Tammie Decroteau has multiple sclerosis. Her service dog Logan helps her with simple tasks throughout the day. She says that Logan’s companionship has been ‘life-changing’ for her. Service dogs are trained to fit an individual’s specific needs related to their disability. Tammie discusses the tasks Logan can perform and how she acquired him in hopes to educate others who are looking for a service animal.
Related Tasks For MS Service Dogs
Here are a few tasks Logan can assist Tammie with:
- Picking up items off the floor
- Fetching a cellphone from a table
- Nudging a light switch with her nose
- Opening a refrigerator by pulling a rope wrapped around the door handle
Service dogs for people with multiple sclerosis can also be trained to assist with balance or to help their owners get up from the floor by bracing their bodies for their owners to lean on.
Getting a Service Dog
Dr. Ellen Lathi, a neurologist and medical director of the Elliot Lewis MS Center, gives the following advice for those looking to get a service dog:
- Buy a dog and train it yourself. She admits this is a difficult process, unless you are a dog trainer.
- Purchase a dog and hire a private dog trainer to teach the animal MS-related commands, like to fetch fallen objects.
- Look for an organization (non profit or for profit) that trains service dogs for people with MS.
Keep in mind that getting a service dog is a long process.
“There’s a lot of loss in MS, and many patients become isolated. The dog is there to listen to you, look into your eyes and cuddle up. They give you purpose.”
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