Guest post from Samantha Reid, at Sicker Than Your Average Blog
As a chronic illness blogger, I frequently come in contact with others like myself dealing with the day-to-day of various illnesses. We employ a variety of different methods of coping–– medication, special diets, lifestyle changes, and more–– but one very common method not everyone knows much about is service dogs.
Growing up, I always thought service dogs were limited to the realm of seeing-eye, and that the blind were the only ones that enlisted canine assistance with their disabilities. As it turns out, service dogs are around to help people suffering from a variety of ailments, from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis to mental illnesses like anxiety disorder. Dogs are even out there helping veterans with PTSD.
The companionship of an animal can really help someone dealing with the repercussions of daily health issues. While I don’t have a service dog myself, simply sitting and petting one of my two adorable cats can really calm me down after a tough day of symptoms. Many people don’t realize the mental toll bad health takes on the chronically ill–– but the love of an animal can make for a really wonderful form of treatment. Many doctors believe owning an animal can actually have positive effects on your overall health, and dog owners are said to live longer than those without a pet.
But service dogs aren’t just companion animals: they are specially trained by wonderful organizations and volunteers to do things like monitor their owners’ behavior, retrieve items, push wheelchairs and more. Some are even trained to remind patients to take their medicine. One thing is for sure–– these dogs go above and beyond the call of normal pet duty to help their humans get through life.
Dogs are constantly showing their love for us, whether it’s just by lying on the couch with us after a long day or by really devoting their lives to helping us manage something like our health. “Man’s best friend” is no understatement when it comes to service dogs, and I could come up with a few other titles they deserve reward for as well–– like “Man’s Favorite Nurse.”