UNDER THE ADA, A SERVICE DOG IS DEFINED AS A DOG THAT HAS BEEN INDIVIDUALLY TRAINED TO DO WORK OR PERFORM TASKS FOR AN INDIVIDUAL WITH A DISABILITY. THE TASK(S) PERFORMED BY THE DOG MUST BE DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE VETERAN’S DISABILITY.
PROMOTION OF FUNCTIONAL ABILITY AND INDEPENDENCE
Assistance Dogs complete essential tasks so a person with a disability can return to the community, increase independence and improve their quality of life
People can live alone and improve and maintain functional ability
Dog provides help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) such as shopping tasks, fine motor tasks. This leads to less wear and tear on the body
Decrease the amount of family and hired caregiver hours required by providing concrete physical assistant
Bringing peace of mind to loved ones of person with disability
Increased sense of security. Retrieve phone or caregiver. Get help, pull cords
PSYCHOSOCIAL BARRIERS REDUCED
Promote improved social interactions
Promote increased participation in community-based activities.
A person with disability seems more approachable to others
Allows the person with disabilities to gain confidence in community reintegration situations
Decrease loneliness and depression, the dog becomes someone to interact with, a companion, part of the family. Creates a purpose.
A calming effect; allows the person with disabilities to focus on another not themselves
Care of the dog decreases stress and anxiety. It provides a sense of responsibility and a daily routine
PHYSICAL BARRIERS REDUCED
Provides physiologic benefits such as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and decreased heart rate
Enhanced levels of dopamine and endorphins, decreased levels of stress hormone cortisol
The physical warmth and compression of the dog laying on/near you reduces perceived pain levels
Motivates to adopt long term behavior changes that lead to weight loss and positive health outcomes
People with disabilities exercise more by taking dogs for a walk, fetch, and grooming activities.
*Information provided by Paws with a Cause: https://www.pawswithacause.org/
*For more information please visit K9 for Warriors, a nonprofit organization devoted to placing service dogs with disabled veterans: https://www.k9sforwarriors.org/
UNDER VA HOSPITAL MANDATE:
VA policy on service dogs
Published 08/27/2015 10:05 AM | Updated 08/27/2015 10:07 AM
What is VA’s policy regarding service dogs?
The Department of Veterans Affairsis revising its regulation regarding the presence of animals on VA property.
Previous VA regulation authorized the presence of seeing-eye dogs on VA property and other animals at the discretion of a VA facility head. The updated regulation will ensure VA practices remain consistent with applicable federal law. It will also assist those entering and working at VA facilities in developing a clear and consistent understanding of the criteria governing facility access for service animals.
Under the updated regulation, service dogs are allowed on VA owned or leased property. Only dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability are considered service animals. There are no restrictions on the breeds of dogs that may be considered service animals.
All other animals will not be permitted in VA facilities, unless expressly allowed as an exception under regulations for activities such as animal-assisted therapy or for other reasons such as law enforcement purposes.
Emotional support animals are not considered service animals under these regulations.