A service dog is always on-call.
As animal lovers, many times when we see a dog our first instinct is to show it affection. You may want to run up and give it a pat, a hug or even a bite of your lunch! But then you see that vest around it’s body and you know the dog is working. That badge on their vest is a symbol of protection.
Many people then ask the handler if it’s okay to pat their service dog. It’s important to remember that any contact you have with that animal does in fact break their concentration. Although you may want to interact with the dog, they are there to serve their human.
Just because they may not look like they’re working, doesn’t mean they aren’t doing their job. Dogs are remarkably intelligent, but they may not sense if their handler is on the verge of a seizure while you are rubbing it’s belly. The best thing you can do is to pass by without distraction. By letting these service animals focus, you are helping to keep their handler safe.
But don’t take our word for it… Meet Co~Z, the service dog and guardian for Norma Ramirez:
She does mitigate the issues that I face every day, 24 hours/day. I probably wouldn’t be able to live independently without her… and for that I am so grateful. That we do have each other.
Service animals can be trained to perform a multitude of tasks. Some dogs help their handler navigate through the community, while others are dedicated to therapeutic goals. Although you may not be able to determine the dog’s abilities or the handler’s needs by simple observation, many times these dogs may just be their lifeline.
For nine years, Co~Z has been serving her owner, Norma. With congestive heart failure, there are times when Norma’s life depends on the attention of her furry angel. Co~Z is able to alert her of oxygen leaks, retrieve her medication, alert emergency respondents in case of a crisis, open and close doors, and the list continues.
Norma and Co~Z are an unstoppable duo. With her service dog by her side, Norma is able to live safely and independently in her own home.