I went to the Helping Paws fundraiser dinner last Saturday. Great organization – and great food! From the Helping Paws FAQ:
What is a Service Dog?
Most people are familiar with the concept of a guide dog for the blind and the visually impaired or a hearing dog for the deaf and hearing impaired. Service dogs for people with disabilities other than those related to vision or hearing, guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired and hearing dogs for the deaf and hearing impaired are all types of assistance dogs. Service dogs assist an individual with many tasks. These dogs go through a very structured training process to prepare them for their life as a service dog. When their training is complete, they and their human partner complete a three week Team Training course.
What tasks can a Helping Paws Service Dog do?
Each dog is trained to meet the needs of an individual with a physical disability other than visual or hearing impaired. The dogs are trained to pick up dropped objects, open and close doors, assist in getting up from a chair or the floor, turn light switches on and off, get the phone, find help, and provide assistance as needed. Of great importance is the unconditional love and companionship that dogs also provide.