Assistance in Action

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Assistance in Action

Service dogs are rigorously trained, starting as puppies, to perform tasks and provide support for people living with a number of different health conditions. In addition to guide dogs for the blind or hearing dogs for the deaf, seizure assistance dogs are service dogs that can also help people living with epilepsy or seizure conditions. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects the rights of people with disabilities to be accompanied by their service dog in public places. Emotional assistance dogs, therapy dogs and pet dogs don’t have any special rights under the ADA.

Training service dogs

The training processes for service dogs vary among service dog training organizations, and there is currently no standard process. Seizure assistance dogs undergo intensive training to respond to a seizure in someone who has epilepsy or a seizure condition. Training typically follows these stages:

  • Puppy enrichment: From birth, service dog puppies begin to experience the world and prepare for their job ahead.
  • Foundational skills and socialization: During these phases, puppies learn basic commands, spend time with people and are introduced to different environmental settings, to help with socialization.
  • Advanced training: Dogs will learn service dog skills and participate in activities related to the exact needs of their partners such as tracking, medical alert, retrieval and hearing. Based on where the dog excels, it will be matched based on the specific needs of an individual; however, there is no guarantee animals will provide a benefit to every person living with seizures. This also allows the opportunity for the dog to be trained to assist in a different area, known as a multipurpose dog.

This extensive training process contributes to the costs associated with getting a service dog.

Many different breeds can be trained as service dogs, including, but not limited to, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, goldendoodles and papillons.

Role of seizure assistance dogs

Seizure assistance dogs are specifically trained to bark or alert an individual’s family when they are having a seizure. Others may learn to lie next to the person having a seizure. Being alerted when a seizure occurs may help provide comfort and peace of mind to families and caregivers as well as those living with a seizure condition.

Read the inspiring stories below to learn more about the ways service dogs, including seizure assistance dogs, can help individuals by providing functional support and comfort.

 

The goal of Magnolia Paws for Compassion is to help raise awareness of the many benefits that interaction with animals can provide to those coping with illness; however, we recognize there is no guarantee animals will provide a benefit to every child living with seizures.

Eisai's 4 Paws for Ability Puppy Litter

As a way to support children in need of service dogs, Eisai sponsored an entire litter of 4 Paws puppies. Of the 8 puppies in the litter, three are trained to work as service dogs (2 seizure alert dogs, 1 diabetic alert dog), and one is trained as a therapy dog.

In addition to Eisai's litter sponsorship, employees also participate in fundraisers throughout the year to help 4 Paws families in need of service dogs.

Inspired to Help Others Who May Benefit from Animal Assistance?

Support 4 Paws and a family in need:

  • At 4 Paws for Ability, the cost to train and place a service dog with a disabled child starts at $22,000. To qualify for a service dog, families must raise $17,000. You can raise funds to help a family meet this goal or donate to support the general training efforts of 4 Paws for Ability.
  • Purchase much needed items ranging from dog supplies to office supplies from the 4 Paws wish list here.