GGC Committee - Service Dogs

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." - Roger Caras.

"Spirit" - our poster Dog, named at the 2018 GGC Sessions.

In 2015, at the 48th Triennial Assembly of the General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, Service Dog was established as the primary & permanent identifying charity of the General Grand Chapter along with the adoption of a Service Dog Committee as a new Standing Committee. The overall goal of the program is for the general public to identify Eastern Star with Service Dogs (just as the Shriners are recognized with the Shrine Hospitals). While this resolution creates a standing Service Dog Committee charged with placing Services Dogs at the forefront of our identifiable charitable efforts, it is not intended to replace support of our other important and long-standing charities of our WGMs/WGPs and New Brunswick Grand Chapter.

What is a Service Dog?

1. Service Dogs are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Some local laws define Service Dogs more broadly.)
2. Service dogs undergo extensive training to perform their jobs.
3. Service dogs perform a variety of different tasks.
4. Service dogs are NOT pets. Do not pet, talk to, or distract a working service dog.
5. The only types of animals recognized as trained to do work/perform tasks for people with disabilities are dogs and miniature horses.
6. Service dogs can be any breed or size. While larger dogs such as Labradors are commonly used as guide and mobility dogs, smaller dogs can also be service dogs.
7. Service dogs should (but don't always) wear special harnesses or vests with patches identifying them as service, guide, or medical alert dogs.
8. A Service dog is expected to behave in accordance with strict standards, and its handler is expected to adhere to service dog hander etiquette.
9. Service dogs are allowed access to any place that is open to the public, however can be asked to leave if not under control.
10. A service dog must be accompanying a disabled person in order to be granted access. The rights of the disabled handler are protected - not the dog. Remember, not all types of disabilities are apparent to others. There are different types of Service dogs: guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs, mobility dogs, medical alert dogs, medical assistance dogs, and psychiatric service dogs.

Service Dog Clients:

Clients have a wide range of disabilities including spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis (MS), muscular dystrophy (MD), cerebral palsy (CP), osteogenesis imperfecta, fibromyalgia, and severe arthritis, seizure disorders like epilepsy, uncontrolled diabetes, blood pressure, PTSD & autism.

Guide Dogs:

The most familiar type of service dog is the Guide Dog that is trained to help blind or visually impaired people. Serving as the eyes for their master, the dog assists in what we would consider everyday activity such as navigating around obstacles that could cause injuries and guiding them through traffic.

Hearing Dogs:

These specially trained dogs are sometime referred to as signal dogs. They alert their owner to sounds by approaching their owner and then by going back to the source of the sound. Doorbells, phones, smoke alarms, crying babies, microwave bell and even computer alerts are detected by Hearing Dogs.

Mobility Assist Dogs:

Pulling a wheelchair, carrying things in a backpack, retrieving items on the floor or perhaps opening or closing a door are some of the responsibilities performed by this canine. Many people have a Mobility Assist Dog who also aids them in getting dressed.

Diabetic Assist Dogs:

Diabetes Assist Dogs are trained to monitor smells in the air for a specific scent on the human breath that is related to rapidly dropping or low blood sugar levels. They are then trained to “alert" the person with diabetes, usually by touching them in a significant way such as pawing or nudging them. This alerts the person to check his or her blood sugar level. These specially trained dogs can detect when a life-threatening event is about to happen up to 20 minutes before the occurrence.

Seizure Aiert/Response Dogs:

The moments that go by when a person is having a seizure can be life threatening. Those moments are when this specialized service dog goes into action, perhaps dialing 911 by pawing at a button on the phone. When the 911 Operator hears the dog barking, they immediately notify emergency personnel to respond.

Psychiatric Service Dogs:

Helping a person suffering from agoraphobia or a fear of being in a public place is the job for this type of service dog. The dog is trained to never leave their handler and to keep the person calm. Many veterans suffer with PTSD because of a combat situation and a Psychiatric Service Dog can help assist with reassurance and being supportive in their time of need. This dog is also known as a "Therapy Dog".

Autism Assist Dogs:

This dog provides a unique approach to helping families who have a child with autism. Any pet provides a loving environment for children, but this dog can help keep a child from bolting or wandering. The canine's calming influence on the child and specially trained abilities help prevent a child from repetitive movements which are common among those with autism.

Combo Dogs:

Training dogs for people with multiple disabilities is the goal of several programs. These Combo Dogs help assist individuals with many tasks. The dog could assist a person who is paraplegic gain mobility and perform other tasks as required.

Police Dogs:

Even though this type of dog is not recognized by the ADA as a "Service Dog", they do provide a service to our communities. By detecting drug material or assisting an Officer in curtailing crime within the community, these K-9 warriors are working to benefit mankind. The Order of the Eastern Star is proud to include Police Dogs within the allowable boundaries of our support efforts.

Search, Rescue & Recovery Dogs:

Whenever a K-9 places the safety of others before himself, he is performing a service to mankind. The members of the Order identify the importance of these dogs and the role they play in searching, rescuing and recovering. Therefore Search. Rescue and Recovery Dogs are to be considered a part of the Service Dogs Program.

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