Home > Gemini's Blog > Service dogs can assist those with neurological issues

Service dogs can assist those with neurological issues

Posted by SusanStokes on January 14, 2017

People with neurological issues have a special type of disability that can manifest in many ways. They may struggle with balance, confusion, and disorientation. Difficultly with communication is common with folks with neurological issues as well as an array of other physical symptoms depending upon the nature of the neurological problem.  A Service Dog just might be the answer for some folks who seek to lead a more normal life but require assistance with everyday tasks that most of us take for granted.

Service Dogs and other service animals are protected under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and therefore must be allowed access along with their human companions to public restaurants, libraries, supermarkets, churches, transportation systems, and more. Service dogs are not limited to one specific breed by the ADA, but there is a check-list of behaviors that a puppy must pass in order to be considered for service dog training.

A service animal’s training is a long and extensive process; a dog’s training, for example, depends upon their human companion’s needs. The list of tasks the dog might perform includes pulling wheelchairs and alerting to sounds such as smoke alarms, the telephone, oven timers, and alarm clocks. Because service animals are able to accompany their human companion to public places, the animal instills confidence in the person that they can navigate their situation to the best of their ability with the assistance of their dog. A service animal is not considered a pet in that sense

We’ll turn our attention now to Gracie, a particular dog who has been identified as a match for Greg Costa, a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor. She is being trained by a company called Wilderwood, the only one in the country at this writing that specializes solely in service dogs for those with neurological issues. They accomplish this miraculous training with a medical staff and trainers who are equipped with a comprehensive understanding of brain disorders and are able to train service dogs with exacting skills for such diagnosis. Gracie is presently undergoing an 18-month long training course, and when she graduates, she’ll be ready to be united with her human companion.

Cropped Gracie service dog training Nov 2016.jpg

Training a service dog does come at a cost - and often this cost is simply not obtainable by the person in need of the dog. In the case of Gracie, we've set up a GoFundMe site to help raise funds to cover the $15K cost and get Gracie home to Greg. Please donate if you can and Share her cause. Sharing is Caring, too!

Watch Gracie as her trainer works with her!


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Stayed tuned for more updates about Gracie's progress and articles about service animals in general.

In the meantime, here is some Recommended Reading:

Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs, and Therapy Dogs - They are all different

Miniature horse awarded certification in pet therapy

Susan, Taurus and Gemini