Giving Thanks for Service DogsNovember 20, 2017
Hello again Tevra readers!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so of course I like taking the time to reflect on all the things I get to be grateful for in life. One of the major things I am grateful for is Diamond, my service dog. I think I can speak for the vast majority of service dog handlers when I say that we’re all grateful for the partnerships we have with our dogs. This post would become a novel if I wrote down all the reasons this is so, but I’ll give you just a few of these below.
First and foremost, our dogs increase our level of independence. Whether they are guiding someone across a busy street, retrieving items for a handler in a wheelchair, or alerting to low blood sugar, these dogs give their people a sense of independence that they don’t get in any other way. That alone is a great reason to feel gratitude for these dogs!
Secondly, with a feeling of independence comes confidence. Many handlers feel more confident stepping out of their comfort zone with a service dog by their side. In my case, I feel much more comfortable learning an unfamiliar area with Diamond guiding me than with a white cane. Some handlers feel much safer in crowded areas with their dog providing a non-threatening buffer around strangers. One handler I spoke with is able to be much more physically active because her dog prevents her from falling if she gets tired after walking long distances. Service dogs can help people take on all kinds of challenges with grace and poise!
Finally, every service dog handler ever is grateful for the bond we have with our dogs. At the risk of getting overly sentimental, service dog teams truly exemplify the human/animal bond. Our dogs love to work with us, even if we need them at 2 in the morning. Aside from the work, we’re all grateful for the companionship service dogs provide. Many handlers find spending time with their dogs outside of working them to be very therapeutic. It’s difficult to express the intensity of the bond that most service dog handlers share with their dogs. I believe we are incredibly fortunate to experience this amazing connection with another species.
I will always be grateful to my service dogs. They have changed my life in all kinds of ways. They have given me greater independence, broadened my horizons, and been wonderful companions. There is really no way to thank these dogs for all they do, either for me or the thousands of other handlers around the world.
Shanna and Diamond