The word “dog” conjures up a certain set of imagery for most of us: the friendly face and wagging tail that greet us at the door after a long day’s work; the childhood pet that romped with us in the yard; the furry friend who snuggles with us on the couch or in our beds each night.
The dog of yesteryear, however, was none of the above, or not exclusively, at least. There was a time in the not-too-distant past that it would have been unthinkable to allow Fido to jump up on the bed, much less come into the house at all. The evolution of humans and dogs are intertwined, and this interconnectedness is based on thousands of years of working together, side by side.
Although many modern dogs live in relative luxury, there are still plenty of “professional dogs” performing an incredibly diverse variety of tasks. At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center we think these dogs are the cat’s meow (ok, maybe not the best choice of words…). Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of professional dogs!
A service dog is one that is trained specifically to help people who have disabilities such as:
- Visual impairments
- Hearing impairments
- Mental illnesses
- Seizure disorder
- Mobility impairments
Service dogs are typically rescued from shelters as puppies and undergo one or more years of intensive training related to their field of service. The majority of service dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, or German Shepherds, although, any dog that is healthy, has a good temperament and is deemed “trainable” is a candidate for service.
Therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort to people in need, such as those in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, disaster areas and, most recently, to children and adults with autism.
The first therapy dog training program began in 1976, and the demand for these special dogs has been growing ever since. There is no specific breed requirement for a therapy dog and training can begin when the dog is a puppy or an adult.
Other Types Of Professional Dogs
Some professional or working dogs are “born into” their specific skill set (think Border Collies as sheep herders) and others come to their trade by way of careful selection and intensive training.
Some examples of the amazing ways dogs assist human society every day include:
- Police and military work
- Search and rescue
- Sheep or cattle herding
- Sled pulling
- Tracking (missing or wanted persons)
- Detection (bombs, chemicals, pests, remains)
Last But Not Least…
April 27th is National Guide Dog Day! We would like to take this opportunity to honor these special dogs for the services they provide to the visually impaired members of our communities.
Your friends at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center love all of our canine patients. We look forward to seeing your dog, professional or not, very soon!