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How can Dogs Support Children with Physical Disabilities

Pets can enhance your kid’s life, especially if they suffer from some sort of physical impairment. Children usually have a good rapport with animals, so pairing them with a dog that makes them feel happy and at ease with is not a difficult decision. Although highly beneficial, this is not as easy or simple as it sounds. This is because the results are highly reliant on each specific case, each kid’s condition has its own characteristics that is different from the others. Also, your specific home situation can come into play. Owning a dog to support your child might not be the best decision if somehow his or her limited mobility does not allow it.

In addition, not every kid is a dog or animal lover. To make sure your kid can result benefited by the idea of having a dog you can talk with him or her about the prospect of it, observe how they behave when having a dog around, talk with agency which trains service dogs to check if you could come over or tell your him/her stories about dogs.

If after carefully evaluating your situation you find that getting a dog is a beneficial decision, then there are different types of support dogs which can bring about enjoyment and much needed physical, as well as emotional support, to your child’s life, including:

  • Companion Canines
  • Therapy Canines
  • Service Canines

Companion Canines are those that don’t have to go to a serious preparation process, instead they are intended to provide a sense of accompaniment. The right companion canine will make your kid feel loved, since a physical impairment often makes a kid feel like they are alone and powerless. Physical impairments can also lead to a lack of social contact, dogs can many times attract other kids since they are often amused by animals. Therefore, this can increase the chances of your kid being able to communicate with others.

Meanwhile, therapy canines have to go through a training process in order to provide attention and comfort. These dogs are not trained to fulfill specific activities, but to accompany the patients.

Service Canines are the ones that undergo the most extensive training process to provide certain services to their owners. They are more than capable of helping with a routine and simple activities such as picking up things that have fallen down and operating some electrical gadgets.

Responsibilities of Owning a Dog

Owning a dog comes with various responsibilities that family members need to take on. Besides taking proper care of your child, you will also need to take care of the dog now. Although this animal can be a friend to your kid, it will not take off the burden of watching his/her every step. Parents have the duty of observing how the dog interacts with their kid. In addition, it is very important that you dedicate some time to ensure the dog is well taken care of, and the parent needs to teach his or her kid how to take care of the dog as well. The new tasks will involve things such as giving the dog food and making sure he/she is clean.

Although this dog will bring joy and happiness, it will also increase substantially the responsibilities.

Advantages

Even though there might be opposition to adding a dog which will have significant monetary effects on your family, it can be a great relief for the child. If you live in the U.S., its system supports incredibly these types of animals. Owning a service dog, if used for supporting someone who has to deal with limited physical mobility, can result in a partial deduction of your taxable income. Therefore, the cost linked to taking care of them can decrease greatly.

Moreover, these dogs can help infants with the needed physical and psychological support. Kids are at risk of losing their autonomy when faced by a challenging physical condition, since they cannot carry out simple day-to-day activities by themselves.  As a result, they might have to deal with some unhealthy states of minds such as a negative perception over themselves. Also, they might be scared of being left on their own. This can lead to an aversion to engage in activities that poses an imminent sense of danger for them, such as being left in a room, in the garden or in the toilet without a companion. A dog can help a child feel physically supported in the above situations therefore decreasing his/her fear significantly, while the canine can also communicate if a risk arises by doing things such as barking.

Dogs can provide relief when walking into a doctor’s appointment. It can encourage kids to be patient and calm during the examination and while the results are being shared to their parents. This is because the presence of a dog can make the healthcare facility evolve into a friendly environment.

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