A “service dog” is any guide dog, hearing dog, or other dog trained to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a physical or mental disability.
Operation Freedom Paws works with individuals who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) symptoms, physical, neurological, psychological and/or mobility needs.
Service dogs are often considered in one of five categories:
|Hearing Dogs||(“Signal Dogs”) Alert deaf or hearing-impaired people to important sounds|
|Psychiatric Service Dogs||Help with mental health disabilities such as PTSD, Major Depression, Panic/Anxiety, agoraphobia, schizophrenia, and the like|
|Mobility Dogs||Perform tasks and provide support and balance for ambulation for those with limited mobility|
|Medical Alert Dogs||Trained to be sensitive to medical events or conditions, including diabetes, seizures, and cardiac conditions|
|Guide Dogs*||(“Seeing Eye Dogs”) Guide blind or visually impaired people around obstacles|
*Note that Operation Freedom Paws doesn’t work with guide dogs, but will refer you to a partner organization that specializes in dogs to assist visually impaired people.
What kind of tasks can service dogs perform? The list is long. Here are some examples:
- Blocking (creating space around an individual)
- Opening doors, drawers, and refrigerators
- Retrieving specific objects (videotapes, keys, remotes, etc.) or dropped articles
- Getting help
- Pulling on command
- Turning lights on or off
- Barking to alert of danger, doorbell, or telephone
- Stopping at certain objects
- Finding doors or access/egress
- Finding scents
- Walking slow to lead
- Carrying objects