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Assistance Dog Day

There are many different types of assistance dogs out there in the world, many of which do not receive the credit that they truly deserve!
Dogs are amazing animals, when brought up right they can be the most loyal animals known to man (and woman!). 

So today we are celebrating the assistance dogs who work their tails off to look after us humans. 

When people think of assistance dogs they often picture a labrador, but assistance dogs can be any breed of any size! In the UK, therapy dogs are not classified as assistance dogs and therefore do not hold the same privileges. Assistance dogs are trained to perform specific tasks for disabled people and they are permitted to go everywhere with their handler (such as supermarkets, libraries and restaurants) whereas therapy dogs benefit people in a therapeutic way. Therapy dogs are often trained to take part in therapeutic activities with their handlers and many therapy dogs work within the community, visiting schools and local community centres. 

Assistance dogs are trained to help people with disabilities, such as being blind, deaf, or immobile (to name but a few). These amazing animals are able to help people in various ways such as:

  • Opening and closing doors
  • Helping people to dress and undress
  • Loading and emptying the washing machine/dryer
  • Retrieving items 
  • Reaching up to shop counters with items 

The dogs deserve so much credit, they are such clever animals and they help thousands of people across the world to live their lives independently, which might not be possible without their furry friends being present.

Assistance dogs are also able to help autistic people. They offer support and are able to interfere with certain behaviours, helping the individual to cope better in certain situations, for example:

  • They can help to introduce a routine 
  • Intervene with repetitive behaviours
  • Help to calm the individual when they are in an unfamiliar environment 
  • Reduce bolting behaviours

This can help the individual to take part in more activities on their own.

As well as having assistance and therapy dogs; other animals can also be used to help humans! 

There are many different animals which can be registered as therapy animals, here are a few:

* Small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs can be used as therapy animals as they can offer support and comfort to humans. They can also be great companions! Small animals are perfect for people who may not have enough time and energy to care for larger animals such as dogs and cats, they are easier to look after and do not take up too much space, therefore they are perfect for people who have small homes. 

* Horses! Caring for large animals takes a lot of time and requires your full attention, therefore caring for a horse can be beneficial for a multitude of behaviours. Caring for a horse can help people with anger management, learning disabilities, social skills and anxiety as they have a calming nature. For people with anger problems, caring for and also learning to ride a horse can be very beneficial as it can help the person to learn respect; if the individual does not respect the horse, the horse will not respect them either, making riding and bonding with the horse difficult. Therefore to make it work the individual needs to learn patience and respect. Horse therapy is known as equine therapy. 

* Reptiles (snakes/lizards etc) have been known to help people with depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse. Reptiles take a lot of concentration and can offer the individual a reprieve from their emotional, physical or mental struggles. 

So, in conclusion, animals are amazing and they definitely deserve way more credit than what we give them. Many people take animals for granted and do not give them the care and attention that they need and deserve. Remember, all animals can be loving, loyal and tame if you treat them right. 

Thank you for reading this short post for Assistance Dog Day!

Sources:

Assistance Dogs UK

Dogs for Good

Society for Companion Animal Studies

Wide Open Pets