Dogs are incredible creatures who offer unconditional love and companionship. They also work tirelessly as service dogs helping the police, military and people with disabilities. Dog lovers know that a life with a dog is fulfilling, never lonely and (usually) less stressful.
That's an inspiring recommendation indeed, for anyone thinking of opening their heart and home to a cute little pupster or a rescue dog needing a forever family of their own. Our canine angels are a lifeline for the blind and deaf and are highly trained as therapy dogs who visit hospitals offering comfort and moments of joy.
Now, it’s time to salute our dedicated doggy friends who walk with is through rain and shine. Dogs do so much for humanity; we are truly blessed to have them in our lives, whether they perform an honorable role of support or make life an easier path to walk.
Signs a Dog is Helping People
The service dogs of this world walk with pride as they take on the worst criminals as part of a police K9 team - or act as the ears for someone who can’t hear the doorbell. You’ll see the sniffer dogs at the airport checking out the bags and the courageous canines that search and rescue people, on water and land.
German Shepherds are a popular dog of choice for fighting crime, sniffing out illegal material and alongside their handlers, patrolling districts to keep citizens safe. The body language of a highly skilled K9 allows the handler to get the bad guy when his dog uses his razor-sharp senses of smell, hearing and ear movement. The dog will also bark, whine or howl to warn of impending danger. We sleep better in our beds knowing these doggy super-sleuths are on patrol.
Hearing dogs are trained to let their deaf owners know their telephone is ringing, the alarm clock has gone off or the smoke alarm has been activated and they do this by nudging with their paw or nose, then leading the person to the sound. Dogs for the blind are given clear instructions from their owners to find the chair or door, and to even guide their owners across a busy road.
Then, there are dogs who help the mentally impaired, children with autism and even epileptics. Spencer was found to have epilepsy when he was three years old, and his mom would spend half the night checking on him until Lucia a "seizure response dog" came to live at their home.
She often predicts when Spencer is about to have a seizure by licking his mom's hand and when he actually does have a seizure, Lucia signals his parents by whining or jumping up and down. This heartwarming story was recorded by the “Seizure Foundation," as an example of how invaluable seizure dogs can be.
The instantaneous bravery of our magical mates has seen many a life saved as Rover has walked through the flames to carry out a loyal friend, or taken on the local bully dog to protect a family member. If you were ever unsure about the friendship between man and dog read this true-life story about Angel, a heroic dog who saved Austin, an eleven-year-old boy from the jaws of a cougar. Austin was playing in his yard when the cougar appeared and Angel, their Golden Retriever took on the wild beast so the boy could get away.
Another heroic tale happened on the beach when Norman, a blind Labrador, heard a girl crying for help in the water and without hesitation jumped through the waves to bring her to safety. These canine acts of bravery were recorded By ”Love To Know.”
Next time your dog chews on your slippers – scratches at the hardwood floors or digs a massive hole in your veggie patch, have a thought for the happiness you feel when they tilt their heads at something you said or howl like a wolf when it’s time for walk. The relationship between man and dog never fails to amaze. Our fur baby friends deserve our utmost admiration.
The History of Dogs Helping People
Back in the day when our doggo pals were wolves, primitive man trained them to hunt and protect their camps from predators. Over time, bonds were created that led to the amazing connection we have with canines today. This was the beginnings of dogs helping mankind. In Roman times, they were used again for hunting and security.
Take a leap forward to the late 19th century when Belgium introduced the first police dogs, which evolved throughout Europe. In 1907, the New York Police Department went to Belgium and came back with five, trained dogs. In 1908 the very first K9 unit made its debut on the New York streets - somewhat of a wake-up call for gangsters and crooks.
Dogs played a huge part in the first world war as they were trained to find casualties out in the field and carry medical supplies. Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds were the preferred breeds who also acted as sentry dogs - trained to growl or bark if the enemy was close at hand. By the time World War ll came around it was apparent to the top-guns in the military, well-trained dogs were ideal for sentry duty (both home and overseas), sending messengers and acting as scout dogs – often saving the troops from being ambushed. Canine patriots were an invaluable part of the war effort and many were recognized, by the military with honors bestowed.
The first guide dogs emerged in 1931 when two British ladies trained four dogs to work with the blind. It was not until the 70’s that we saw the first hearing dogs emerge in Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA. Humble beginnings and a vision created the “International Hearing Dog” organization dedicated to training dogs for the deaf or hard-of-hearing. Once again, our furry, 4-legged friends are showing what they can do for humans.
The Science of What Dogs Do For Us
The men and women of science tell us that dogs have a positive effect on our health. That’s good news if you have high blood pressure, as walking your French Bulldog or Chihuahua will help reduce the risk of heart disease!
Think about how elated you feel when Missy, your petite poodle, comes to greet you and after lots of doggy kisses you feel less-stressed and eager to take her to the park. Scientists have proven that patting your dog releases “feel good” hormones that help with depression and anxiety. Your cute pooch could make you live longer, as loving a dog is the often the only medicine you need.
A report from the American Heart Association claims people who own a dog might be less likely to get heart disease. That’s a major claim backed up by studies that have found a dog, more so than a cat, lowers the risk of heart problems. Good old canine loving just might be the tonic to keep your heart healthy and happy!
It’s also a fact that dogs have helped their seriously ill guardians recover by showing support and canine care.
Training Dogs To Help People
Dogs can do so much for humanity when they are trained properly.
Police dogs go through a rigorous obedience training/socialization program and it starts in their puppy years - being taught the basics of sit, stay, come and lay down on request. They have to be able to do this on and off leash. It’s imperative for the safety of the K9 and handler.
Specialized training also requires police dogs to sniff out narcotics and detect explosives. Dogs are taught to read their handler's body language and take appropriate action, with or without a command. Before a dog joins the police force he is trained in the basics plus agility and endurance. If they are being trained to track people, keywords and treats are offered as rewards.
It may be of interest that dogs being taught to sniff out illegal substances are trained with a white towel filled with various kinds of drugs. After a time the K9 sniffer is tuned to what’s inside his favorite “tug of war” toy. The towel is then placed in different places teaching our furry officer to dig and scratch, showing the handler what they have found. The reward for a job well done is a fun “tug of war” game.
Service dogs help people with disabilities and are trained for one to two years. The basics they learn are how to open and close doors, turn lights on and off, help people dress, call 911 in an emergency, bark for help, prevent self-harming and remind people to take their medication.
If your Labradoodle is a fun loving guy who plays with his ball and even gets on with the cat, he’ll be a much-loved part of the family. Jasper may not have the attributes’ to be a K9 champ or super-service dog but he’s always willing to give his time and affection to everyone in the home. Dogs are like people, as they feel love and know pain - plus they can read your emotions and feel empathy for whatever is on your mind. Dogs do so much for us but ask for very little in return. If we were to ask "what dogs can do for humans" The answer would be, "they are already doing, all that they can!"
By a Japanese Chin lover Linda Cole
Published: 02/05/2018, edited: 04/06/2020