Dogs Lend a Helping Paw

Dogs can make some pretty big messes, but don't they look so cute when they're guilty? What about dogs that don't make messes, but actually help clean them up! Who needs a maid when you have helpful dogs like these?

1. Elsa removing snow

This video, posted by Greg Cox, went viral thanks to an adorable Labrador - appropriately named Elsa; she helped shovel off a backyard hockey rink!

2. Grace cleaning the playroom

Posted by gotfameseekfortune, this loveable Golden Retriever knows how to have fun with her toys but also knows when playtime is over and it's time to clean up. Look how cute she is scurrying around!

3. Sarah takes out the trash

Dogs love getting into the trash, but this video - posted by Crestwoodkid - completely changes the game! Watch as this talented Shepherd mix helps her pet parents take the trash out!

4. Spice helps with the laundry

This touching video posted by blackfootkennels just makes me smile. Since Spice's mom has a cold, Spice eagerly stepped in and helped her with the laundry!

5. Bentley brings in the groceries

There's been serveral times where I've found myself wishing I had 3 extra hands when carrying in groceries; when I saw this video posted by Jana Underwood, I thought maybe there's another way. This handsome boy helps his mom bring in the groceries!

Dogs That Lend a Helping Paw

Both the therapeutic and practical value of dogs and other animals has been pretty well established and accepted around the world. You have probably heard of both service animals and therapy animals, but what really defines the difference between the two? The definitions are very specific, but also easy to understand. It actually depends on who is benefiting from the dog.

A service animal is trained to work for the benefit of the owner or handler. In contrast, a therapy dog is trained to benefit someone other than the owner. The only two types of service animals that actually exist, legally, are dogs and miniature horses. However, many types of therapy animals exist. This discussion will focus on dogs specifically.

Therapy Dogs

If your dog has the right temperament and training, getting them certified to be a therapy dog can be a fulfilling, fun and philanthropic use of your time and your pet’s time. The best place to start is the Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program website. Once a dog is certified to be a therapy animal, based on a series of relatively simple tests, they may visit nursing homes, hospitals or other places where people may benefit from their company.

Studies show that the presence of dogs or simply petting a dog (or other animal) can improve physical health, including reducing blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol as well as improving mental health. The company of dogs can trigger “happy” brain chemicals such as oxytocin. Owning a pet offers these same benefits, but therapy dogs often allow individuals to be exposed to animals who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

Service Dogs

A service animal or service dog is quite a different from a therapy dog. Again, the beneficiary of the dog (and potentially its unique training) is the owner or handler. In addition, to be considered a service animal the dog must be trained to perform tasks that alleviate symptoms of the disability of the owner. The dog must independently recognize the need for that task to be performed. This means the owner or handler need not give a cue or signal of some kind to have the animal do certain tasks that help them. For example, a dog may be trained to respond in some way when someone has a seizure. The dog must know on its own when that is happening and exactly how to respond without someone intervening to direct them. Also, the owner of the dog must first have a professionally diagnosed and recognized disability to qualify to receive a service animal.

Most people are familiar with or have heard of guide dogs. Guide dogs for visually impaired individuals are one type of service animal. Hearing dogs, mobility assistance dogs, seizure response dogs, medical alert dogs and psychiatric service dogs are other examples.

There is actually one other category of assistance animal that exists in the context of mental health assistance. Emotional support animals are animals or dogs that benefit the owner or handler, like a service animal. However, the description of what they do for the owner is less specific. Their presence alone may help alleviate symptoms of the owner or handler’s disability, or they may be trained to do much more than that.

Why the Title Matters

Why are all these distinctions important? The specific designation can actually have legal implications for the owner or handler of a service animal or emotional support animal. Emotional support animals and their owners don’t have as many legal rights as service animals when it comes to accessing public places, but can still go on airplanes or live in spaces that might not otherwise allow animals if proper documentation is supplied.

A service animal may also accompany the owner on domestic flights and live in places that don’t otherwise allow animals. In addition to that though, they have access to all places, including commercial and government buildings, where the public is generally allowed. Individuals that own service dogs are entitled to reasonable accommodation or alteration when accompanied by their service dog into these places. Additional rights or laws may be involved at the state or local levels.

It is important that these laws be taken seriously and not abused by those merely wanting to travel or go to dinner with their dog. While we would all love to have our dogs with us wherever we go, bringing dogs into public places without proper professional training and knowledge may jeopardize the rights of those who really need this access and assistance.

