© Tammie Rogers 2020

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Turn a Diagnosis into a Task We   often   receive   calls   from   people   who   tell      us   their   medical   diagnosis   and   then   ask      whether   a      Service   Dog   can   help them.      A      diagnosis   cannot   tell   us   whether   a   dog   can      help   you.      We   are   not      doctors   and   so   we   may      not   know   what   it means to have your condition.    Prior   to   contacting   us,   please   think   with   great   clarity   regarding   what   behaviors   you   would   want   a      dog   to   perform   that would   mitigate   your      disability   in   some   way.      Only   then   can   we   meet   in   the      middle   between   the      “Dog   Trainer”   and   the “Client” in order to assess whether using a trained   dog is the best way for you to gain some relief from your disability.     An   example   behavior   might      be,   “I   would   like   the   dog   to   stand   still   to   brace      me   when   I   get   out   of   a chair”,   or   “I   would      like   my   dog   to   lay   across   my   lap   when   I   begin   to   become   anxious   or   hyper- vigilant.”   The   fringe   benefits   of   emotional   support,   companionship   or   even   the   extra      ears   and eyes   that   a      companion   dog   can   offer   will   always   be   available   to      you   and   may   often   seem   to   be the   greatest      advantage   on   any   given   day      with   your   Service   Dog.      However,   it   is   not   a   trained   task and   cannot      be   the      sole   defining   attribute   of   a   Service   Dog.      We   must   teach   a   Service   Dog      tasks that mitigate  your specific disability to meet the ADA’s definition of a trained  Service Dog.