“When he's out in public with me he's working,” said service dog owner Mike Chasse.
Chasse has had his service dog Caleb, for six years after he became a quadriplegic after a skiing accident.
“I got Caleb after being a quad for about four years, and life's been a lot better with this buddy,” said Chasse.
Chasse says there are a variety of jobs service dogs perform
“Basically they're there to perform some sort of function that person with a disability can't do on their own. For a hearing impaired person they might alert that person if there's a sound or a phone call,” said Chasse.
Chasse also explained how service dogs provide a lot of help to people with a physical disability like himself
“Caleb will allow me to pick up things if I drop them, or open doors, or turn lights on and off. Basically what my service dog does is allow me to be independent and do things that I can't on my own,” said Chasse.
Service dogs go through years of training to serve as an aid for a person with a specific disability
“He had two years of very extensive training that ended with six months at a facility with professional trainers. There's this extreme vetting process where they really make sure that the service dog and the individual that is going to use the service dog are matched together,” said Chasse.
Service dogs are also allowed in in public facilities and buildings.
“Based on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and due to all of Caleb's training, and the fact that I have him certified, Caleb's allowed to go anywhere that I'm able to go, restaurants, businesses,” explained Chasse.
At the end of the day when the vest comes off, Caleb is free to play
“Just like anyone that works he has his time off where he can play and rough house and be a dog,” said Chasse.
But mostly Chasse would like people to understand the impact service dogs can have
“What an incredible function and role they make in society. As somebody with a very significant disability Caleb is the difference between me being safe and me being independent or not,” said Chasse.
And although they provide a lot of emotional support, service dogs make a huge difference for those with a disability.