Service Dogs

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The United States has approximately 56.7 million people who are diagnosed with a disability. In other words, one out of every five people have some kind of disability (“Anniversary” par. 2). With such a large portion of the population being affected, the search for new and innovative treatments becomes essential. One of these alternative treatments is service dogs. Currently, there are approximately 150,000 actively working service dogs assisting the disabled in the United States (“Welcome” par. 4). Service dogs benefit people with disabilities by improving their social, emotional, and physical well-being. The social impact of a disability can be devastating. Often, the disabled are shunned by those without disabilities. Even if the disabled are acknowledged, people interacting with them commonly are uncomfortable with the disability (“Children” par. 6). However, dogs create a significant positive reaction in social situations. In fact, a study conducted proved dogs increased social interactions even among strangers. Also, the study examined how people would respond if the person was dressed poorly with a dog. “The greatest effect was between the dog present and no dog conditions irrespective of the handler’s dress,” the results concluded (McNicholas par. 1). Based on the study, it can be inferred that disabled people will be approached more with a service dog too. Acknowledgement is the beginning step of how service dogs improve social well-being. Once a disabled person is acknowledged, social interactions become easier with a dog.
Research has found service dogs improve the disabled person’s ability to communicate, which is the foundation of social interactions (“Children” par. 5-6). After the foundation of communication is built, “A service dog can be a great icebreaker, encouraging conversation and the formation of friendship” (“Children” par.

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