Friday, June 1, 2007

Doggie Fun Facts

There are about 73 million dogs owned in the U.S., according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Web site (www.hsus.org).

Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households have at least one dog.

Twenty-five percent of U.S. households own two dogs.

Fourteen percent of U.S. households have three or more dogs.

Assistance dogs are changing too. They can be a lot smaller than one might expect. There are now mental disabilities that qualify having a psychiatric service dog. The dogs are trained to assist the handler with a psychiatric disability, such as bipolar or post-traumatic stress disorders, autism, and schizophrenia. The Americans with Disabilities Act says the majority of the dog's work is to provide environmental assessment such as dealing with paranoia or hallucinations. The dog may respond to ''alerting behaviors'' like interrupting repetitive behaviors or reminding the handler to take his/her medications. The dog may also be trained to recognize the onset of epileptic seizures. You don't have to be big to do those things.

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