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Service Dogs and the Disabled

            "Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, filling the emptiness we don't even know we have" - Thom Jones.  Dogs are one of many animals who seek attention and love from humans.  They also give the love back to their owners, because they have learned to trust those who take care of them. There are people with disabilities who are not able to take care of themselves and are in need of assistance.  Dogs are trained to serve those who need assistance.  As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service dog is one that performs a task for the benefit of a person with a disability ("Service Animals").  Some of the tasks that service dogs provide are retrieving and delivering dropped items, opening doors, responding to a client's seizure by alerting someone for help or providing stimulation for the person and so much more.  Service dogs have assisted people with disabilities for some time and although they can be expensive and time consuming, they will provide the best aid to such individuals; therefore, costs should be reduced which would not only help the disabled but lower the nation's overall health care expenses.
             The first significant reporting of a service dog was in 1916 when a doctor who was in charge of a clinic for the war wounded in Germany was walking a blind man on the grounds of the hospital when he was momentarily called away.  He left his German Shepherd in charge of the patient, and on his return, he was so impressed with the way that his dog had behaved that he vowed to begin training dogs to be guides for the blind (Service Dog Facts The Dog Fact Information Center).  This marked the start of service dogs. They became part of the Unite States (U.S) landscape in 1929 when the Seeing Eye Guide Dog organization was established (Burke).  Hearing dog training programs started in the mid-1970s with the establishment of The Hearing Dog Program which is now called NEADS and Canine Companions for Independence (Burke).

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