At some point you’ve heard the term “service dog”, or seen someone in public with a dog and wondered how they are able to bring the animal into a particular location. In this article I’m going to outline the basics of each type of service dog, as each category is unique.

• THERAPY DOGS Therapy dogs are dogs that can go with their owners to volunteer in various settings (schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc). They provide people with animal contact, which can generate positive emotions and healing. The dog is typically owned by the person handling it and it is often their personal pet. These dogs are usually trained with specific commands to provide comfort/affection to people in various situations; from sitting with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living. Often the handlers of these dogs are health care professionals or staff at a particular facility, but they might also be volunteers. This is a highly reward.ing “job” for these dogs and their humans, in addition to being a wonderful experience for those they are interacting with!

• SERVICE DOGS A service dog is a highly skilled dog that is used by a person for their own rehabil.itation. They are specialized to work with people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress dis.order)/psychological conditions, autism, mo.bility/hearing/visual impairment, seizures, diabetes, medical alerts, and more. Service dogs are allowed access to any public place. These dogs are trained to perform tasks such as alerting for help in the event of a seizure or changes in blood sugar levels. “Alerting” could mean barking or nudging the own.er/person to get their attention, so they can take action. Other tasks include: picking up dropped items, opening/closing doors/draw.ers/refrigerators, and comforting their owner/helping with the challenges of PTSD. These dogs are critical companions for many people and help them manage daily life.

• EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOGS Emotional support animals (ESA) are a companion animal (often a dog) that pro.vides comfort/support in forms of affection and companionship for an individual. This person may suffer from various mental/emo.tional conditions; anxiety, depression, bipo.lar disorder, among others. An ESA is not required to perform any specific tasks or be profesionally-trained. They are meant sole.ly for emotional stability and unconditional love. Emotional support dogs are identified by wearing an emotional support dog vest/tag, letting the public know what it’s job is. An ESA is allowed to live in a place where there is a “no pet policy” and fly in the cabin of the airplane (without additional fees). A letter from the health professional is required and is presented to airline staff when flying or to a landlord when renting a home.

So as you can see, these dogs have im.portant jobs/tasks and play an important role in the lives of the humans they touch. We at Glacial Ridge Vet Clinic take care of a vari.ety of service animals for our clients.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us: 320-634-3558.
Uniting Hands, Hearts & Healing

Testimonials

Ellie our dog got cut by a boat prop and required over a hundred stitches on a Sunday evening. Dr Jean was amazing dealing with such a crazy... read more

David M.

I absolutely love this vet! The staff are extremely nice and know what they are doing. Everyone I encountered genuinely wanted the best care for my... read more

Aimee T.

It’s hard for me to put into words how much I appreciate Dr. Jean and every single one of the people I have met who work at Glacial Ridge. They... read more

Colleen F.

David M.

Ellie our dog got cut by a boat prop and required over a hundred stitches on a Sunday evening. Dr Jean was amazing dealing with such a crazy situation and then seeing us again on Monday which was a holiday to see how Ellie was doing. The whole staff was fabulous when we brought Ellie in for her follow ups during their regular hours. The staff went so far above what they had to it was truly awesome. We were very fortunate the accident wasn’t worse but the help we received was nothing short of amazing!

Aimee T.

I absolutely love this vet! The staff are extremely nice and know what they are doing. Everyone I encountered genuinely wanted the best care for my dog. It is so refreshing to receive care that feels personal and not transactional.

Colleen F.

It’s hard for me to put into words how much I appreciate Dr. Jean and every single one of the people I have met who work at Glacial Ridge. They all go above and beyond. They greet us like we’re old friends. They treat my dog like he is their own. My dog’s health was rapidly declining when we started coming to Glacial Ridge about 4 years ago. He’s doing terrific and acts like a puppy thanks to the specialized treatment he receives from Dr. Jean. It is truly amazing.

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