There were approximately 78 booths at the People in Need Forum this past Saturday at McHenry County College. Several of those with booths also gave presentations. Among these were Janet Domrase of Aldens Kennels, Ringwood, IL., and Jodie Diegel, with Mane in Heaven, who gave presentations on ‘Therapy Animals.’
Diegal discussed the therapy ponies she works with. Handlers bring the ponies to hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and other venues where they provide encouragement for people with illnesses and disabilities, including illnesses of the aged.
Domrase’s discussion was broader. She discussed the following types of service dogs:
- Guide Dogs: These usually serve the blind and those who are visually impaired.
Hearing Dogs: These dogs alert people who are deaf or have hearing disorders when, for instance, the doorbell rings, when alarm clocks go off, or when the smoke alarm is triggered.
- Mobility Dogs: Mobility dogs open doors, pick objects up, pull wheelchairs and provide stability for the people they serve.
- Medical Alert Dogs: These amazing dogs can notice a change in a person’s chemistry. They generally serve people with diabetes or epilepsy.
- Psychiatric Service Dogs: These are companion and comfort dogs for those with anxiety disorders. They also perform miracles for those with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), such as servicemen who have seen combat.
Her presentation also covered such matters as where different types of service dogs are allowed. For instance, those with disabilities are legally allowed to bring their service dogs into businesses, motels, hotels and have them with them in housing that otherwise restricts pets. They can also take their dogs on public transportation.
Therapy dogs, as with therapy ponies, is brought to people in hospitals, nursing homes and hospices, for instance, by a handler. They interact with the person who has a disability or illness and can have a dramatic effect on the person’s state of mind and health. They are not, however, allowed into businesses under the same standards as dogs that serve those with disabilities.
Domrase also spoke about insurance that may be needed for service dogs. Some homeowner policies may cover service dogs. However, she recommended that those with service dogs check with their insurance providers before a situation arises.