Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, And Emotional Support Animals– Do you know the difference?
All across the world, people with disabilities and diseases rely on dogs for support. There are separate classifications that are used to define service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support animals, and they are all quite different. Many dogs require extensive training while others are already pets that exhibit certain qualities that are helpful to their humans.
Dogs are amazing animals. They can offer a service and companionship. They have the ability to make their human feel loved and safe.
Do you know the differences between service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support animals? Many don’t. Read on to learn more about what distinguishes one from another.
Meet Huey! He is a service dog for his human, John, who is legally blind and deaf in one ear. John needs help navigating around his home as well as in public areas. Many things can pose a threat but with Huey at John’s side, he can alert John and steer him away from danger. Huey spent an entire year in training and still goes to refresher courses every month.
Huey should NOT be pet by others. He’s in constant work mode and any distraction can harm his human.
The law doesn’t require service animals to wear a special vest, however, most do. When a service animal is without a vest, it is okay to ask if he or she is a service animal and what task he or she performs. But that is it. The laws are very clear and are there to protect the disabled individual and their privacy.
According to the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act):
“Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.”
Service dogs are allowed in public buildings and establishments. Laws prohibit businesses from asking a service dog to remain outside. Much to many people’s surprise, service dogs are also welcome in restaurants and grocery stores.
Few have an issue with service dogs being in public restaurants and eateries, but it happens. Like with this individual:
“Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital, it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.”
Service Dogs In Training
Meet Daisy! She is a service dog in training that is learning to be a seizure alert dog. She will become an official service dog once her training is complete and she’s able to perform all of her tasks successfully.
She will then go on to become a service dog for a child or adult that suffers from epilepsy. Many seizure alert dogs can “smell” chemical changes in their humans’ bodies and alert them 10-20 minutes prior to an impending seizure. That human can then get to a safe place and take the required medication.
Similarly to service dogs, service dogs in training are LEARNING to perform lifesaving tasks to aid their human. They often work with organizations who have special trainers. They will also work with the individual they will be assigned to as their training progresses, to establish a bond.
Service dogs in training are not protected as much by the laws outlined by the ADA, however, most state and local laws will cover these dogs as well. A successfully trained service dog has to start out as a trainee and if that dog isn’t exposed to public areas, he or she will never understand how to properly navigate them.
Meet Frida, she is a therapy dog that visits the local hospital 3 times a week. She will go into patients’ rooms and sit with them. Many patients find that petting Frida and feeling her calming energy actually promotes healing.
Therapy dogs, and therapy animals, are also specifically trained to perform a special task. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs are taught to be generally social so they are suited to go into hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and schools where they provide psychological and physiological healing.
Therapy animals are calming in nature and help people who are in physical pain as well as those who are emotionally and mentally overwhelmed. Many are suffering from life-threatening illnesses and therapy dogs (and animals) are a wonderful distraction from their daily challenges.
Here’s a wonderful video about a little boy and his favorite four-legged visitor:
Emotional Support Dogs
Meet Gabbie. She’s an emotional support dog. Her human, Mona, suffers from depression and anxiety. Gabbie is always there to make Mona feel loved and supported. Gabbie lends a paw whenever Mona needs a friend. She calms Mona down when she has anxiety attacks by lying on her lap and letting Mona stroke her fur for as long as she wants. Gabbie also gives the best kisses.
Emotional support and therapy animals are not protected under the ADA the same way service animals are. However, most state and local governments have their own laws and exceptions. Since this is a large grey area– a dog that can help his human during a severe panic attack in public by shortening the severity of the event or stopping it altogether through emotional support versus a dog who can alert his human to an impending panic attack and bring his human medicine– many argue (and agree) that both services are equally essential and should be covered by a broader law.
Here, in the video below, Alyssa talks about Jasper, her emotional support dog. Jasper has given her back her life. Before him, she was hardly able to function or get out of bed due to depression and severe anxiety attacks. Now she’s enrolled in college fulltime!
