Service dogs are a great help to people who are dealing with a variety of conditions. The most well-known types of service dogs are guide dogs for the blind. However, they can be of remarkable assistance to people with other conditions as well. One of these conditions is MS, or multiple sclerosis.
Things That Service Dogs Can Do for People with MS
There are many ways in which a service dog can be a great assistance to a person with MS. There are many functions that these dogs can perform. One of them is encouraging their owners to rest when they sense that the individuals are tired. In these cases, the dogs will gently nudge them towards the wall or a chair. Additionally, dogs can brace their owners and help them get in and out of chairs. They can retrieve small items that have been dropped on the floor, and they can even push buttons in elevators. They can turn lights on and off using switches and open doors for their owners using special devices.
These dogs are trained to be prepared to perform all of their tasks efficiently. As such, they carry equipment with them, including a backpack containing supplies and a special balance harness. They also know how to be discrete; for example, some of these dogs are able to hide under tables in restaurants.
However, possibly the most important function that these dogs perform is that of being a companion and friend to their owners.
Is a Service Dog Right For You?
If you have MS and are considering getting a balance dog for yourself, you really should consider a few factors. It is probably pretty important that you like dogs, first of all. Also, consider whether a balanced dog will be able to help you, taking your specific level of disability into account. You, or someone else who is around, needs to be able to take care of the dog. You also need to be willing to work with the dog if you want the type of relationship these dogs are trained to provide.
How to Get a Service Dog
There are three ways that you can go about getting a service dog. One is that you could train the dog yourself. This way can be extremely rewarding, but there is always the risk that the dog will turn out not to have a suitable personality for this position or is that he or she could have health problems. Alternatively, you can hire a professional dog trainer to help you train the dog. The same risks are present as in the previous option, but there is a higher chance that you will succeed in training the dog. However, it will be more expensive. You could also consult an assistance dog organization, meaning you can buy a dog that has already been trained for this purpose. Because there is not much regulation, the quality of training can vary. As such, it is important to do your research.