Getting to Know Service Animals

Modern society takes care of its citizens in many ways. It provides help to its citizens in the areas of feeding, housing, health care and even childcare. There is a group, within society, that has only recently started to enjoy the same attention from the government. This segment is the disabled. The society has now recognized the need to give legal backing, to the right of a person with a disability, to get help from a service animal. A service animal is any animal that was specifically and individually trained to give some form of help, to a person suffering from some form of disability.

What Do They Do?

Service animals perform a wide range of tasks for their disabled owners. Some are mobility service animals. These are usually dogs. They helping to pick up objects, provide balance and pull objects if necessary, for people with mobility challenges, such as cerebral palsy, severe arthritis to those who are totally paralyzed.

Some service animals serve as a hearing ear or as they are sometimes called ‘signal’ service animals. These animals listen to sounds, in the environment around their owners, and lead their them to the noted sound. These owners are almost always hard of hearing, in varying degrees.

Other service animals are used as seizure alert animals. Seizure alert animals are those who can alert the owner of some event that is about to occur and they react in the way it was trained. Sufferers of brain disorders like epilepsy are an example of the owners of an alert animal. Each animal is trained for their owner and to respond in a specific and individual way.

Some animals are trained as psychiatric support animals that help their owners either cope with or minimize the obstacles their illnesses place in their path. The psychiatric service animal can assist its owner to overcome the effects of post traumatic stress, agoraphobia, psychosis, panic attacks and more, all of which prevent the owner from functioning normally, in society.

Types of Animal

As a general rule, dogs are the first choice, when choosing which animal will become a service animal. This is mostly due to their long history of domestication and companionship with people. Their temperament is also a big factor. A service animal must be of even temperament and not be overly awed by being in public. They must be, faithfully and attached to their owner.

monkey cd 300x295 Getting to Know Service Animals

Image Credit: Monkey Helpers

Other animals are also trained as service animals. These are primarily primates, monkeys to be specific. These primates are chosen for their intelligence, agility and domestication. They are highly trained and the relationship between the trainers, monkey and recipients, is continuous.
Established in 1979, Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled is the only non-profit organization, in the world, that raises and trains capuchin monkeys to provide daily, in-home assistance to people living with spinal cord injury or other mobility impairments. ( http://MonkeyHelpers.org)

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