Some people with certain disabilities use animals to help them do tasks that they are incapable of doing. These animals are also called service animals. They are trained to help their owners to the best of their abilities. You may have seen a blind person walking on the street while being guided by a dog. You may have tried petting that dog, especially if it was a beautiful and cute dog. You may not be aware, but petting service animals that are in the process of fulfilling their tasks should be avoided at all times. This is a lesson that most people should learn and understand.

Service Animals and Human Disabilities

Even though various kinds of animals are trainable to become service animals, a dog is still known as the best one for the job. This is due to the fact that dogs are known to show genuine love and loyalty to their owners. These are very important traits to have for service animals since they are tasked to fulfil very important jobs for their disabled owners. Before discussing the reasons why you need to avoid petting service animals, you should first understand the variety of human disabilities that these service animals can help with. Knowing these abilities will make you understand the seriousness of the situation. You may refer below to some of these well-known disabilities:

Visual impairment

This is the most common disability that most service animals help with. Blind people can rely on service dogs to help them move around. In most cases, service dogs are attached with U-shaped harnesses. These harnesses can be used by their blind owners when issuing directional commands. Service dogs are trained to avoid obstacles that could potentially harm their disabled owners.

Severe allergies

There are service dogs that are tasked to sniff through different things to help their owners avoid exposing themselves to allergens that may be lethal for them. Food is usually the cause of severe allergic reactions. An owner that is allergic to certain kinds of ingredients may not know if the food contains any of these allergens. A service dog will be the one to identify if the food does have the ingredients that the owner is allergic to. The dog will then alert its owner to avoid eating the food.

Diabetes

Service dogs act as alarm systems for people with diabetes. These dogs are trained to detect scent changes that have associations with hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. These events that are related to diabetes can be easily picked up by service dogs. These service dogs are known to alert their owners if their blood sugar levels are getting higher or lower and are getting closer to dangerous levels.

Hearing impairment

Service dogs with owners that have hearing problems are specifically trained to alert their owners if there are certain warning sounds that must be acted upon. When dogs hear alarms, doorbells, ringing of the phone, or any other sudden sounds, they will touch their owners and lead them to where the sounds are coming from.

Do Not Disturb Service Animals at Any Given Time

Seeing that these service animals need to fulfil tasks that may have crucial effects on human life, people should consider staying away from these service animals. The temptation of petting them may be strong, but people should make the lives of the disabled owners the priority. It will never be okay to mess around with service animals at any given time. Even if these service animals may look as if they are not doing anything at the moment, there is still a possibility that the service animals are still working. A person may have multiple disabilities which the service dog is helping with. The dog may be trying to sense if the person’s blood sugar level is reaching dangerous levels. You may not be able to see this, and distracting the service dog can put the owner’s life at a serious risk.

Act Responsibly and Resist the Urge To Pet Service Animals

There may be times when a service animal is the one that is initiating to play with you. Try to avoid making eye contact with the service animal so that it does not get tempted to come near you. You must resist the urge to pet the animal, and you must instead inform its owner so that the owner will be the one to correct the service animal.