Assistance Animals are so much more than well- behaved and well-trained pets. They work in a vital, supportive role to their guardians.
What Do Assistance Animals Do?
Assistance animals help to keep their handlers safe in many scenarios. For example, they can medically alert to low blood sugar, migraines, or an epileptic fit before they manifest, or detect their guardians’ changing blood levels or breathing.
They can also help as psychiatric service dogs. They may aid their guardian with PTSD through flashbacks and panic attacks, or help to ground a handler with autism who is overwhelmed and shutting down.
Assistance animals are trained to work in public, in many environments and situations. Sometimes they cope with noises and chaos better than their handlers, and they may guide an overwhelmed or symptomatic guardian to somewhere safe to lie down.
Did You Know…?
It is often mistaken that assistance animals are only for people who are legally blind or deaf and that these assistance animals are limited to the stereotypical “yellow Labrador.”
Actually, if a guardian team can prove that their chosen assistance animal can mitigate their disability, their animal is legally their Assistance Animal, regardless of breed.
Assistance Animals are a legal medical aid and should be treated as such. Interfering with them can incur legal costs and, in some extreme cases, prosecution. They help their guardians access the world and mitigate their disabilities.
About the Author
The PPG Assistance Animal Division is a volunteer committee which 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 owners can join for free, and as members will have access to additional pages on our website (along with some amazing vendor discounts!). We look forward to welcoming you into an inclusive group that prioritizes humane treatment and welfare of both people and assistance animals!