National Service Dog Month is every September! Service dogs play an integral role in the lives of millions of Americans and are distinguished from regular pets by their specific duties toward their owners. September is just one month in the year that you can remember and appreciate service dogs for their hard, good work. Learn more about this national celebration below.
What Is a Service Dog?
A service dog is a canine trained to assist its handler who has a physical or mental condition that limits him or her from performing at least one major life task, such as walking, seeing, or performing general life skills. Service dogs might specialize in one kind of service, falling into categories like guide, medical alert, mobility, or psychiatric dog.
A service dog is different from a therapy, facility, or emotional support dog. A therapy dog is qualified to work in certain areas to give comfort, calm, and joy. A facility dog has training to perform specific jobs within a healthcare facility. Lastly, an emotional support dog is a personal service dog that helps people cope emotionally but isn’t trained to assist in daily life tasks.
The Value of Service Dogs
Service dogs do wonderful work across the country and the world. Millions of adults and a small percentage of children have a mental or physical disability in the United States, and millions more disabilities have developed over the course of the last few years (2020-2022.) The demand for service dogs is by no means small.
Many studies and life experience may show that having a pet in general helps people to be happier and calmer. Service dogs go through years of training to become valuable assistants to their handlers, helping millions of people live their best lives.
Service Dog Etiquette
- Approaching the handler first: The handler’s canine is focused on helping their owner however and whenever the need calls. It is proper to greet the handler first.
- Give attention only with permission: Do not give attention such as petting, making gestures, or making noises without permission from the owner. You should also avoid feeding and taking photos of the dog without permission.
- Give space: Keeping your personal space from the on-duty canine unless otherwise allowed is another part of service dog etiquette.
Practicing these tips will help you show your appreciation this National Service Dog Month!
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