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  • SPCA of Western Michigan


Service Animals

  • Service animals perform various tasks and functions for the disabled and help them lead an easier life. They are trained for specific tasks which they become experts at eventually and are able to provide enhanced quality of care and serve as outstanding companion animals for their owners. They are either trained by private organizations, or by a disabled owner. A disabled person may take the help of a dog trainer to train his dog, or train the dog himself.


Example of Service Dogs

  • Psychiatric Service Dogs: A psychiatric service dog is a service dog; that is specifically trained to assist people with psychiatric disability. The dogs are trained to handle various types of psychiatric disabilities, ranging from Schizophrenia to post-traumatic stress. Each of these service dog undergoes training to perform tasks which are specifically meant to help his handler in emergency situations. Mostly, the dog is expected to provide environmental assessment in case of situations such as hallucinations and paranoia. A psychiatric service dog is also trained to alert the handler in case of danger.
  • Mobility Dog: Mobility dogs are a type of service dog individually trained to assist persons with physical impairments that effect movements and getting around. These dogs aid wheelchair users by helping to retrieve dropped items, turning light switches on/off, opening/closing doors, transferring to and from the wheelchair and a countless of other tasks. They are made to wear specially designed harnesses to pull them. A subtype of mobility assistance dog is a walker dog, which is trained to accompany people recovering from injuries. They are very often trained to help Parkinson’s patients. These dogs help an individual to maintain balance while walking. If the handler falls, the dog acts as a brace for him, to regain position.


  • Hearing Alert Dog: Hearing dogs are a type of service dog individually trained to alert their deaf or hard of hearing handler to a variety of environmental sounds such as: the doorbell, door knock, timers, smoke alarms, horns, emergency vehicles, a person calling to the handler, etc. Some people choose to have their dog work sounds for them inside the home only, while others choose to have their dog work sounds for them both inside and outside of the home. (servicedogcentral)


  • Autism Service Dogs: Autism service dogs may guide a confused handler from an over-stimulating situation on command, just as a guide dog would guide his or her handler home on command. Alternately, the dog might be trained to find a specific person, perhaps a caregiver, when the handler is over-stimulated. Autism service dogs can assist with notifying their handlers when the handlers are doing certain repetitive behaviors.


Nationally Recognized Trainers As seen on CNN and ABC!



Websites that offer other Information on Service Dogs


Paws With a Cause

  • Trains Assistance Dogs nationally for people with disabilities and provides lifetime team support which encourages independence. PAWS promotes awareness through education. As a national non-profit organization, PAWS relies heavily upon the generosity of donors who support the work we do for people with disabilities. Our clients pay no fee to apply for or to receive their Assistance Dog from PAWS. The sponsorship to training and place a PAWS Assistance Dogs is $20,000. PAWS allows and encourages clients to participate in fund raising activities. The most successful clients are those who played an active role in their fund raising and placement process on their quest for independence.


Benefits for companion Animals


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