© Tammie Rogers 2021

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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.