Not Always Easy as ABC: What to Know About Service Dogs in Schools

Enjoying SchoolWe’ve all seen firsthand or heard stories of the wonderful ways in which service dogs are trained to help people. From dogs trained to guide visually impaired individuals, to those who can detect and alert a person of an impending seizure or blood sugar drop, there is no question that service dogs impact the lives of their owners in profoundly positive ways.

These amazing animals help children as well as adults, but complications can arise when it comes to having service dogs in schools.

What is a Service Dog?

A “service animal”, as defined by the American Disabilities Act (ADA), is a dog that is trained to do work or perform tasks that benefit an individual with a disability. This includes sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, and other disabilities. The tasks a service dog performs must be directly related to the person’s disability. Service dogs are not considered “pets”. Continue…

Canine Heroes: How Service Dogs Change Lives

Two Service Therapy DogsMost dog lovers know at least a couple of stories about a daring rescue by a four-legged hero or a dog who brightened a ward at the local children’s hospital. Dogs are amazing animals who are able to discern our deepest fears and respond to danger and distress. But, for the men, women, and children living with emotional or physical illnesses or disabilities, service dogs can be, in fact, life changing.

What is a Service Dog?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), a dog is considered a “service dog” if he or she has been “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability”.

In order for a service dog to be matched with his or her human “handler”, he or she must go through rigorous training in a variety of areas that are dependent on the needs of the future human guardian. This could include assistance dogs trained specifically to respond to those with serious mental illness, to aid those Continue…