Recently, the movie A Dog’s Purpose was presented on the big screen in theaters across the nation but not without considerable controversy after a video surfaced alleging abusive treatment of the German Shepherd in the film. Abuse of an animal should never be acceptable behavior, but through all of the controversy, it opens up discussion about what really is a dog’s purpose. Specifically, what is a service dog’s purpose?
The movie is based on a novel about a devoted dog who discovers the meaning of existence through the lives of the humans the dog teaches to laugh and love. The book and the movie touches on the concept of reincarnation and express a dog’s journey through several lives, looking for his purpose through each of his lives. Through a course of events, the dog is eventually reunited through death with his original owner.
Regardless of any true or underlying movie controversies or what your beliefs are of reincarnation, the movie does spark conversation about what a dog’s purpose truly is. More precisely, what is a service dog’s purpose?
For starters, the obvious answer is that a service dog is here to help humans with disabilities. In the process, a service dog becomes so much more to their owners.
What is A Service Dog’s Purpose?
1. A service dog provides 24-hour companionship to their human partners.
2. A service dog allows the owner to have self sufficiency. When a disabled person has a service dog, he or she is less likely to need to constantly ask others for assistance. An added benefit to this is that it gives the person the ability to conquer feelings of hopelessness or feeling as if they are nothing but an imposition on others.
3. A service dog reduces caregiver expenses. When you have a service dog, you typically will need less human help with chores or tasks. Service dogs are trained to help with tasks such as shopping and are trained to assist their human partner in other ways.
4. A service dog provides the owner with a sense of personal security. Service dogs are trained to assist, but an unexpected benefit is that they become a guardian to their humans. The dogs are trained to be well mannered, so their protection will not come in the form of aggressive behavior to others, but their very existence is often enough to send a would-be burglar or attacker running.
5. Having a service dog also means that someone must walk and care for the dog. This encourages the owner to exercise with the dog daily, and as a side benefit, the owner often enjoys the health benefits that follow. Exercise has been proven to delay the effects of aging and to help build bones and muscles and help the owner to stay limber. Having a service dog provides daily opportunities for activities such as throwing a ball, going on walks, grooming the dog, tossing a Frisbee, or playing tug-o-war rope chew toy games.
6. A service dog provides psychological support. They are a loyal friend who gives affection during tough times and unconditional loving companionship all the time.
7. A service dog provides their human partners with social interaction. Those with disabilities often feel isolated. Having a service dog is often the catalyst which encourages others to feel comfortable enough to approach someone with a disability.
Listed are only a handful of a service dog’s purpose. If that service dog belongs to you or a loved one, you no doubt have an even longer list to share.
Our tails are wagging in thanks to Tere J. Scott who contributed this article, just for the readers of MyMagicDog.com. Thank you Tere!