- Morgen Cvetko
Service dogs: Man’s best friend
It is no secret that dogs are man’s best friend. They are bright creatures that can be easily trained to assist in a number of circumstances.
Service dogs that are trained to help people with disabilities and while there is no breed or weight restrictions, the dogs must go through training specific to the needs of there owner.
Training varies for every disability, but every service dog must first pass a public access test.
During this stage, they must be brought out into the public to see how they interact with not only their owner, but other people and animals. They are brought into restaurants during this stage to make sure they do not jump onto the tables or disturb others in the vicinity.
They are also introduced to other dogs to see how they act around them. It is important that even in a public setting with many distractions, the dog listens to the owner and behaves well.
They are trained to stay quiet unless they need to alert someone their owner is having an issue.
Once they pass the public access stage, they begin the more in-depth training; which all depends on the needs of the owner.
Greg Nance, a veteran that works at Coastal, has a service dog named Rosco. Rosco is a 2-year-old Blue Heeler who helps Nance with his back injury.
Nance’s dog passed the public test with flying colors, showing more than once he is a well-behaved dog.
He is currently working on helping Nance pick things up when he drops them, helps with his PTSD and helps remind Nance to take his medication in the morning.
Rosco is training at Big Paws in Aynor, South Carolina, which is an organization that trains the owner and the dogs together.