What The Average Person Doesn't Know About Service Dogs


     This semester, I am taking a course entitled Canines Assisting in Health. This course is considered a nursing elective which is required by all students before graduation at Pace University. The course is taught by a professor, named Dr. Singleton, who has her own service dog which means that the pup comes to our 3-hour class every Wednesday evening. Stepping into this class I knew that her sweet little dog would be at our class every week which is mainly what drew me into this course. However, I have ended up learning an abundance of information about the world of service dogs that I did not even consider before. 


     First off, a very common misconception around service animals is that they do not really even help people. It is misunderstood how incredibly resourceful service dogs can be; everyday activities like unzip your coat, turn on and off lights, open the fridge, get necessary medication as well as more serious issues like create space in public for those with claustrophobia, assist in those with depression leaving the house, in addition to chemically sense a seizure or an anxiety attack about to occur. 

Girl In Iu Hoosiers Shirt With Dog Anna Schultz / Her Campus

     Secondly, service dogs go through an immense amount of training before even being considered for the important position and job of leading a person with a disability. This course is considered our nursing elective and civic engagement so that means that we spend a portion of the class doing volunteer work. One Saturday a few weeks back, we took a trip to Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) located in Winsted, Connecticut. This is a non-profit service dog organization that begins training pups at as young as only a few days old! The experience we had at this organization was a special one because we were able to help train some of the dogs ourselves. We were teaching them how to sit underneath the chairs like they are supposed to with their owner and teaching them to walk alongside us without pulling on the leash. 


     Another major factor of service dogs that people fail to understand is how incredibly expensive these animals can be. A fully trained and certified service dog can cost up to $50,000! That’s right, these pups aren’t cheap and are not covered by insurance a lot of the time. 


     Lastly, the most important part of service dogs is how they cannot be pet when they are working. It is understandable that people really want to pet a cute dog and give them attention but it is imperative that they are not distracted from their work! It’s essential for the service dogs to stay on task when they are working because their owner could be seriously in need and if they are being distracted by someone else petting them, it could be very dangerous.