Anyone who has the luck to have a dog as a part of their lives knows just how much love and joy both guardian and dog share with one another.
For Assistance Animal guardians, this relationship is even more deeply amplified.
A Unique Bond
This is not to disregard the love that all guardians share with their dogs, but to explain the unique bond assistance animal guardians have with their animals. For guardians of assistance animals, the guardian, and the animal– regardless of species– spend all of their time together, whether it be at home, shopping, doctor and hospital appointments, work, college, family visits, or socializing as a few examples.
Both guardians and their assistance animals must have a deep connection and bond in order to understand one another’s communications and respond to body language-based signals. For guardians and assistance animals, there is no time off from one another, as the assistance animal has a vital role to perform in ensuring their guardian is medically safe.
In return, the guardian has to ensure that all of their assistance animal’s needs are met. This includes planning outings when the dog must accompany the guardian through daily activities in public spaces. They must make sure, no matter where they are, their dog’s needs are met. For example, they must be able to provide their assistance animal with opportunities for toileting, eating, drinking, resting, sleeping, and playing. Additionally, they must be alert to, and regulate, their assistance animal’s temperature, physical comfort, and ability to perform in all environments.
Assistance animals and their guardians become deeply bonded teams, perfectly matched to one another within give-and-take relationships. And of course, spending time with anyone 24/7 deepens the bond and love they share. This is why assistance animal vests are becoming more popular with the text “Do not separate me from my handler.” These loving, working partners heavily rely on one another; they are each other’s lifeline!
About the Pet Professional Guild Assistance Animal Division: Our volunteer committee includes a broad representation of pet professionals with a variety of skills and interests specific to assistance animals. Assistance animal trainers and professional organizations are encouraged to join PPG for professional and educational support, advice, and materials that help promote force-free interactions with animals who help people. Pet guardians can join for free! We look forward to welcoming you into an inclusive group that prioritizes humane treatment and welfare of both people and assistance animals!