Zoe the Service Dog

Tiny dog impacts lives in big ways

In times of distress or need, who is always there for you? That’s right, it’s man’s best friend. Dogs have frequently been important parts in many people’s lives. Whether it’s Cleopatra’s Bichon Frise or a police officer’s German Shepherd. Specific dogs that help people are known as service dogs. Service dogs are trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. These dogs provide support for people with disabilities such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), hearing impairment (deafness), mobility issues, epilepsy, visual impairment (blindness), autism, seizures, diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), and other physical/mental disabilities. I know of many people who need and have service dogs, and one of them is my mom.

Most service dogs are larger breeds, but my mom’s dog is only five pounds. Her name is Zoe and she is a Pekepoo. Zoe goes everywhere with my mom, whether it’s the movies or the beach, she is always by my mom’s side. Zoe was trained at a very young age, making her well behaved by the time she was about 5 months old.

My mother realized how much she needed Zoe with her, so she decided to register her as a service dog. Although the dogs must be approved, the papers and tags to identify that they are a service dog are not required. It just avoids confrontations between people. Regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government, if they meet the definition of a service dog and are well trained, animals are considered service animals by the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act. To transport Zoe around easily, my mom has a pocketbook and a dog carriage for her. Zoe is trained to not jump on people, bark or run away. She is house trained and knows different commands. Zoe is sweet, harmless and adores kids.

She may be little, but her impact is huge.

— Kylie Williams

Service dogs don’t always only have one person to give service to. Some service dogs are used in hospitals or senior centers to bring joy to the ill and elderly. My mom works at South Coastal Animal Health where there are often difficult times for pet owners and their families. Zoe, of course, goes to work with my mom and whenever there is a “put-to-sleep” or another sad moment, the client is asked if they want to hold Zoe and spend time with her. Zoe will give them kisses and lift their spirits. A few weeks ago, there was a story in the news of service dogs brought into a school during finals week. The students played with the dogs. Test scores were said to have been brought up, and stress levels brought down. So, Zoe is just one of the many amazing dogs that help humans every day. She may be little, but her impact is huge.