Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Service dogs perform variety of roles

I recently came across a very thorough and comprhehensive discussion about
Balance Dogs and MS
On a blog named Sophie’s Thoughts.

I must admit that, while I have been familiar with the general term of Service dogs and the more specialized guide dogs, I have never heard the equally specialized term “balance dog.” It makes sense, though. A few years back, I met a professor at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor who used a wheelchair and had an assistance dog. She didn’t call her dog a balance dog, but after reading Sophie’s blog, I would think that was a pretty good description of what he did. Sure, the dog did other tasks for the woman, but I’ll never forget one role the canine performed that sticks out in my mind still today. During a presentation, I heard the professor discuss how her dog assisted in transfers from her chair. To perform this task, when commanded, the dog would lock his leg joints to allow her to support herself on his back and execute the transfer. I’m still fascinated today with this specialized role that a dog can provide.

Sophie’s blog post linked above has some general information about service dogs, including legal issues. She also provides a list of other muscular disabilities, aside from MS, where an assistance dog may be able to benefit somebody with one of these disabilities.

No comments: