Service Dogs

Service Dogs are Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Assistance Dogs.  Any kind of assistance animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the owner  including, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.


After Debra’s doctor suggested that a Service Dog would be helpful for her, she researched and found the Alaska Assistance Dogs. The Founder of AlaskaAssistanceDogs was trained at the The Bergin institute, the originators of the service dog program. Now the Bergin institute has grown into the Bergin University.  


Debra joined the AlaskaAssistanceDogs where she was trained with a group of dogs (Stryker included) given basic obedience training. Basic training includes; sit, stay, go, down,  pick things up, hand to the handler, turn on light switches, open cabernet doors. 


While Debra was being trained, Stryker the trainers recognized that Stryker attached himself to her. Debra knew she was adopted. When Stryker moved in with Debra their basic training was done.  From there, Stryker and Debra met with the Trainers from Alaska Assistance Dogs in various places in the community to continue. They went to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lows, Fred Meyers and local parks. Skyler was taught to ignore distractions, parking lot behavior so he is safe and other skills.


   . ASt trained some of the local dogs She met with them and bThe founders attended the burgin institue.  


 The mission of Bergin University is: 

“To advance the human-canine partnership through research and education by offering quality instruction in human and canine studies to postsecondary students worldwide interested in furthering their knowledge of themselves and the role of the dog in human society; through the University’s up-to-date, in-depth academic coursework, to provide students an opportunity to expand their knowledge for scholarly or career purposes or enhance their knowledge of their own specialties through the unique viewpoint provided by human-canine studies.

Debra had found great benefits from her relationship with her service dog, Stryker. 


Service dogs help where needed

Stryker helps Debra get up out of chairs,  helps her stand up if she falls, opens doors, picks up stuff when dropped in addition to providing minimal protection.

 Service dogs aren’t for everyone  

A service dog can help combat fatigue if the caregiver is willing to assist with the care of the dog. It’s important to realize that without that support, owning the service dog would add more work and responsibility.

With the caregiver’s support, having a well-trained service dog that will work hard to make life easier for you. For many people, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks. 

Pets Can Reduce Stress  

Talking can be very therapeutic and research shows that talking to a pet is even more powerful than talking with a friend.  Research shows when completing a stressful task, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them even more than with a friend or even their spouse! 

Pets Persuade You To Get Out And Exercise: 

Often when we have MS we can’t get out to walk with the dog.  In Debra’s situation, her caregiving husband, Pat is the one who receives the benefits of exercise with Stryker.  Because of their daily walks, Pat’s diabetes, sugar levels, is under control. 

Debra is very satisfied with her relationship with Stryker. Debra and Pat’s team approach has helped her enjoy the benefits of Stryker, her service dog.

For more information, visit Bergin University right here.

Have you or do you know anyone who has felt the benefits of a Service Dog?  Have you thought of getting one for  yourself? Tell me in the comments below.


Pets Can Improve Your Mood:

For those who love animals, it’s virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy eyes meets yours, or when a super-soft cat rubs up against your hand. Research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of pets. A recent study found that men with AIDS were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet. (According to one study, men with AIDS who did not own a pet were about three times more likely to report symptoms of depression than men who did not have AIDS. But men with AIDS who had pets were only about 50 percent more likely to report symptoms of depression, as compared to men in the study who did not have AIDS.) 

Pets Control Blood Pressure Better Than Drugs: 

Yes, it’s true. While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. However, in a recent study, groups of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t get pets. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got pets!

Pets Can Help With Social Support: 

When we’re out walking, having a dog with us can make us more approachable and give people a reason to stop and talk, thereby increasing the number of people we meet, giving us an opportunity to increase our network of friends and acquaintances, which also has great stress management benefits.

Pets Stave Off Loneliness and Provide Unconditional Love:

Pets can be there for you in ways that people can’t. They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and are excellent snugglers. And they could be the best antidote to loneliness. In fact, research shows that nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by dogs than when they spent time with other people! All these benefits can reduce the amount of stress people experience in response to feelings of social isolation and lack of social support from people.