Time and time again, dogs prove to be man’s best friend, and as they increasingly become more popular for individuals with specific health and mental needs, dogs are continually showing themselves to be invaluable partners in people’s day-to-day life (1).
From being dedicated running partners to break-down-deterring rescuers, these canine saints faithfully prove their pricelessness. Footage recorded at an airport, for instance, depicted one example of millions, showing a loyal pup immediately striving to comfort his owner during a panic attack (2).
Service Dog Comforts Owner During Panic Attack
Loving dog owner and professional dog trainer, Amber Oliver, was seen with her five-year-old pooch, Oakley, in the lobby of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky International Airport (2). Amber had trained Oakley to detect changes in heart rate, breathing, and body temperature–all indications of a panic attack–in order to teach her pup how to be helpful in times of need (2). A recording at the airport depicted their precious, unbreakable bond when Amber, apparently distressed as she bowed her head into her hands, is immediately faced with Oakley’s tail-wags, leg-rubbings, and nose-nudges as he strived to gain her attention and comfort her (2).
Amber explained how, “Oakley helps me every single day. Oakley is always watching and paying attention to me, making sure to help me whenever needed” (2). Oakley’s ability to provide support for her in a time of unpredictable challenge is a heartwarming testimony to a dog’s faithfulness.
Why Many Need Emotional Support Dogs
Emotional support dogs like Oakley are able to assist in more ways than provide comfort for panic attacks. They’ve been trained to help those struggling with depression, anxiety, and a variety of mood disorders such as bipolar depression, providing unending love and support when it’s needed the most (3). They can also help people face their phobias and fears, and are commonly used to help those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (4). Additionally, emotional support dogs have been used to help people fighting suicidal thoughts and self harm tendencies, saving immeasurable amounts of lives (3).
But even with these skills, this barely scratches the service of dog abilities, as emotional support is not the only type of support a dog is able to provide. The base definitely for a service animal is any dog specifically trained to perform a task for a disabled person that they would otherwise have difficulty accomplishing (4). Since there are so many varying needs, there are many varying services, and dogs are consistently dependable in helping out!
Man’s Best Friend, or Man’s Greatest Hero?
Our canine friends are capable of being trained to help with guiding, hearing, mobility assistance, as well as helping mental and psychiatric needs (1). They are able to serve as alert dogs for seizures, diabetes, and allergies (1). With the supporting characteristic skills of obedience, stillness, leash walking, house training, and task learning, dogs are capable of becoming truly invaluable to people in need of them (5).
With their loyalty, friendliness, and trainability, “man’s best friend” seems to be a bit of an understatement for these furry pals of ours. The amount of information that they pick up on and our human friend’s miss is uncanny, awarding them a permanent place in our lives.