Dogs Are The Unsung Heroes Of The Special Olympics

Special Olympics has been enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities since 1968. What began as a backyard summer camp has grown into a global movement with 5.4 million athletes participating in 106,000 events in 193 countries! More than a million volunteers help ensure the games run smoothly, and not all of them are human. Many dogs accompany the athletes, families, and friends of the organization, offering services only pups can provide. “Dogs let people with disabilities become more … Read more

Canadian Service Dogs Made The Best Theater Audience Ever

The dogs who train to be service dogs at K-9 Country Inn in Ontario take their important roles very seriously. That’s why they collectively made up the most well-behaved theater attendees ever. A photo of their outing to a relaxed performance of Billy Elliot at the Stratford Festival speaks for itself. The K-9 Country Inn service dog training program includes this little trip to the theater to test the dogs’ learned obedience and socializing skills. They also learn to attend to … Read more

Mother Has A Fit When Told Her Kid Can’t Pet Service Dog

Civilian handlers of service dogs are continually faced with scrutiny and probes from the general public. Even when their working dogs are clearly labeled with a vest informing people to leave them alone, some people insist on distracting the dogs from their work. A team training in a mall recently had an encounter with a woman who wanted her children to be able to pet the service dogs. What part of “Do Not Pet” is so hard to comprehend? Can … Read more

Multitalented Service Dog Also Plays Jenga

Dogs are better than people at a lot of things. Inherent cuteness, sniffing out floor crumbs, and catching things in their mouths for starters. But did you know dogs can also be intimidatingly good at Jenga? Yep, I’m talking the classic balancing game of layered wooden blocks. Well, at least that’s the case with one specific dog: an Australian Shepherd named Secret. Secret is a service dog to an 19-year-old woman named Mary. On their shared Instagram page, she posted a … Read more

Formerly Homeless Veteran Reunited With Stolen Service Dog

When thieves made off with U.S. veteran David Drake’s SUV in Ohio, they got away with much more than that. His beloved service dog and companion Gemma, a Lab/Pit mix, was inside the stolen vehicle. The good people behind Maslow’s Army refused to give up on getting her back. Maslow’s Army, run entirely by volunteers, is an organization committed to helping homeless people. They serve meals, provide shuttle transport, and even give peer guidance. According to the organization’s website, they … Read more

Suicidal Veteran Saved By His Pit Bull, Inspired To Help Thousands Others Find Pups Of Their Own

There’s really no doubt about it at this point: countless examples of service dogs transforming the lives of U.S. veterans demonstrate how valuable these incredible animals are. Having had such an experience with his own service dog, one veteran wanted to help others find the same life-changing support. David Sharpe is a veteran of the United States Air Force who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) He’s also founder of the organization Companions for Heroes which provides veterans and first … Read more

Puppies Behind Bars Change Lives Inside And Out Of Prison

When people follow their passion, good things happen. In the case of Gloria Gilbert Stoga, following her heart brought together inmates, puppies, and community members in need and the end result is changed lives. After reading an article about a veterinarian in Florida who recruited prison inmates to train seeing eye dogs, she was immediately inspired. She quit her job and aimed her sights on giving people in and out of prison a new lease on life. Puppies Behind Bars … Read more

Here’s How Selective Breeding Changed The Brains Of Our Dogs

Anyone familiar with a wide variety of dog breeds can tell you that some seem to have an innate knack for certain jobs or personality traits that are consistent across the breed. German Shepherds have great success in police work, for example, while Golden Retrievers are tolerant and gentle with children. Despite the fact that these stereotypes are generally accepted across countless breeds for countless traits, there has been little scientific research done on the subject. Until now. Researchers set … Read more

5 Super Service Dogs in Action with Their Handlers

Service dogs have the capacity to amaze us with their intelligence, devotion, focus and abilities. We’ve all seen stories of service dogs performing heroic feats to save lives. We’ve watched them in public providing support and alerts to handlers in need. They help their humans walk, retrieve needed objects, assist first responders with their efforts and use their noses to detect illness and oncoming health problems. Today we honor 5 of these incredible service dogs, sharing videos of them in … Read more

9/11 First Responder Receives Perfectly Named Service Dog, Valor

Valor is defined as boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery. That word so perfectly describes every single first responder that gave their all, day in and day out, in the weeks following 9/11. Many that conducted search and rescue missions in the rubble that remained continue to feel the physical effects of their tireless efforts nearly 18 years later. Chronic pain, mobility limitations, and breathing difficulties are common. NYC firefighter and 9/11 first responder Paul … Read more

Researchers Hope To Identify Successful Working Dogs Through Cognitive Testing

There are a wide variety of working roles available to dogs. From detecting drugs, bombs and bedbugs, to guiding the blind and sniffing out signs of illness, there are more jobs than there are qualified dogs to fill them. Although many dogs are specifically bred to perform these assistance roles, Science Daily reports only about 50% successfully complete their training. The rest go on to be loving family pets while people in need wait up to two years for qualified … Read more

