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Assistance dog

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An assistance dog is a dog that has been trained to help people with disabilities. Assistance dogs have been employed to help the following:

  • blind people (guide or Seeing Eye dogs),
  • deaf people,
  • people with balance problems,
  • physically-challenged people, and
  • mentally-challenged people

with a variety of tasks in day-to-day life.

In most of North America it is a legal requirement to admit assistance dogs and assistance-dogs-in-training to public facilities and services, even those that forbid other dogs. In the U.S., under the Americans with Disabilities Act, assistance dog handlers have the same legal rights to public access with their dogs as guide dog handlers have enjoyed for many years.

The terms service dog and assistance dog are generally used interchangably. Those who make a distinction are more apt to use the term service dog when the service rendered by the animal requires physical strength.

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