Service Dogs Helping Disabled Veterans by Providing a Better Quality of Life

Under the ADA, a service dog is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the veteran's disability. 

 

Promotion of Functional Ability and Independence

  • Assistance Dogs complete essential tasks so a person with a disability can return to the community, increase independence and improve their quality of life

  • People can live alone and improve and maintain functional ability

  • Dog provides help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) such as shopping tasks, fine motor tasks. This leads to less wear and tear on the body

  • Decrease the amount of family and hired caregiver hours required by providing concrete physical assistant

  • Bringing peace of mind to loved ones of person with disability

  • Increased sense of security. Retrieve phone or caregiver. Get help, pull cords

Psychosocial barriers reduced

  • Promote improved social interactions

  • Promote increased participation in community-based activities.

  • A person with disability seems more approachable to others

  • Allows the person with disabilities to gain confidence in community reintegration situations

  • Decrease loneliness and depression, the dog becomes someone to interact with, a companion, part of the family. Creates a purpose.

  • A calming effect; allows the person with disabilities to focus on another not themselves

  • Care of the dog decreases stress and anxiety. It provides a sense of responsibility and a daily routine

Physical Barriers Reduced

  • Provides physiologic benefits such as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and decreased heart rate

  • Enhanced levels of dopamine and endorphins, decreased levels of stress hormone cortisol

  • The physical warmth and compression of the dog laying on/near you reduces perceived pain levels

  • Motivates to adopt long term behavior changes that lead to weight loss and positive health outcomes

  • People with disabilities exercise more by taking dogs for a walk, fetch, and grooming activities.

*Information provided by Paws with a Cause: https://www.pawswithacause.org/

*For more information please visit K9 for Warriors, a nonprofit organization devoted to placing service dogs with disabled veterans: https://www.k9sforwarriors.org/