Service animals are often thought of as assistants to people in wheelchairs or who have significant visual impairments. Even if you do not fit into either of these categories, but have a disability, there may be several advantages to having a registered service animal.
Help In Emergency Situations
If you have a disability that potentially impacts your ability to move or communicate, having a specially trained service animal may give you an extra layer of protection in an emergency. One concern you may have is that you may need to call for help but are unable to reach a phone or communicate. A service animal can be life-saving because some are trained to call for help.
This is usually accomplished by having a medical alert device or other method of communication that is push-button activated. The animal is taught to push the button when their handler is unresponsive or gives a verbal command. Service animals can be especially helpful for seniors with gait or balance problems. Falling in the bathtub or elsewhere inside the home is a significant problem. If you do not have friends or family who regularly check on your well-being, it is possible to fall and remain on the floor or bathtub for days.
Live Life With Fewer Limitations
Service animals are helpful for a range of physical and mental/emotional disabilities and can provide you with more freedom. For example, some animals are specially trained to detect seizures or unusual spikes in blood glucose. This allows their handlers to take precautions if they can be forewarned a seizure is about to occur or take medication if their blood glucose is dangerously low or high. Having this extra precaution often allows people with these types of limitations to successfully live alone or go to the store without their medical issue running their life.
An increasing number of mental health professionals are prescribing emotional support animals in conjunction with standard psychological treatments. Service animals can reduce the impact of many mental health conditions. Some people deal with crippling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. This may prevent them from leaving their home or they may even face problems from loud noises or obsessive thoughts while they are inside their home. Emotional support animals can provide a sense of security while at home and even allow some people with PTSD or other mental health conditions to venture from their home. Additionally, the companionship that an emotional support animal gives can reduce the loneliness and isolation that is common with depression and other mental health concerns.
Expand The Acceptability Of Pets
You may have a companion animal that acts as an emotional support animal but never considered how beneficial they are to you. If you have a disability or mental health concern and your therapist agrees that your pet is important for your well-being, you should consider registering your pet as an emotional support animal.
This type of registration expands options for taking your companion with you. For example, pets are often restricted on planes and may need to be transported in the cargo hold, like luggage. If an animal is approved as a service or emotional support animal, you may be able to bring the animal on the plane for security. Similarly, pets are typically not allowed in stores or restaurants and some landlords have a no pet policy. When your animal is registered as a type of service animal, they must be allowed in places that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Service animals can fulfill various roles in the life of someone with a disability or other limitations. If you experience a significant physical or mental/emotional concerns, you should consider having a registered service or emotional support animal to help with any limitations.