ALL dogs– whether they are a pet, a service dog, a therapy dog or an emotional support animal– are amazing. They rarely, if ever, think of themselves first. Do you have a support animal? Tell us all about him/her in the comment section ❤️🐶
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10 Of The “Most Loyal” Dog Breeds On The Planet:
Giving love and support to humans is something that some dogs do better than others. While many dogs love everyone they meet and are willing to take treats or belly rubs from anyone, the pups we found are just the opposite.
These 10 dogs are some of the most loyal breeds on the planet. They are rock steady in their loyalty to their owner no matter what.
When the American Kennel Club (AKC) lists loyalty to describe the temperament of the Akita, you know they mean business. The beautiful double-coated working dog of Japanese ancestry is considered hardwired in protecting those she loves. They should be socialized with other dogs and people from the time they are puppies. Their silly, fun, but dignified personalities round out the loyal Akita.
This working dog is smart, full of energy, and oh so loyal to their family. They get along great with kids and have an innate instinct to protect their pack. He’s a watchdog with a heart of gold who oozes dedication to his owner.
Known as the “small dog with the big ears,” this adorable breed hails from the Scottish Isle of Skye, hence the name. Whether you live in the city or the country, this small dog with a big personality is steadfast in snuggling, playtime, and remaining loyal to his owners.
This merry hound is friendly, curious and incredibly loyal. While he doesn’t mind the occasional couch potato time, this spunky pooch is energetic and merry. A fun fact about this hound: the breed standard is for 13 inches and under and another in the 13-15 inch category. No matter how you size him, these adorable dogs just want to cling to you.
This wrinkly non-sporting breed is standoffish to strangers but very loyal to his owner. His ancient Chinese roots are part of the charm of the Shar-Pei. Regal, strong, and smart, if you want a BFF for life, this loose-skinned pooch may be the right choice for you.
Originally bred as lapdogs for Chinese emperors, the wrinkly-faced Pug has a laid back and loyal nature. Historically, many famous folks have owned a Pug: Napoleon’s wife, Josephine; Italian designer, Valentino; and Jessica Alba, and Paris Hilton. As if they aren’t adorable enough, a group of Pugs is called a “grumble!”
Sassy and loyal, this pint-sized pooch with the big personality is one of the oldest breeds in the Americas. Their big dog attitude attracts many people but they do require a loving, consistent owner. In return, they are loyal to their tiny core. Preferring to sit in your lap and remain tried and true, don’t forget to walk them, too!
His magnificent stature coupled with his fearless and loyal personality places this working dog on our list. He is smart, noble, and often used as protection. Historically, German taxman and dog breeder, Louis Dobermann, took his dog along on his tax collection rounds. You can imagine how eager folks were to pay up right away.
Majestic, strong, smart, and loyal sum up the personality of this magnificent working dog. His coat is thick and his devotion to you is immense. The AKC dubs them “vigilant guardians of home and family.” They are calm yet ready to spring into action if their pack is faced with a threat. Sadly, the breed is more susceptible to bloat than other breeds, so a savvy, loyal owner is required.
Perhaps best known for rescuing stranded travelers in the Swiss Alps, this diehard working breed is also wonderful with kids. He is sweet, sometimes shy, but can be stubborn despite his devotion to you. This known drooler requires an owner who is dedicated to socializing him so that his strong personality is properly channeled. He’ll pay you back with love and loyalty over and over.
Story: Man’s About To Return Shelter Dog When He Reads Previous Owner’s Note
A man had finally settled into his new town, but something still felt missing from his life. He thought getting a companion in the form of a shelter dog might help. So he did just that. He went to the shelter where a black Lab named Reggie needed a home. But they didn’t hit it off right away.
The man gave it two weeks (the amount of time the shelter said it may take for the dog to adjust to his new home), but it just wasn’t working out. Maybe it was the fact he was also trying to adjust to a new situation. Maybe they were too much alike. But then the man started going through Reggie’s stuff, and that’s when he was reminded of a letter the previous owner had left with the dog. That’s what would end up changing their lives dramatically.
What an amazingly beautiful story. It’s all going to work out for Tank and his new owner. 🙂
You’ve read this far… you need to watch this short BEAUTIFUL video clip.. It will touch your HEART! Enjoy!
