Sunday, April 26, 2015
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Types of Assistance Dogs

libraryRetrieving Independence provides a variety of assistance dog programs for people with disabilities or individuals who work with people with disabilities.

Service Dogs perform a variety of tasks such as turning on lights, picking up dropped keys or opening a door. These dogs assist with daily tasks and increase independence by reducing reliance on other people.   A Service Dog can pull their partner in a manual wheelchair, push buttons for elevators or automatic doors, and even assist with business transactions by transferring money, receipts, and packages.  They provide social support and companionship. 

Skilled Companion Dogs are trained to work with an adult or child with a disability under the guidance of a facilitator. A facilitator is typically a parent, spouse or caregiver who handles and cares for the assistance dog, encourages a strong bond between the recipient and the Skilled Companion Dog, and is responsible for the customized training needs of the dog.

Disabilities served include, but are not limited to, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism and Down’s syndrome.

bankingA Skilled Companion is bred to be calm, reliable and affectionate, and reduces the reliance on other people to complete simple daily tasks.

A Skilled Companion can also serve as a social bridge to people who are not used to relating with a person with disabilities. Not only does this kind of assistance make their physical lives easier, it boosts confidence and feelings of self-sufficiency.

Seizure Response Dogs are trained to perform the following behaviors according to the client’s needs: remain next to the partner during the course of a seizure, summons help in a controlled environment, and retrieve a phone prior to a seizure when asked by the partner.  Certain dogs, after bonding with their partner, may even develop the ability to predict and react in advance to an oncoming seizure.

Facility Dogs are expertly trained dogs who partner with a facilitator working in a health care, visitation or education setting. These dogs are trustworthy in a professional environment and can perform over 40 commands designed to motivate and inspire clients with special needs.

Facilitators are working professionals responsible for handling and caring for the Facility Dog. Additionally, facilitators are committed to long-term employment where they directly serve clients with special needs a minimum of twenty hours per week.

People with disabilities might have trouble reaching a light switch, picking up a dropped pencil or opening a door. Imagine having a dog that could do all of that, and more.

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I want to thank Karen for working so diligently with us so that my 12 year old son could get Rain. The bond they have is amazing and grows even more with every passing day. She is a fantastic dog and so smart. Rain has given Devon peace of mind and independence again and the smiles he has now warms my heart. They are fixing to start more training together which I am sure will go off without a hitch. Our visit to Karen and her facility was spectacular and the work she does with her dogs is just amazing. We are truly blessed to have this experience. Thank you Karen, may God Bless you and the wonderful work you do.

  • Lynn Colley
  • Blountville, TN
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