Posted on Monday, October 8th, 2012

The Lowdown on Working Dogs


Chances are you’ve stumbled across a Lab or Retriever on the train during your morning commute. These dogs are always calm, collected and quiet as they watch the aisles, helping their owner navigate safely. When one’s own experiences with dogs are rambunctious and playful, it’s a shock to see an animal acting like – well – a professional! But that’s exactly what these dogs are up to. Dog breeds for service animals range far and wide, from the intelligent Labradors to the loyal little Beagles. Service dogs work in a variety of different industries as well. Take a look at some of these jobs being held down by America’s hardest-working dogs.

1. Police dogs. The brave dogs of K-9 units across the United States range from the jowly and adorable Bloodhound to the loyal and majestic German Shepherd, according to DogTime.com. Police dogs are trained to take advantage of their excellent senses of hearing and smell, often adopting a number of different roles common to service dogs – from search and rescue to drug sniffing. According to Pawnation.com, police dogs are starting to get outfitted with bulletproof and stab-proof Kevlar vests which greatly increase their safety when in the field. Unfortunately these vests come with a hefty price tag of around $1,500. Luckily there are organizations like Vest’N P.D.P that raises money to buy these vests for police dogs across the country!

2. Guide dogs. These are the kinds of dogs you see often in public, proving the old maxim about man’s best friend. Guide dogs help the blind, deaf or handicapped navigate public spaces. While guiding a person from one room to another at home or in a building might not seem like much of a feat, keep in mind that these dogs abide by the rules of traffic – a test of intelligence a lot of humans can’t pass!

3. Therapy dogs. With breeds as varied as the locales, these dogs are employed in nursing homes, psychiatric offices, hospitals, schools and even libraries, to name a few. Dogs help lower blood pressure, alleviate debilitating depression and even teach kids to read. These animals go beyond being merely therapeutic, and the training is minimal. Most therapy dogs are born with the disposition and gentleness for their jobs.

As service dogs aren’t doing it for the paycheck, how can you show your thanks? Dog adoption is one way! Why not offer to raise or foster a dog for a service organization? Or, have your current pet evaluated for a job as a therapy dog, if you think he or she has the right demeanor. Volunteering your time or offering donations to service dog organizations is also helpful. Has your life been impacted by the care of a service dog? This content post is brought to you by the pet experts at Hartz.