Best Bully Sticks Salutes: Assistance Dogs
On the Fourth of July, Americans think back to the revolution in our great country and the independence it gave us. As Americans, we should appreciate the freedoms our country offers and that’s why the Fourth is so special. However, some Americans are still not totally free—disabled Americans. Yes, Americans with disabilities have all the same constitutional freedoms as the rest of us; yet, imagine having a disability that keeps you from being free in the day-to-day world. Being blind, deaf or even having mental ailments such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) limits many Americans. Today Best Bully Sticks salutes those dogs that return freedoms that most Americans take for granted every day—assistance dogs.
The American Disabilities Act of 1990 defines an assistance dog as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items."
Assistance dogs are usually used in three different ways: hearing dogs, guide dogs, and service dogs.
Hearing dogs assist deaf and hearing-impaired Americans with day-to-day tasks by alerting them of noises that need attention, such as an alarm clock, a baby crying or a doorbell. These dogs interact daily through physical contact and are usually marked by their orange collars or vests. Hearing dogs can be selectively bred dogs or mixed breeds taken from a rescue or shelter.
Blind and visually impaired Americans use Guide Dogs to help them navigate the world. Tasks like stopping at curbs, stairs and generally avoiding obstacles are some of the main functions of a guide dog. These dogs wear a harness with a U-shaped handle for communication between the dog and the handler. Guide dogs are most commonly selectively bred as Labrador and Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds.
Service Dogs are used to assist many different types of impairments or ailments. These can include mental disabilities such as PTSD or “alert” dogs, which are trained to sense a diabetic’s low blood sugar, or an epileptic’s oncoming seizure. Service dogs can even be trained to work with people in wheelchairs to open doors or retrieving an out of reach object. Service dogs are can be bred selectively or rescued from an animal shelter. A backpack or harness usually denotes a service dog. Read more