Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sister's Keeper - Service Animals

Campbell was always so funny about explaining why he had Judge, his dog. It was quite a shock to discover the Judge's real purpose.

Service Animals are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and are certified for use for a variety of purposes. Service Animals are sometimes more narrowly called Assistance Dogs, and are not to be confused with Therapy Dogs, or Therapy Animals.

We're most familiar with Guide Dogs for the Visually Impaired. (As an aside, Follow My Leader by James Garfield is probably the book I've been asked to remember the most times. The question usually goes something like this: "There was a book about a kid who was blinded by a firecracker, and he gets trained to get a guide dog. Do you know the title of that book?" I sure do! It was one of my favorites when I was young!)

There are also Hearing Dogs, who help deaf people.

Then there are Service Dogs for the physically challenged. These dogs are helpful for:

  • Opening doors, cupboards, refrigerators, dryers, etc.
  • Retrieving cordless phones
  • Activating adaptive switches
  • Aiding in dressing Carrying items
  • Picking up dropped items
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Assisting clients up from a fall
  • Help in climbing stairs
  • Providing balance for walking

Interestingly, they are also training monkeys for many of these same tasks!

Then there are the other Service Animals that serve for things like Seizure Alert animals.

Judge sure is a great character in this book!

Service Animal FAQs from the ADA

Rules for Service Animals in businesses

Service Animals and the TSA

Service Animals and the Red Cross (did you know that service animals are the ONLY animals allowed in a Red Cross shelter, during a disaster?)

Service Animals and Airlines:
Southwest Airlines
American Airlines
United Airlines
(please check directly with your airline!)

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