Heroes Hidden in Plain Site
December 15, 2015
Physical assistance dogs are often an over-looked, and sometimes, under-appreciated part of society. For those with physical or mental handicaps, the freedom provided by these dogs is unmatched. In many cases dogs can be trained to act with strength; to pull a wheelchair, close or open doors, or even act as a brace if their human companion falls. They can also be trained for dexterity acts, such as, picking up small objects. Some are trained as a hearing companions, alerting their owner to certain sounds.
For many people with physical handicaps, they were used to a “normal” life of work, school, and activities before an illness took hold or an accident occurred. Life after that diagnoses or fateful day would never be the same. Things that had been easy may become impossible. Luckily for many, their quality of life can also change in an instant with a trained companion at their side.
Quality of life increases exponentially with the companionship of trained physical assistance dogs. Many owners report a feeling of closeness, and peace, with the knowledge that they are never alone. Some have reported they were home-bound, unable to enjoy walks in the sun, or summer events such as craft shows. With their assistance dogs, however, now they are able to take long walks and maneuver in crowds, with the ability to enjoy seasonal and outdoor activities that they were never able to enjoy prior to their companion.
Those with extreme disabilities that cannot be predicted by human insight have had great success with trained dogs. Some owners report their dogs are able to detect a sudden drop in blood pressure, minutes before it occurs, allowing them to get to a safe place and lie down. This in an incredible feat and changes how and where their owners are able to leave their home. This has also been said of seizure detecting dogs. For those with seizures, not knowing when one is going to occur, leaves them bound to the house. With their physical assistance dogs however, they experience the freedom to leave the house, with the knowledge that their dog will alert them to a seizure and they can prevent it or get to safety.
Physical assistance dogs, may be overlooked by those who do not rely on them every day, but for those who do, life would not be as sweet without them.