Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php:3) in /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php on line 3

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php:3) in /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php on line 3
Service animals | Spokane
Service Animals

  • A service animal is “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability…regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.”  (Americans with Disabilities Act - ADA) 

    Some service animals are guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired. Some are hearing dogs for the deaf and hard of hearing.  Some dogs assist people with other disabilities. 

    Some service animals are trained to serve in police work and the military.  They can learn to detect bombs and land mines, and perform search, rescue and recovery. 

    Other service animals could include monkeys, pigeons, dolphins, and miniature horses.

  • Service dogs.   Many service dogs are rescued from local shelters.

    These dogs are trained to open doors, ring doorbells, retrieve objects, operate light switches, pick up objects, summon help, alert hearing-impaired people to sounds, pull wheelchairs, activate elevator buttons, carry, fetch, pull laundry in and out of the washer and dryer, alert their owner to oncoming seizures and drops in blood pressure, and other helpful tasks.

    Service dogs are also trained to help people who suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) such as veterans and others who have experienced traumatic events like combat exposure, abuse, terrorist attack, assault, serious accident or natural disaster.  There is a biological reason that the dogs make people feel better.  There is a biochemical reaction when they are around the dog and endorphins are released.  The dogs help their owners calm down, cope with crowd anxiety, personal space and mobility issues common to PTSD. 

    Becoming a service dog is very difficult, because few have the right temperament.  Dog training begins at about age one, and lasts about a year.  Only about 24% of the dogs complete this training. 

  • Therapy Animals.  Therapy animals are not the same as "service animals."  They are animals that are used to visit hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools, and other facilities. 

What You Can Do
  • Therapy dogs.  Help an organization which uses animals as therapy.  A therapy dog can be paired with an able-bodied person who takes the dog into hospitals and nursing homes to visit patients, to help them feel better, and to assist with their physical therapy, such as helping with motor skills.  Therapy dogs perform their tasks by invitation.  
  • Guide dogs for the blind.  Help raise a puppy which will be trained as a guide dog for people with blindness or other physical and developmental disabilities.   Less than 10% of people wanting and qualifying for a service dog are able to get one, most waiting from 2 to 10 years to get a trained dog.  
  • Help raise a service dog which will be trained to help a disabled person.  Service dogs allow a disabled person to be more independent and to help prevent injury.  Those who benefit from service dogs are the sight and hearing impaired, diabetics, and those with balance or seizure conditions.  
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

LynnDee's Grooming and Dog Training Center

(509) 838-0596
2704 N. Colville Rd
Spokane, WA  99224
Contact:  Debbie Wing
Email:  dlynndees@aol.com
Contact for information on training or acquiring a service dog to help mediate a disability. They also provide Pet Partner Handler Workshops and Therapy Dog Skills Training classes for those who wish to become Registered Pet Partners teams.

L.E.A.D. Training Program (Loyal Encouraging Assistance Dog Training Program) assists people with disabilities in training their own service dogs and offering ongoing support to them.  They work with both therapy and service dogs trained to help the disabled and veterans with PTSD. 

HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response is a program which trains dogs to provide comfort to people affected by disasters.  These special dogs must be able to manage unpredictable, stressful situations. 

Pawsitive Outreach Affiliate of the Pet Partner Program supports activities and therapies promoting human/animal contacts for healing, comfort, companionship and improvement to the client's overall well-being. 

Service Dog Training Institute - ONLINE courses

SDTI - FREE course: "Choosing a Service Dog"

IAADP Minimum Training Standards for Public Access
(International Association of Assistance Dog Partners)

Selecting an Adult Service Dog Candidate


Assistance Dogs Northwest
Bainbridge, WA
(206) 321-0592

Summit Assistance Dogs

Anacortes , WA

Brigadoon Service Dogs
Bellingham, WA

Prison Pet Partnership
Gig Harbor, WA


Service Dog Central
- Washington State

ADA Access Regs Revised 2010: Service Animals

The Difference Between an Emotional Support Dog & Psychiatric Service Dog

Article about Fake Service dogs - from Anything Pawsable