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Thursday, September 03, 2015

Trained Dogs Help Farmers With Disabilities

This New York Times article about a nonprofit that trains and then donates service dogs to help farmers with disabilities is hot off the press. PHARM Dog USA, believed to be the only one of its kind in the U.S., has trained and placed 10 dogs since 2009, and has two more dogs in training. Their goal is to "...help disabled farmers prove they can be as independent as their able-bodied peers."

The dogs, mostly Labrador Retrievers and lab mixes, are trained for service skills like retrieving tools, carrying buckets or opening gates. And border collies are trained in what they're best at: "to herd and help control cattle and other animals." It takes nearly a year to determine if a dog has the right temperament to be a service dog, but the biggest challenge is matching up the right dog with a particular farmer's specific needs, says one Iowa farmer who trains border collies.

We're usually a bit surprised (although we shouldn't be), and always thrilled when we learn of yet another way our canine companions enrich all of our lives. How about you? Had you heard of service dogs specifically trained to help disabled farmers before reading this article?

Yes, another wonderful way dogs are helping humans, while I...beg for treats! Parental Unit is so proud!

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