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With Dottie, I have My Life Back /
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With Dottie, I have My Life Back
Service dogs can increase independence by reducing
on other people
I always thought helper dogs were for
blind or hearing impaired people. As I began to learn
more about these dogs, I realized they also offered a
variety of assistance to people with physical
Service dogs can be trained to retrieve objects that are
out of reach; pull a manual wheelchairs; open doors and
turn on lights; retrieve help; assisting with dressing
or undressing; and assist in many other ways. Some
service dogs are specially trained seizure response dogs
and there are dogs trained to offer a person counter
balance when ambulating. One less tangible benefit is
that these dogs can actually expand your world by giving
you opportunities to meet people and get out in the
My service dog, Dottie, and I take walks around the
neighborhood every evening. Each evening, between
5:00 and 6:00, she brings me her leach wanting to take a
walk. (Unfortunately, rain presents a problem. Try to convince a dog that you canít go for a walk
because it is raining.) We never come home that we
have not socialized with people we encountered. Interactions are usually prompted by Dottie and then
switch to me.
How Do I Get a Service Dog?
There are various programs throughout the country.
Some programs serve only a particular region and others
do not have a defined territory. Costs vary; as do
lengths of waiting lists. To help you assess if a
program meets your needs, here are some questions to
consider when choosing a service dog program:
- Does the organization offer to train your dog or does it
train only their dogs?
- What kind of assistance is their service dogs trained to
- Does the organization provide services only to a certain
You want to make sure you are in their
- What are the costs to the recipient?