Service Dogs (II) - New Research Avenues
28 Jul 2014
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A few weeks ago, we discussed about the popular types of service dogs have been employed into over the past decades very successfully with astounding results. For those who missed the first article on service, follow the link here. Although not a very popular concept in India yet, there are few trainers across the country who are exploring into this field and attempting to train service dogs. The day is not far when we will have nationalized licences for dogs to accompany the physically or mentally challenged in public places with special permission.
Let us now enter a newer paradigm of Service Dogs. Most people are quite likely to be well-versed with the conventional types of Guide dogs but how many of you have heard of dogs who can predict, life threatening conditions like Cancer, Seizures, Diabetes or even natural disasters? Not many I would assume across the world.
With newer forms of research motivating scientists to explore further than what exists and many forward thinking liberal investors are motivating such researches to be able to create more value towards our favourite pet species. Here is a list of few types of assistance dogs that are fairly new in terms of research and development.
This is not something new. What could be an extremely mystical and spiritual experience for dog owners in the past, is now a well-funded research after many dog owners reciting first-hand accounts of their dogs being the first to diagnose something out of the ordinary in a normal life. It is not a myth, neither is it some sort of folk-lore; dogs can sniff cancer and evidently so. Here’s a video to give a better outline of this theory.
There is very basic science behind it. Dead cells in a cancer patient are highly pungent. And as we all know, with such an exemplary sense of smell it is not surprising that they can sniff out cancer cells as it is inside a patient.
It is often the case that parents of children suffering from epilepsy or other seizure end up leading highly perplexed and perturbed lives never knowing when their child will start convulsing. What is more difficult for the parents is to not panic and maintaining a calm state of mind. A seizure response dog will not only aid the victim by sitting on the child to ensure that the child stays emotionally stable; but most often the dog will be able to predict a seizure before the receptive person or the parents are able to contemplate it.
Diabetes, a regulatory condition where one’s blood sugar constantly keeps dropping with no prior notice. It is an especially torturous condition for young sufferers who exercise, play a sport or some other strenuous activity because by the time their blood sugar is extremely low, they end up with a seizure. A Diabetes detection dog will pounce on the owner as a sign that their blood sugar level is dropping and they should do something about it.
Autism assistance dogs are trained to provide ultimate freedom and independence to the child and parents. A mental condition where a child easily loses temper and patience with sudden outbursts where the parents bear the brunt. An assistance dog who is extremely mellow will be able to incite the sort of peace and compassion in the child that is unable to feel emotions the same way as so called ‘normal’ children.
I personally have no question over the unfathomable potential energy dogs contain to be able to converted into many useful avenues. The list for possibilities is endless. The sky being the limit for animal companionship, we just need to be more aware of what is around us in terms of need. On the other hand, science needs to direct more interest into animal behaviour in terms of their assistance being vital for humans.
Who knows, maybe this would reduce the cruelty and ignorance that certain humans pose towards all animals, especially dogs and cats. This is a very utopian perspective, farfetched indeed. But the correlation has a slight probability in my opinion.