Canine Assistants service dogs assist children and adults with physical disabilities or other special needs in a variety of ways. Some of the tasks our dogs perform include turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors, pulling wheelchairs, retrieving dropped objects, summoning help, and providing secure companionship. While all of these functions are vitally important in helping a person obtain greater freedom, perhaps the most impressive gift our dogs provide is social, rather than physical, in nature. The dogs eliminate feelings of fear, isolation, and loneliness felt by their companions. One Canine Assistants recipient made the value of this gift quite clear when asked by a reporter what she liked most about her service dog. Immediately, she responded, "My dog makes my wheelchair disappear."
Most Canine Assistants service dogs are born, raised, and trained at our facility in Milton, Georgia, while some are occasionally adopted from local organizations or breeders. The majority of our service dogs are retrievers, including both goldens and Labradors.
In addition to service dogs and companion dogs, Canine Assistants also trains and provides seizure response dogs for certain recipients. As with some of our service dogs, these dogs are adopted from various organizations and selectively screened for personality, temperament, and general health. Following general training, seizure response dogs are trained to perform one of the following behaviors, depending on the recipient's need: remain next to the person during the course of a seizure, summon help in a controlled environment, or retrieve a phone prior to the seizure when indicated by the recipient. Certain dogs may even develop the ability to predict and react in advance to an oncoming seizure once they are placed with their recipient.
Like service dogs, companion dogs also serve to assist children and adults with physical disabilities or other special needs. Companion dogs work primarily in a recipient's home, assisting with tasks around the house and more importantly, contributing to the emotional well being of the person.