Service dogs change the lives of thousands of owners every year. They provide irreplaceable assistance, allowing their owners to navigate the world in a way that would not be possible otherwise.

In this post, we will be taking you through some of the critical roles that service dogs perform every day. Before we get into that, however, let’s start with a commonly asked question.

What Is the Difference Between a Service Animal and a Therapy Animal?

In terms of required documentation, the two are similar. Service animal registration is not a legal requirement, in the same way, that your therapy animal does not need to be certified, but doing so can still be beneficial. It can provide relevant documentation and connect you to further resources regarding where your animal can go and what protections they possess.

However, while both of these animals can significantly benefit their owner’s lives, there are distinct differences. The critical distinction is that service animals are specifically trained for a particular purpose, whereas therapy animals provide a more general approach. A therapy dog aims to provide emotional comfort, and this can take a thousand different forms.

The role of a service dog is specific and specialized. What are some of these roles? Well, that’s what we’re going to cover today! Take a look at the list below for just some ways service dogs change the lives of their owners.

Guide Dogs

Arguably one of the most well-known examples of service animals, guide dogs make a huge difference to the lives of their owners and have done so for centuries. They effectively operate as a second pair of eyes for the visually impaired, which is understandably invaluable. They are most often Labrador Retrievers or Golden Retrievers, which means not only are they useful, but they are adorable too.

Hearing Dogs

In addition to providing a second pair of eyes, some service dogs also provide a pair of ears (usually rather floppy ones). They will dutifully alert their owners to a variety of noises many of us take for granted. These alerts can include alarms, doorbells, or even crying babies. A whole host of breeds are capable of carrying out this role, from Chihuahuas to Cocker Spaniels.

Psychiatric Service Dogs

It isn’t just the physical side of things that service dogs can help manage. Psychiatric service dogs help their owners deal with the adverse symptoms of conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, among others. To help their owners feel more comfortable, they will often enter homes first, turn on lights, and create physical barriers between their owners and the public. They act as a constant reassurance to their owner, often through subtle acts.

Truly Man’s Best Friend

There are numerous other roles that service dogs can undergo training to perform, each as valuable as the last. Many of these roles have been helping humans for hundreds of years, so it is no wonder how dogs earned the title of man’s best friend and have held onto it ever since!