We often only consider seeing-eye dogs as service dogs, but there are dogs trained to anticipate medical crises for diabetics, epileptics, heart and kidney patients and more, as well as those who help people with hearing impairments, autism, and other difficulties. Many are trained for assisting hidden issues, such as PTSD. These dogs can anticipate a ‘meltdown’ and react in various ways – from trying to guide their handler to safer, soothing surroundings to simply distracting them and giving them a loving, calming companion.
Most of us think of service dogs as being Shepherds, Labs, or Golden Retrievers, but in truth they come in all different sizes and breeds – mutts included! Give these animals the respect they deserve. They are amazing, and do a wonderful job as well as being loving companions to those in need.
Pam Foster is the author of Clueless Gringos in Paradise, a wonderful book about deciding to move to a foreign country with her husband, who suffers from PTSD, and two HUGE service dogs. Her tales of the trials of arranging the transportation and lodging for this entourage are hilarious, but a gentle reminder of how lucky most of us are to not have to deal with these considerations.