Lassie Leads the Way– Alzheimer’s Assistance Dogs Lend a Helping Paw

Pet therapy has been shown to be particularly helpful to Alzheimer’s patients and those affected by other dementias. Pets, and dogs, in particular, can calm those affected by dementia, help them stay active (Dogs love to walk!), and help them stay social through interactions with passersby who cannot resist these fuzzy companions. Dogs in general often provide enjoyment for those dealing with dementia, and it has been shown that dementia patients have a greater appetite following a visit from a canine companion.

The good news is there may be new promise in the area of pets helping people with dementia. Imagine dogs trained to remind a person to take medication and eat, or lead a person with dementia back home. Even more impressive, imagine these dogs could accomplish all of these tasks without receiving any type of verbal command. Does this sound farfetched (no pun intended)

Considering the intelligence level and demeanor of certain dogs, this idea is not as crazy as it seems. In fact, today there are approximately six dogs in the world trained to do exactly these types of tasks through two projects, one based in Israel and one based in Germany, and more dogs are being trained.

Unlike traditional pet therapy, which mostly offers companionship to the Alzheimer’s patient, these two projects have undertaken training assistance dogs specifically to aid Alzheimer’s and other dementia patients with completing daily tasks, thus allowing the person to have greater independence.

This type of training is not for all dogs it is the most demanding type of service dog training. Since their main task is to bring their human companion home when lost (or bark for help if necessary) dementia assistance dogs are specially chosen based on whether they are capable of assisting without commands and adapting what they have learned to new settings and situations. They also must be resilient enough to tolerate the frequent mood changes from which those with dementias frequently suffer.

Early pilot studies with these clever canines are promising, and the dementia patients and their families have had highly positive results. Perhaps one day in the near future, these carefully trained companions will be coming to a city near you.

Cohen, J. (August 8, 2011). Assistance dogs: Learning new tricks for centuries. History in the Headlines./p>

Coren, S. (January 21, 2014). Assistance dogs for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. Psychology Today.

Rugg, L. C. (n.d.). Alzheimer's aid: Lassies become loyal friends.

Shiboleth, M. (n.d.). Remember for me–The Alzheimer’s aid dogs.

Vann, M. (April 20, 2010). How animal therapy helps dementia patients. Everyday Health.

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Working Dogs Lend a Helping Paw

National Take Your Dog To Work Day is June 26th. We love to brag about our hardworking fur-friends! Take a look at what these pets do to bring home the kibble. Don’t forget to read performance reviews from their loving “supervisors.”

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National Take Your Dog To Work Day is June 26th. We love to brag about our hardworking fur-friends! Take a look at what these pets do to bring home the kibble. Don’t forget to read performance reviews from their loving “supervisors.”

Cosmo is a Cable Guy

“Cosmo works hard to give us satellite reception when it rains!”

Annie is a Cashier

“Annie takes credit card payments.”

Moon is a Trash Collector

“Moon really enjoys helping out with recycling.”

Charlie is the Gardener

“Charlie Corgington is helping his Granny in the flower bed!”

Monty Cleans the House

“Monty is busy putting away supplies.”

Swami is a Chef

“Swami works hard planning the next meal!”

Rocket and Copper Protect

“Rocket and Cooper are Zombie slayers! They work hard protecting us from zombies like this one.”

Darcy Does the Laundry

“Darcy is good at stealing washcloths from the laundry.”

Georgio is a Babysitter

“Georgio is speaking loudly and working hard to keep the peace between the always lovable, Charlie Brown, and the always rambunctious, Lucy.”

Foxy is a Fashion Model

“My Foxy is amazing at modeling and fashion shows. She's also got ‘being the troublemaker of the bunch’ down pat. All-in-all she loves life and shows it!”

Gypsy is a Shop Keeper

“I have a small consignment booth in a local Antique store. Gypsy has seizures, so she goes with me to stock our booth every few days. Sometimes, she will sit in my car for up to an hour waiting to GO WORK. She then walks through the store, visits with her people friends and her two favorite shops: one has potpourri (which she hugs) and another has a cowhide rug (which she REALLY hugs). She is such a wonderful dog to have as my BFF.”

Thanks to everyone who shared about their working dog! We always love to hear from you, so stay tuned to Dog Tag Art’s Facebook page for more opportunities to win super cool pet ID tags for your special pals!

Watch the video: a helping paw (July 2021).