What are Service Dogs?

When people think of medical service dogs, they usually think of guide dogs for the blind, or perhaps they think of the therapy dog (please note that a therapy dog is not the same as a service dog). While a guide dog is a service dog, there are many other amazing jobs that these incredible canines can be trained to do.
Our dogs are trained to do various jobs as medical service dogs such as:

  • Alerting for help
  • Alerting prior to a seizure
  • Diabetic alert
  • Open/close doors, drawers and refrigerators
  • Pick up dropped items
  • Assist with balance issues
  • Mitigate the challenges of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) including:
    • Shielding
    • Grounding from anxiety/panic attacks and flashbacks
    • Waking from nightmares
  • Assist those with autism and so much more

We feel it is important to educate the public on the laws concerning service dogs as they are not as accustomed to seeing working service dogs, other than guide dogs.

These very special dogs help to give people back their self-confidence and independence. We are so often told how vulnerable a disabled person feels in a crowd or maneuvering in a large public area such as an airport. With their loyal and highly trained service dog at their side, recipients often report the ease of  once-again facing public spaces.

By law, service dogs are allowed to go anywhere that the general public goes. That includes any privately owned businesses that serve the public such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxi’s, theaters, concerts, sports facilities, etc. The American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that businesses allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are allowed. If you enter a business and are told that you cannot bring your dog inside, you simply tell them this is your service dog. By law, a business is not allowed to ask you what your disability is, nor can they demand proof that your dog is “certified”. Each state may have additional laws that provide protection to service dogs and the people they serve. You may want to read further information on Florida laws.

In addition, a service dog is also legally permitted to travel on any public transit system with their owner (not in cargo) including buses, trains, boats, planes, etc. For complete information on traveling with your service dog, please review the special set of regulations dealing with airline travel.

It is truly incredible when you find out all of the things our medical service dog’s can do to help people live a more independent life.