by Delinda VanneBrightyn
according to dictionary.com: "assistance - noun 1. the act of assisting; aid; help; support."
But, we all know it is much more complex than that.
Assistance can seem daunting for some, a complete god-send for others, and to be avoided at all costs by still another. Assistance can mean a dependence on someone or something that seems to take away one's own independence. But if we open our minds and hearts. it can also mean that it gives someone the ability to become independent again!
No matter how one views assistance, as a burden or a blessing, the gift of assistance is a two-way street. The dogs we train give assistance to someone, but they will also be dependent on their person to feed them, to make sure their medical and basic needs are met. They will receive bonding and friendship from their person and the assistance they give their person will fulfill the deep need to work and have purpose in life. So, at DOG ON IT!, we like to think of the relationship with an assistance dog as one of mutual aid. The dog gives to us and we give back to them.
Dogs can do things for us we cannot do at all or cannot do without help. For the past 17 years, dogs have assisted me in search and rescue. I have relied on their keen sense of smell to tell me if any person is out there or not, or if a specific person is out there or not. I am completely dependent on them for that nose of theirs, but they are dependent on me to carry their water, to read their signals, to help them cover the area thoroughly and understand the limitations and safety issues that the area presents. We are a finely-tuned team of mutual respect and assistance.
So thus, assistance is mutual. No matter what their needs, the Recipients of an assistance dog will also be giving to the dog too! At DOG ON IT!, we work with the dog and the Recipient together to learn about and understand this important relationship and how it is a win-win for two-leggeds and 4-leggeds alike!