When does one need or qualify for a service dog? This can be a lot more complicated to answer than you expect. There are various implications of disability in various federal laws. For instance, the Social Security Disability Income’s definition of a qualified candidate for a service dog may differ from that of Americans with Disabilities Act’s. Nonetheless, there are simple telltale signs that you need and/or qualify for a service dog.
Helpful Companion: 5 Barking Signs You Need a Service Dog
People Undergoing Stress
People with diagnosed psychological disabilities, such as anxiety and stress, may be qualified to bring service dogs into public places that normally do not let animals, without incurring additional fees, such as airplanes and restaurants.
People Who are Deaf or Blind
Service dogs are categorized into three types – guide dog, hearing dog, and service dog. Guide dogs assist blind and visually impaired people to safely traverse their environment. Hearing dogs, as the name implies, help those with hearing problems. Lastly, service dogs cover disabilities that are not covered by the first two categories, such as autism and those with balance problems.
People Who Cannot Take Care of Themselves
According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, people who cannot take care of themselves and are unable to perform one or many of the major life activities are qualified for a service dog. Examples of major life activities include sleeping, walking, lifting, communicating, and breathing.
People Who Are Physically Disabled
Those with acute or chronic musculoskeletal problems may also qualify for a service dog. Mobility impairment, paralysis, and diabetes are generally covered by assistance programs, such as USA Service Dogs. Mobility assistance dogs are specifically trained to assist physically disabled people, such as those confined to a wheelchair.
People Living Alone
There is a growing trend of people living alone these days. In fact, 26 percent of US households were surveyed as one-person households. Similar figures have been recorded in European countries and Australia. The potential health benefits of having a service dog to keep you company is becoming increasingly important and relevant research. Of course, living alone is not the sole qualification you need to get a service dog.
Service dogs are a great companion for a life that is restricted by physical, mental, and/or psychological impairment. Nonetheless, it can be very expensive to hire a service dog hence one must first fully consider his/her current health and lifestyle needs. Use the five signs above as a checklist to see whether or not you genuinely need a service dog.