Canine Assistants service dogs assist children and adults with physical disabilities or other special needs in a variety of ways. Some of the tasks our dogs perform include turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors, pulling wheelchairs, retrieving dropped objects, summoning help, and providing secure companionship. While all of these functions are vitally important in helping a person obtain greater freedom, perhaps the most impressive gift our dogs provide is social, rather than physical, in nature. The dogs eliminate feelings of fear, isolation, and loneliness felt by their companions. One Canine Assistants recipient made the value of this gift quite clear when asked by a reporter what she liked most about her service dog. Immediately, she responded, “My dog makes my wheelchair disappear.”
Most Canine Assistants service dogs are born, raised, and educated at our facility in Milton, Georgia, while some are occasionally adopted from local organizations or breeders. The majority of our service dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labradors and Golden Doodles.
Seizure Response Dogs
In addition to service dogs and companion dogs, Canine Assistants also teaches and provides seizure response dogs for certain recipients. Following general education, seizure response dogs are taught to remain next to the person during the course of a seizure, summon help in a controlled environment, or retrieve a phone prior to the seizure when indicated by the recipient. Certain dogs may even develop the ability to predict and react in advance to an oncoming seizure once they are placed with their recipient.
Diabetic Alert Dogs
Canine Assistants also places diabetic alert dogs with type 1 diabetic patients. They are taught to alert to changes in blood sugar levels, get help when needed, alert other family members, retrieve medication and to reduce stress.
Like service dogs, companion dogs also serve to assist children and adults with physical disabilities or other special needs. Companion dogs work primarily in a recipient’s home, assisting with tasks around the house and more importantly, contributing to the emotional well-being of the person.