Spinal-Injury.net :  Assistance Dogs


Assistance Dogs

The term assistance or service dog is heard more and more frequently nowadays, but there are still a lot of people who haven't heard of them or know what they can do. An expanding role of assistance dogs in their disabled partners lives has emerged.  Partnerships normally fit into one of the following categories:

Blind and visually impaired partners rely on their guide dogs to safely negotiate the unseen environment.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing partners rely on their hearing dogs to alert them to unheard sounds in the environment.

People with disabilities other than blindness and deafness rely on their assistance or service dogs to mitigate the disabling condition in a variety of ways. Assistance or service dogs are trained to perform many physical tasks including but not limited to pulling a wheelchair, lending balance support, picking up dropped or requested objects or providing assistance in a medical crisis. They can also be trained to carry out a variety of other tasks too.

The common experience of those choosing partnership with assistance dogs is that they increase independence, confidence, safety and improve the quality of life of their disabled partners.

A common held belief that ought to be challenged is that these dogs are only for the most severely impaired or end stage of a degenerative disease like MS. Someone who is considered much more moderately disabled, struggling with the difficulties of living alone, maintaining a job or raising a family could find teamwork with a highly trained assistance or service dog to be of enormous benefit in achieving the goal of remaining as self sufficient as possible. A number of tasks listed below could empower such individuals to conserve energy, reduce or avoid pain, minimize dependency on loved ones, prevent injuries or get help in a crisis.

This section concentrates largely on assistance dogs and their potential help to someone with spinal cord injury.  My Assistance Dog is called Henry and we have been partnered since September 2003.  He features in the photographs shown here.

Assistance Dogs
Assistance Dog Tasks
My Assistance Dog
Dog Providers
Assistance Dog Videos
Henry's Dog Blog

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Spinal-Injury.net :  Assistance Dogs




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