors, therapists, social workers and other health professionals have started taking their dogs to work. The comfort and relief therapy dogs that have brought hospitalized patients for years now help people in many different situations.
Animal assisted therapy is a growing field with real research to support the perceived benefits of including dogs in the treatment process. Many psychiatrists and therapists now regularly bring their dogs to work for the simple reason that dogs can comfort most people. Having a dog next to them on the couch can make all the difference when a patient is reluctant to talk and share, has difficult feelings to express, or is just plain anxious. Research shows that petting a dog for just a few minutes can lower the stress hormone cortisol and increase the mood-boosting neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.
It is well known that dogs have a much better sense of smell than humans. They can smell traces of explosives, well-hidden drugs and even cancer cells in tissue samples. Many therapists believe that dogs can sense a patient’s different mental states and respond with appropriate comfort. Some therapists claim that their dogs can feel the difference between people with depression and anxiety, and these dogs are known to treat each patient differently.
Help for all ages
Dogs seem to be especially helpful for the very young and the elderly. Both subpopulations can be particularly vulnerable and can benefit from animal assistance. Children who have experienced major trauma and rely on themselves often respond more to the dog than to the therapist. Dogs can be a way for children to trust their doctor and open up. Older patients, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, are often confused and uncomfortable in a new environment. For them, going to the doctor can be a stressful occasion. Seeing a dog right away can make them feel comfortable and safe right away.
not just for therapy
Doctors are also starting to notice the benefits of having a dog in the office. While they cannot follow patients into examination or operating rooms, dogs can provide comfort to patients in waiting rooms. They have been used in hospitals for years to make chronically and terminally ill patients feel more at home and to energize everyone’s day. It has been found that petting a dog for five minutes can be just as relaxing as a twenty-minute break for hospital staff.
What about the dog?
Dogs also benefit from the whole scene. Dogs are bred for people’s work and most people are happiest when they have something to do and a purpose. Of course, they are also very social animals, and most people would rather meet new and old friends at the office than be alone at home. A therapy dog spends most of the day receiving affection, hospitality and love for every minute of it. However, not all dogs are suitable for this work. While there are no official standards or training guidelines for therapy dogs, they generally require good training and have low energy levels. For therapeutic work, no particular breed is better than another. Personal characteristics are more important.
Using dogs in therapy is an exciting new area of research and medical schools are starting to offer animal care courses. More and more health professionals are recognizing the benefits of bringing their best friends to work so dogs can continue to help people in new ways.
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