By: Katie Simpson
If you have ever owned a dog you know how hard it is to get them to sit, much less roll over. But Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services, or PAALS, trains dogs to do much more for people with disabilities and autism.
Jennifer Rogers, the owner of PAALS, gets in a wheel chair to teach service dogs, like Casper. The dogs are trained from when they are three days old until the are about two. The dogs are very helpful to their owners.
"Our dogs do everything from turning on lights to getting someone in an emergency, and can do pressure relief to help calm children down," said PAALS Owner, Jennifer Rogers.
The dogs train everyday and are graded on their work. They do exercises like having someone sit on the ground, like an autistic child would do, during a fit and the dog will lay on top of them in a "hug" position for up to twenty minutes.
Rogers pairs each dog with their new owner based on what their strengths are, and what their owners need from them.
"For me that's the most fun part because I am really challenged because each person is different to train for so we are constantly learning and the dogs are constantly training us too," says Rogers
Some dogs are sensitive to touch so PAALS intern, Courtney, works with one filing his nails. This helps teach the dogs how to behave during uncomfortable situation.
If you would like to be placed with a PAALS service dog you must fill out an application, have your doctors submit a letter of recommendation and have an in-person session with the dogs.