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Service Dogs vs Therapy Dogs

Mike Sagman

A practicing dentist for more than four decades, Mike Sagman, DDS, retired in 2014. Dr. Mike Sagman also stands out as longtime animal welfare activist and a supporter of therapy and service dogs.

Although therapy dogs and service dogs both help people, their specific roles are very different. A service dog is assigned to a person with a disability and is specially trained to help that person live safely and independently.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and related laws protect the right of dogs who fit these characteristics to accompany their owners in public places, regardless of existing no-pet policies.
In addition, the dog must be housebroken, non-disruptive, and leashed if possible under the conditions of the dog's service.
Therapy dogs are not trained to meet the needs of a particular person, but instead are trained to socialize with and offer support to many different people.
Therapy dogs may visit a variety of settings, from schools and daycares to hospitals and nursing homes.
However, because they are not exempt from pet-exclusion policies, they are legally permitted to enter a building only by special prior agreement with the property owner.

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