Service Dogs of Virginia trains dogs in the following areas:
Physical Assistance – these dogs are trained to assist people in wheelchairs with tasks such as opening doors, picking up items, getting the phone, and so much more.
Autism Service – these dogs are trained to assist autistic children and their families by preventing children from impulsively running off, facilitating easier transitions from one activity to the next, assisting with social interactions, improving communication, and more.
Diabetic Alert – these dogs are trained to alert owners to low blood glucose thereby helping to prevent short-term health consequences such as passing out or having seizures, as well as long-term consequences such as early death, loss of limbs and blindness that result from uncontrolled blood sugar swings. Amazingly, a well-trained dog is more reliable than available technology for “brittle” diabetics.
We only place service dogs with clients who live in Virginia as both dogs and people require periodic “tune ups.” When a program is geographically inaccessible, people go without help reducing the effectiveness of their canine helpmates. SDV makes a commitment to provide ongoing training and support for each individual with which it places a dog. If an individual’s needs change, SDV provides additional training to customize their dog’s commands and tasks. This ongoing relationship also provides us the opportunity to observe each dog’s progress and to ensure it is being utilized to its maximum benefit.
Education – In addition to the above programs, we consider educating the general public about service dogs an important adjunct program. From speaking to a wide variety of groups to having open houses and other public events, SDV staff and volunteers inform people about the importance of service dogs, their training, and their impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities.