Man’s best friend helps enormously

Working dogs assist with day-to-day life


About 89.7 million dogs live in the United States; around 500,000 of those dogs are service dogs.

Hallie Spielman, Editorial Editor

Upon hearing the word “dog,” the first thing to come to mind is often a friendly creature who just wants to play and receive love. However, another class of dogs known as “working dogs” has a different picture.

In this case, working dogs classify as service and therapy dogs. Working dogs are vital to society; they provide people with emotional comfort. Others are an important factor in their owners’ lives. Some are used for protecting others.

No matter how someone may feel about animals, especially dogs, working dogs are incredibly important.

Dogs such as New Sewickley Police Department’s police dog undergo rigorous training. Dogs who get involved with training start at a young age. Often, the dogs who make it through all of their training have breed-specific traits that assist with the job that they were prepared for. For example, dog breeds with good noses can become service dogs who alert their owners for issues like dropping or increasing blood sugar.

Other important working dogs include service dogs, which undergo many tests and long training in order to be certified. Some service dogs cost up to $25,000 for all the care and two years of training, in addition to organization fees.

According to the American Kennel Club, “the dropout rate for organization-trained service dogs can be as high as 50 to 70 percent.”

In order for dogs to even be considered for training, they have to meet characteristics and basic animal training, such as having a tendency to follow and being able to focus on the handler.

While service dogs work everywhere, another variety of working dogs is therapy dogs, who work in settings such as hospitals, schools or nursing homes. The most important feature that differentiates therapy dogs from service dogs is that therapy dogs “provide comfort and affection to people in a facility setting” as said on

“Therapy dog candidates should be naturally calm, friendly and affectionate to strangers,” the American Kennel Club said.  

Working dogs — either service, therapy or other types— provide services to better the lives of humankind who are in need of any specific type of service.

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight — it’s the size of the fight in the dog,” President Dwight Eisenhower said.  

The most important qualities of dogs are not the size of the dogs, it’s the size of the dogs’ hearts. Dogs bring happiness into their owners’ lives. Working dogs bring happiness, protection and purpose.

Just like the New Sewickley police dog, all working dogs are highly trained. Working dogs become vital to those that they work for. Just like all dogs, working dogs are loving creatures who enjoy playing and being dogs.