Posts tagged with: service animals

Another Type of Valentine Love

It started at a traffic light.

Naw….not “true love”. Nope, Prince Charming hasn’t found me yet, so I doubt he’d find his way to a cross walk 😀

I’m talking about the idea for this post. I watched a young, visually impaired young lady traverse the busy street with her guide dog. Sure, I’ve seen lots and lots of animals helping out those with difficulties (heck, even saw a GREAT DANE a few days later) but it reminded me not only of the love so many of us hold for animals, but the special bond…the love and devotion these guardians have with their helpers.dogs

So the seeing eye dog has been around a long time. Dogs trained to guide their peeps around daily life. All with commands and the help of a working harness. I know the rule is not to pet or talk to the dog like…um…a dog while they are on duty but man I just want to ruff their little faces and say “good job!”

Service animals have expanded SO much. There are now dogs trained to alert deaf people to sounds such as smoke alarms, doorbells etc. Therapy animals who help with detection of illness crisis i.e. imminent seizures or sugar drops. The role of animals has blossomed in the treatment and healing of thousands of veterans suffering from PTSD and children with autism. Autism results for some have provided increased focus, socialization and general increase in contentment.

Common dog breeds according to the Google are Golden Retrievers, Collie, Labrador, German Shepherd though most sites emphasized it was more temperament than breed that led to a helper dog. A main key is training from a young age.

cat autism

And it’s not only dogs, thankyouverymuch, but many cats have proved to be there for us when we need them. While there is some debate about the trainability of cats for specific efforts (Grayson! Did you just snicker at the word “training”? Hmmm?) there is no doubt that they are attuned to their guardians and their needs. Numerous instances are cited of behavior change when somebody is about to have a seizure etc. Their purring is known to lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol levels, anxiety.

The kittehs. They know. Last August I took a spill at work, slammed my head on concrete, gashed my forehead. I was allright…even drove myself home but I didn’t need to feel alone. Once I settled in my chair I immediately had Grayson on my CHEST staring over his shoulder at me and Cricket about an inch from my face. I’m still working on teaching them to call 911 if I ever need it (they keep licking the tuna off the numbers) but it was very soothing for me and mitigated the effects of the concussion I convinced the doctors I didn’t have 😀

So dogs and cats and also miniature horses who fall under the same ADA guidelines as service dogs (they pull wheelchairs) are geared to give us a hand. Oh! And monkeys! Capuchin monkeys are being trained to help quadriplegics. pony

So this Valentine’s Day love the one you’re with and love the one who is there for you–kibble and all.

What about you? Do you have a service animal that helps you out? Know somebody who does? How does your pet help you in life? (Anybody got a Husky helping them out in the snow?)

valentine kitty