Does this sound familiar? Your dog suddenly starts making loud snorting sounds—over and over again, in quick succession. Do you start wondering, did they swallow something they shouldn’t have? Can they breathe?! Chances are, you’re experiencing the infamous “reverse sneeze.” Veterinarians often see dogs whose owners rushed them in for an emergency appointment after finding them standing with their elbows apart, head pulled back, and eyes bulging as they snort or gasp repeatedly. Yet for the vast majority of these dogs, a vet visit was unnecessary.
Reverse sneezing looks and sounds scary the first time you encounter it. However, it’s a fairly common and harmless respiratory event for dogs.
Read on to learn how to identify reverse sneezing, what causes it, and how to tell the difference between a harmless reverse sneeze and something else.
What is reverse sneezing?
A reverse sneeze is pretty much what it sounds like: a sneeze that happens in reverse! The above video is a good example of what it looks and sounds like.
In a regular sneeze, air is rapidly pushed out through the nose. In a reverse sneeze, air is rapidly, and noisily, pulled in through the nose. It occurs in spasms lasting anywhere from a few seconds up to a minute and sounds like snorting, snuffling, and even gagging. See the above video for an example.
Because of the sounds their dogs make while reverse sneezing, many people mistakenly think their dog is choking. However, a reverse sneeze is almost as normal and harmless as a regular sneeze.
There’s no single cause for a reverse sneeze. Like regular sneezing, it’s often triggered by an irritation or inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses. It often occurs when dogs wake up from a nap, or after eating, when their breathing pattern may have rapidly changed. It’s also caused by irritants in the airway—anything from dust to an inhaled hair!
Some dogs experience more frequent reverse sneezing in springtime when the air is full of pollen and other allergens. Others reverse sneeze more in the winter, when sudden temperature changes between outdoors and indoors cause the nasal passages to contract.
Another common cause of reverse sneezing is pressure on the throat and neck. A too-tight collar, or straining against the leash, can irritate the throat and lead to a reverse sneeze. That’s just one more reason to consider a harness for your dog.
Finally, some dogs reverse sneeze after exercise, or when they’re overexcited. This is particularly common among brachycephalic, or short-nosed, breeds like pugs and bulldogs. When they get worked up, they may inhale their elongated soft palates into the throat, triggering an episode of reverse sneezing.
Reverse sneezing is super-common, and it won’t hurt your dog. However, some dogs become anxious during a reverse sneezing episode, and a lengthy episode may be uncomfortable.
You can help your dog recover from a reverse sneezing episode by remaining calm yourself. If you get anxious, your dog’s anxiety will increase, too. So, stay calm, and show your dog there’s nothing to panic about.
If your dog is experiencing a particularly long episode of reverse sneezing, you may be able to ease or end the episode by:
Gently massaging your dog’s throat
Briefly covering their nostrils, which will cause them to swallow and potentially stop sneezing
Depressing their tongue with your hand to help open airways
Some vets suggest gently blowing in your dog’s face
In the vast majority of cases, there’s no need to intervene. Reverse sneezing doesn’t last long, and your dog will be perfectly normal after it stops.
When you should go to the vet:
As mentioned, reverse sneezing rarely requires veterinary treatment. As soon as the sneezing episode stops, the situation is resolved. However, if episodes increase in frequency or duration, you should call the vet just in case. You should also seek treatment if your dog’s reverse sneezing is accompanied by other respiratory symptoms or if they have any unusual discharge from their nose.Occasionally, chronic reverse sneezing can be a symptom of more serious issues. These include nasal mites, foreign objects in the airway, respiratory infections, and tracheal collapse. If you’re concerned about the intensity of your dog’s reverse sneezing, take a video to show the vet. They’ll be able to determine potential causes.Most dogs experience episodes of reverse sneezing at some point in their lives. For the vast majority of dogs, it’s a common, temporary, harmless reaction with no lasting aftereffects. Of course, it still sounds unsettling to our human ears! But now that you know what reverse sneezing is, you’ll be less likely to make an unnecessary vet visit.