What is the Difference Between a Service Dog, Therapy Dog, and Emotional Support Dog?
A SERVICE DOG is a dog that has been individually trained to perform tasks to assist a person with a disability.
A THERAPY DOG is a dog that has been trained and evaluated to provide comfort to others in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Therapy dogs are not service dogs and it is unlawful to pass of a therapy dog as a service dog.
An EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL is an animal (usually a dog or a cat) that is prescribed by a medical professional for a person who suffers from a mental illness. These dogs are not service dogs and are thus not required to be highly trained. Emotional Support Animals are not required access by ADA law, but they are allowed to live in no-pet housing and to fly, provided the handler has a letter from a medical professional.
What Kind of Tasks can a Service Dog be Trained to Perform?
Service dogs can be trained to perform so many tasks that it is hard to list them all. At Paws 4 Independence, we can train almost any kind of service dog, except guide dogs. Our dogs include Medical Alert Dogs, Psychiatric Service Dogs, Hearing Alert Dogs, and Mobility Assistance Dogs. Here are some possible tasks that we train our service dogs to do:
- pulling a wheelchair and other general mobility tasks
- alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure
- alerting to sounds
- retrieving dropped items
- reminding a person to take prescribed medications
- calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Panic Disorder during an anxiety attack
- performing Deep Pressure Therapy to help reduce symptoms during anxiety attacks and other episodes
- alerting to breathing irregularities, changes in blood sugar levels, changes in blood pressure, and other medical alerts
Who Can have a Service Dog?
Any person with a disability can have a service dog if a doctor has deemed a service dog as being appropriate to assist the individual with tasks that can mitigate their disability. A person is legally disabled if his or her condition significantly limits one or more major areas of life, including but not limited to being mobile, working, learning, or taking care of oneself at home. It is important to recognize that if a disabled person should choose to have a service dog, he or she must be capable of providing care and ongoing training for the dog.
What is a Service Dog?
A service dog is a dog that has been individually trained to assist a person with a disability. The tasks performed must be directly related to the person's disability. A dog whose sole function is to provide emotional comfort is not considered a service dog under ADA law. Service dogs are not pets, and should not be treated as such.
Frequently Asked Questions About Service Dogs
To apply to our Service Dog Program fill out the application below and mail it with the $35 application fee to:
Paws 4 Independence
15612 Prairie Ridge Road
Caledonia, MN 55921
How to Apply for a Service Dog
Paws 4 Independence
"Service Dogs Saves Lives"