Much has been written about the importance of service dogs. Focus is usually on problems easily recognized such as a service dog serving as eyes for someone with limited or no vision. This understates the versatility and importance of service dogs in aiding people with invisible wounds.
Many of those who suffer from PTSD or ailments with related symptoms such as panic attacks, nightmares and even agoraphobia (fear of leaving home) may be helped by a properly trained service dog.
Service dogs can be trained to observe changes in breathing and to smell perspiration. They are trained to nuzzle and calm their owner.
Service dogs can be trained to monitor if owners take medication on time, and to tug them by the sleeve if they have not done so.
Individuals afflicted with autism benefit from “caring” for a dog trained to watch over them.
People with Alzheimer’s can be afflicted with a near-constant state of agitation. For some, sitting on a couch and snuggling their dog calms them.
Studies have shown that veterans matched with service dogs experience less depression and anxiety. They have a greater feeling of satisfaction and a reduced feeling of isolation.
Information in this article comes from the book Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. Yes, former Saturday Night Live writer and comedian, and former United States Senator. The first bill he sponsored was to fund a three-year Department of Veterans Affairs study to identify and measure benefits of service dogs to veterans.