Training Service Dogs Take An Adorable Field Trip To Disneyland

Visitors to Disneyland on March 29 were even more delighted than usual when they caught sight of some very special guests – a handful of service dogs in training from Canine Companions for Independence! The pups, decked out in a variety of the park’s famous mouse ears, enjoyed a well-deserved day of fun, complete with rides, character meet-and-greets, and plenty of precious photo ops! The dogs had a grand old time experiencing Disney’s slow-moving attractions, including the Teacups, Pirates of the … Read more

Southwest Airlines Connects Dogs With Veterans Who Need Them

While more and more American soldiers are struggling to cope with depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety after returning home from service, Southwest Airlines has teamed up with a non-profit determined to help. Freedom Fur was founded with the objective to give back to the veterans who are winning the war overseas but at a disadvantage on the homefront. Returning soldiers cope with physical injuries, disabilities, and mental disorders, and Freedom Fur recognizes their need for loyal, caring support. Dogs … Read more

Local Hotel Refuses To Accommodate Trainers & Their Service Dogs

Paws 4 Veterans is a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from shelters, then has inmates train them to become service dogs for veterans. Trainers with the Florida-based organization were stranded in Monteagle, Tennessee Monday night due to some automotive issues. After spending 2 hours on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck, the 3 people with their service dogs wound up at American Eagle Inn, where the clerk refused to allow the group to stay at the hotel … Read more

5 Big Jobs For Small Service Dogs

Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and German Shepherds are the first breeds that come to mind when you think about service dogs, but they’re not the only kinds of canines trained to work. Smaller breeds, like Chihuahuas, Miniature Poodles, Shih Tzus, and terrier mixes also excel in the working world. They might not fit the preconceived image of what a service dog should be, but to their owners, these pint-sized dogs offer invaluable assistance. Here are a few of the jobs small … Read more

6 Tips For Interacting With Service Animals

Service dogs are usually the best-behaved, friendliest, and most well-trained dogs you’ll ever meet. While that may make it extra tempting to run over and start petting them, there are certain things you should know about interacting with service dogs. They are, after all, there to provide a service to their owners, and you don’t want to interfere. With that in mind, here are 6 tips for interacting with service dogs. #1 – Never touch, pet, or give treats to … Read more

6 Things To Know About Prison Dog Training Programs

Did you know that hundreds of dogs are trained every year by prisoners, either to make them more adoptable or to prepare them to become service dogs? Is it safe? How do the dogs benefit? How do the prisoners benefit? Here’s a quick rundown of 6 things you should know about these programs. #1 – They save dogs’ lives. Many of these programs rescue dogs from high-kill shelters. Dogs with behavior problems who would otherwise be unadoptable are trained by … Read more

Important Differences Between Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs, And Therapy Dogs

Do you know the difference between a service dog, an emotional support dog, and a therapy dog? Can they all get into the same places? Do they all have the same rights? These 3 types of helpful pets have different roles, rights, and responsibilities in the lives of the people they help. Here are the differences between the designations. Service Dog Service dogs are trained to do certain tasks to help a person with a disability live a more independent … Read more

6 Medical Conditions Dogs Can Sense

To understand why dogs are so incredibly gifted at sniffing out medical conditions (not to mention drugs, explosives, lost humans, and, of course, cats) you have to fully appreciate the wonder of the canine nose. Your average family dog has a sense of smell 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than any human. They have 300 million olfactory receptors to our measly 6 million. Scientists have likened their ability to “catching a whiff of one rotten apple in two million … Read more

Proposed Bill Hopes To Put Fake Service Dogs Out Of Service

Yet another state is taking aim at the shameful trend of passing off household pets as service dogs. Massachusetts has filed a bill modeled after similar laws in Florida and Colorado. If passed, it would become a civil offense to misrepresent a pet as a service animal in the Bay State. The bill further seeks to protect the disabled from receiving untrained or poorly trained dogs from unscrupulous organizations. Congratulations Shadow! We hear you are doing wonderful work as a … Read more

Ad Campaign Sheds Light On The Growing Problem Of Fake Service Dogs

Larry Bigelow has severe spinal osteoporosis and spinal fractures. He depends on his highly trained Yellow Labrador, Buzz for the stability and physical support he needs to stay active. Buzz is one of many legitimate service dogs trained by Hawaii Fi-Do. The organization has decided to take a stand against imposter service animals with their new web PSA ads. It may seem harmless to purchase a knockoff service vest and slap it on your pup, but untrained service animals give the … Read more

Philanthropist Funds A Major Resource For Military Families, War & Service Dogs

American Humane Association, the country’s first national humane organization and one that is celebrating a century of working with the U.S. military as of 2016, has announced the launch of the Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs. This was made possible due to a generous gift by its board member, the internationally renowned philanthropist Lois Pope. The announcement was made last week at the organization’s “Tribute to America’s Military Heroes” event in Palm Beach, where country music legend and board member Naomi Judd presented Mrs. … Read more