A Service Dog can be an incredible asset to people living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a progressive neurological disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It causes weakness and mobility loss and can lead to difficulty with speech, swallowing, and managing everyday tasks such as eating, dressing, and bathing.
How Service Dogs Help People Living With ALS
• Help With Mobility
Balance is often an issue for those with ALS, and a Service Dog can help a person stay upright when walking or moving around the house. In addition, Service Dogs can be trained to help a person up from a fall.
Mobility issues can also make it challenging for a person with ALS to get dressed and undressed. A Service Dog can help a person take off clothing, socks, shoes, and other accessories.
In addition, a Service Dog can help a person use a wheelchair. For example, they can assist their person get in and out of the chair by providing physical support and pulling a wheelchair up a ramp.
A Service Dog can also help their owner to maintain their balance, encouraging them to get out and about and become more active, rather than being cooped up at home all the time.
• Help With Everyday Tasks
An ALS Service Dog will be able to assist with a variety of tasks around the house.
› Retrieve medication, dropped items, remotes, cellphone and more.
› Turn lights on and off
› Load/unload washers and dryers
› Carry groceries and other weight appropriate items
› Open and shut doors
• Reduce Stress and Lift Spirits
Because ALS is a progressive disease, the symptoms can get worse over time. One of the biggest challenges for people with ALS is feeling alone and isolated because they lose control over their bodies. Service Dogs can help people with ALS feel less lonely by being there when they need some companionship or company.
Service Dogs are trained to be comfortable around other people, which helps reduce the sense of isolation that many ALS patients feel as they become less able to do things independently. Having a Service Dog beside them can lessen loneliness and help people maintain independence in daily activities.
Service Dogs Are Specially Trained for the Person They Will Be Helping
Service Dogs are trained to assist people with specific tasks. For example, training can include helping a person with balance issues or opening and closing doors and drawers for someone with limited manual dexterity. Service Dogs also help people with mobility issues by providing balance, stability, and support as needed — all things that make daily life easier when you have ALS.
ALS Makes Life Harder, But a Service Dog Can Make Things Much Better
ALS is a devastating disease that robs people of their ability to walk, talk, eat and do many other things that most of us take for granted.
A Service Dog can help with all the things ALS makes difficult: getting dressed, going to the bathroom, getting in and out of bed or a wheelchair, walking outside, and any other daily tasks that are challenging.
Help Us Change Lives
Service Dogs can change the life of someone with ALS or any disability. If you or a loved one have ALS, contact ECAD to learn more or apply for a Service Dog.
Service Dogs keep people with disabilities safe, enabling them to lead independent lives. Everyone can take part in helping people with disabilities with Service Dogs. Support us with a donation, bequest, or planned giving, contribute to our wish list, or create a fundraiser of your own. Your support can change someone’s life.