Service Animals Pets that help People

Pets are not just in our lives for companionship, some people have their pets trained to do specific tasks and help out people in need. Think about the many situations where dogs are used every day: during police work (the most commonly used dog is the German Shepherd or Doberman) – they use dogs to track a suspect, sniff out a bomb, or to search for drugs; assisting the blind (any breed of dog can be used for this type of work, but the criteria for a dog becoming a seeing eye dog is very strict); assisting the handicapped (again, any breed can be used, but the criteria is still strict). These are just a few of the many examples of animals helping in every day life.

People who are ill often times get visits from animals in the hospital. Petting a dog or cat relieves stress and countless studies have shown the great benefits to the patients during and after the visits. It takes a special kind of dog and a special kind of owner to be able to do this. The dog is put through rigorous training until her behavior is absolutely perfect. The owner must know and understand how to control the dog and how to achieve the best contact between the patient and the animal.

If you are considering volunteering yourself and your animal to this great cause, I salute you! But be prepared, just because you and your animal apply doesn’t mean you will be accepted and complete the program. Trainers are looking for a calm, relaxed animal who will be able to tolerate strange places and being handled by many different types of people. Don’t be discouraged if you and your animal are not accepted, the criteria is the way that is is because the program wants to keep the patients, you, and your dog safe while providing stress-relief and relaxation.

Dogs are not the only animal that can be taken on hospital visits, cats are more than welcome too! The same criteria and training will apply to the cats, so just be aware of this going in. The whole point is to make a difference in someone else’s life and brighten their day! If this doesn’t sound like something you would be interested in you could also consider bringing your animal to your local retirement home. Some individuals living there do not have any family members to visit them and seeing an animal and getting to play with her makes an incredible difference to them!

If you are interested in using your animal for volunteer work, get more information at your local humane society. They will have all kinds of opportunities and you’ll be able to see where you and your pet fit in! Again, if you are currently doing this, or considering it for the future, thank you for giving your time and your animal to help others!