Service dog
Service dog

For hundreds of years (at least) dogs have helped people in a variety of ways.  Companionship, of course, has been a role they’ve played for even longer.  Herding sheep.  Search and rescue.  Guarding.  Sniffing out drugs, explosives and other contraband.  They’ve been helping out humans in a multitude of ways for years.

soldier, dog, companion
Soldier dog

More recently, they’ve been employed in ways based on their connection to people and their ability to detect small changes and cues from their people. These roles demonstrate some newer ways that dogs are showing that they are truly “Man’s Best Friend.”

Mobility assistance

Mobility assistance involves helping people who have difficulty in moving to get around on a day-to-day basis.  These dogs are trained to pull wheelchairs, carry objects, open doors and a variety of other daily at-home tasks.  Becoming a mobility assistance dog isn’t easy and takes more than a year of training to qualify.

Diabetes assistance

These dogs are trained to to help people with Type 1 Diabetes using their incredible sense of smell.  They are able to detect changes in the scent of their human’s breath that is associated with a diminished blood sugar level.  When they detect this change they can alert the person and/or other caregivers.  They can accomplish this by pawing, nudging or licking.  The person can then call for help.

Cancer detection

Cancer cells emit different waste products than normal cells.  These waste products smell different than the waste released by healthy cells. Due to their amazing sense of smell, dogs can detect these different scents.  Once they detect these scents, cancer detection dogs alert the person that it’s time to see the doctor.  Cancer detection dogs can even be trained to discern different types of cancer.

Autism assistance

Autism assistance dogs can improve the lives of children diagnosed with autism by providing a calming influence in their lives.  After completing training, these dogs receive public access rights to ensure their owners’ safety.  Beyond security, these dogs may also become the child’s best friend.  A good job for “Man’s Best Friend.”

Service dog
Service dog

Hearing assistance

Hearing assistance dogs are trained to respond to various sounds, essentially becoming the ears for their owner.  And we know that dog’s have great hearing!  Doorbells.  Telephones. Baby crying.  Smoke detectors. Alarm clocks.  The person’s name. Think about any sort of sound that’s important to hear in your everyday environment.  One of these dog’s can likely be trained to respond to it.

Seizure assistance

Seizure assistance dogs help their owners and provide comfort during and after a seizure. Dogs can seek out medical help and/or alert another person. These dogs may even wear special vests with pockets of medicine or important information for others who can assist.

Some great ways that dogs can help humans.  Do you know of any others?  Please comment below.


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