I was sitting in a corner table at Barnes and Noble bookstore’s coffee shop, when a chocolate-brown Labrador strode in front of me, together with a woman holding its leash. Momentarily, I took off my focus from the book I was reading, and gazed at the duo who stood near my table while waiting in front of the elevator. As soon as the elevator door opened, the dog, apparently knowing what to do, went ahead inside followed by its owner. I could not help myself but admire this special dog… it was a “service dog” as confirmed by its red colored Service Dog ID vest.
Dogs like this Labrador were trained to perform tasks to aid/benefit individuals with disability. The Americans with Disability Act of 1990 allows service dogs or any trained animal to aid individuals who need their services. They accompany their owners to places where the general public is allowed, even riding in a public transportation. They serve as eyes, or ears, or as a companion to people who have special needs.
Wow! It never stops to amaze me, every time I see one of them…guiding their owners to cross a busy street or intersection, pick up personal things or items dropped on the floor, or a companion to those with mental/medical condition such as depression, seizure, or diabetes. These Service Dogs are sensitive and can actually be trained to assist according to each disabled individual’s need. A strong symbiotic relationship is important between the dog and its owner, because the health and safety of the owners are dependent upon the dog’s ability to focus on whichever specific task they were trained to do. These dogs are well-trained that they are able to resist distractions from the environment they are in, during the time they are “at work!” Now, who can say that dogs can’t take on a job?
Yes they play…a lot. But isn’t it what every one of us have in common? We all have that inner child in us, and unbeknownst, we engage in some playful moments. They don’t whine, they don’t complain, they don’t answer back…well, perhaps they do, but not in a language that is known to you and me. Nevertheless, if you are familiar with the words faithful, devoted, loyal…that’s what they are. They are always there when and where they are needed.