by Rebecca R.
Labor Day is a time to celebrate workers and their contributions to society. This includes working dogs too! Here are just a few examples of working dogs and the invaluable services they provide:
Search and Rescue Dogs
Search and rescue dogs are a vital part of rescue and recovery missions, from finding a missing person to locating survivors after a natural disaster. These dogs are trained to detect human scent and alert their handler when they’ve found someone. A keen sense of smell and the ability to navigate tight spaces makes dogs ideal for this work. While taught to see the search as a game, these dogs’ efforts save lives.
Police and Military Dogs
Police and military K9s are trained to perform highly skilled tasks, including tracking, narcotic and explosive detection, apprehension and more. Some dogs specialize in one area, others are dual purpose, but all of them are fearless and driven. The work done by police and military dogs is highly efficient and reduces risk to the personnel they work with each and every day.
Service dogs are extensively trained to perform specific tasks for a person with a disability. Types of service dogs include guide dogs, medical alert dogs, psychiatric service dogs, mobility dogs, and hearing dogs. Because of their official designation as service dogs, these canines have public access. Service dogs empower individuals with disabilities in a world with more independence and safety.
Facility dogs are handpicked canines who undergo thousands of training hours to learn to maintain impeccable obedience skills under distraction. The training also teaches the dogs to keep calm in all circumstances and be courteous to everyone they meet. With these skills, facility dogs can support individuals in professional settings. Through The Firehouse Project, Thor’s Hope Foundation in partnership with Performance K9 Training has, to date, placed a firehouse facility dog with Vista Fire, Los Angeles County Fire, and Modesto Fire. By providing support and comfort, these dogs help firefighters cope with the occupational stresses of their work.
Whether they’re visiting a school or residents of an assisted living facility, therapy dogs provide comfort and smiles wherever they go. Typically handled by their owners, therapy dogs have a friendly personality and a calm temperament, enabling them to interact with all kinds of people in a variety of settings. These interactions can help reduce anxiety, fatigue, depression, and pain.