There are two groups of dogs that are commonly confused.

Therapy Dogs

The first group are therapy dogs, emotional support dogs and companion dogs. These dogs are wonderful friends often visiting assisted living facilities and hospitals where everyone can pet and enjoy them or they may be the soul companion of one individual that takes great comfort in having them around. These dogs do not have a specific skill set and are not federally protected which means they do not have any public access privileges.

 

Service Dogs (aka medical service dogs or assistance dogs)

The second group of dogs are medical service dogs, service dogs or assistance dogs. Those are all different names for the same type of working dogs. These dogs have had the appropriate training and possess specific skill sets that mitigate the challenges of a disability and can often take the place of a care giver for a mentally or physically disabled individual. Because of the advanced training these dogs have, they are recognized and protected by federal law and cannot be denied access into a public venue. Some of the more common disabilities for which these dogs are trained would be Mobility, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Autism, Seizure Alert, Insulin Alert, Hearing Assistance and Seeing Eye dogs.