September 22, 2012
Animals: Working For a Living There are many different types of animals that work for us. There are three types of service animals that help the disabled. Guide animals assist the blind, hearing animals signal the deaf, and there are many other animals that help persons with other disabilities. Another way that animals work for us is by providing emotional support to those with mental health issues. These animals are usually prescribed by a doctor and they are called emotional support animals. One last way that we can see an animal working is in the military. There are many military working dogs that serve to protect us just as a soldier would, and it has been this way throughout history. Let us look in on Marley and see the work that he is doing for his people. Marley is a happy-go-lucky Golden Retriever. Marley is a therapy dog that belongs to Melissa, an occupational therapist who works for the Program for Students with Physical Disabilities in a local school district where she lives. She and Marley start their day in the classroom. Jaison, a student, cannot talk, and most of his reactions to his surroundings are either laughing or crying. He is very hesitant to work with Melissa, but with the help of Marley, has been able to come around. Jaison would brush Marley and pet him like they were old buddies. As a matter of fact, after a year of working with Melissa and Marley, Jaison began to utter short words like hello, bye, mommy, yes, and no. As Melissa continues to work with Jaison, you can hear Jaison giving short commands to Marley (sit, down, and catch ball). Melissa is amazed as Jaison is even calling Marley, giving him a treat, and calling him “good boy”. Since Melissa and Marley began working together as a team, there have been many more kids that have accomplished more than they would have accomplished without the use of a therapy
References: Crawford, J. J., & Pomerinke, K. A. (2003). Therapy Pets: The Animal-Human Healting Partership. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled. (n.d.). Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled. Retrieved from http://www.monkeyhelpers.org Psychiatric Service Dog Society. (2012). Psychiatric Service Dog Society. Retrieved from http://psychdog.org Rogak, L. (2011). The Dogs of War: The Courage, Love, and Loyalty of Military Working Dogs. New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books.