National Service Dog Month, which occurs during the month of September, is a time to educate the community about the benefits of service dogs and the laws protecting them, according to an Aug. 31 proclamation from Gov. Roy Cooper.
19 states, including North Carolina, officially dedicate September to service dogs.
Service dogs are trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are 10 common types of service dogs, including those that help individuals with hearing impairments, seizure disorders and autism.
Laura Ruel, an associate professor at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, said her diabetic alert dog Trula saved her life twice. Trula can detect when Ruel’s blood sugar drops below a certain level.
“There’s not another human I could be around that could smell my blood sugar getting low and giving me that warning,” she said.
Last year, Ruel had a transplant operation and is no longer diabetic, making Trula eligible for early retirement. The transition from service dog to pet has been hard for Trula, but Ruel said she’s learning.
For Ruel, honoring service dogs this month is not just an amazing thing to do, but important.
“It’s recognizing the incredible things they do for us without even asking anything from us,” she said.
Ka’ea Waldrop’s daughter, Asher, has had her medical alert service golden retriever, Gatsby, for over a year to help with chronic pain. The pain has led to fainting episodes, but having Gatsby has greatly improved Asher’s health.