Service Dogs vs. Emotional Support Dogs and Therapy Dogs:

 

Service dogs are individually trained dogs that perform tasks for people with disabilities. They can  help many people with different disabilities such as alert to high and low sugar levels for diabetics, help pick up keys for people with limited mobility, reminding people with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calm a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing many other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Therapy dogs are very different than service dogs. Therapy dogs are pets that help to comfort people besides their owner while service dogs work specifically for their handlers, not others. Therapy dogs are great at making short visits with people that need the comfort of a dog. Therapy dogs typically visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and libraries.

Characteristics

Service

Dogs

Therapy

Dogs

Emotional Support Dogs

Handlers’ rights to be accompanied by these dogs in establishments open to the public
are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Dogs must be temperamentally sound to tolerate a wide variety of experiences, environments and people.

These dogs may live with their disabled owners in housing with a “no-pets” policy in place.

 

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Dogs visit hospitals, schools, hospices and other institutions to aid in psychological or physical therapy.

 

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Handlers encourage these dogs to accept petting and socialize with other people while they’re on-duty.

Dogs are individually trained to perform tasks or do work to mitigate
their handlers’ disabilities.

Petting, talking to or otherwise distracting these dogs can interfere with their job
and pose a serious danger to the dog and handler.

Dogs’ primary functions are to provide emotional support, through companionship, to their disabled owners.

Subject to state laws regarding dog licensing and vaccination.

These dogs enjoy plenty of  off-duty time, during which they rest, take part in fun activities and get to act like a regular, pet dog.

 

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ABOUT US

 

The Exceptional Sidekick is a non-profit organization that transform lives by identifying, raising, and training exceptional Psychiatric Service Dogs to match -- at no cost -- with children and adults suffering from psychiatric disabilities, while engaging and educating the community in the process.

 

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Copyright 2017 The Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs

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