Learn about the types of assistance animals and their legal rights

Service dog

Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.  

Psychiatric Service Dog

Is a dog that has been trained to perform tasks that assist individuals with disabilities to detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and lessen their effects. Tasks performed by psychiatric service dogs may include providing safety checks, turning on lights for persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, interrupting self-mutilation by persons with dissociative identity disorders, and keeping disoriented individuals from danger.  

Therapy animal

Is an animal that provides comfort to multiple people. They are regulated and certified by individual organizations.


Emotional Support Animal

These support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities.


We offer presentations, staff training, and policy advisement about the legalities and effectiveness of assistance animals.  

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Why is education so important?

With the popularity of assistance animals and the rising concerns of fake service dogs it's important for businesses and individuals to understand their rights so everyone can remain safe.  A service dog is a life line for those in need; dogs in public spaces who are not properly trained pose not only a risk to others, but can also be a dangerous distraction to a working service dog.  

There is a lot of misinformation about service dogs with terms such as 'service dog', 'ESA', ‘comfort dog’ and 'therapy dog' commonly being interchanged.  However each type of assistance animal, in a variety of environments, comes with very specific legal rights that need to be respected and followed.  Businesses, organizations, and handlers all have legal rights to protect everyones safety when applied properly.  Service dogs are a wonderful help to so many people, and we want to keep it that way!