On the Job: E&H Welcomes Service Dogs

This semester, Emory & Henry has welcomed several students who are accompanied by service dogs on campus. Talmage Dobbins, Director of Academic Support of the PRC, commented on the use of service dogs on campus.

Talmage Dobbins, Director of Academic Support of the PRC, commented on the use of service dogs on campus. “Service dogs have been trained to a do a specific task or tasks. They usually are on

“Service dogs have been trained to a do a specific task or tasks. They usually are on leash or wearing a vest when they are working. As much as many of us love dogs and are drawn to pet them, we should not pet, touch, or distract a service animal while it is working.”
Students should not act different around students or faculty members who are assisted by a service dog, because they are here to help their owners.

Service dogs are trained for different scenarios, such as mobility assistance and emergency medical response. Mobility Assistance dogs provide mobility assistance to those using wheelchairs or other devices providing mobility assistance.

Emergency Medical Response Dogs are trained in two different alert areas. Seizure Alert dogs are trained to stay close to their partner for the duration of the seizure, to intervene and encourage their partner to come out of the seizure state, as well as fetch medications, or a telephone. Diabetes Alert dogs are trained to detect sudden drops in their partner’s blood sugar through scent and alert them so that they can monitor their blood sugar.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Dogs are trained to alleviate and distract their owners from possible stressors related to an individual’s PTSD and contribute to their physical, emotional and social well-being. Facility Dogs provide emotional and social support to various individuals living in elder care, mental health and juvenile detention facilities.

Dogs who are trained to be service dogs go through training during the first two years of their lives. The dogs typically work for eight to ten years, at which time they are retired to a good home with a loving family. Dogs may or may not stay in their original home after retirement, depending on the owner’s situation or preference. Applicants requiring a dog to replace their retiree are then assigned to a new service dog.

When people think of medical service dogs, they usually think of guide dogs for the blind, or perhaps they think of the therapy dog (please note that a therapy dog is not the same as a service dog). While a guide dog is a service dog, there are many other amazing jobs that these incredible canines can be trained to do.

Above all, students should be respectful of service dogs, and aware of their importance for many E&H students.

– Olivia Kinser

 

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