Service Dogs for Asthma??

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.


Member Since
Barked: Sun Oct 20, '13 12:17pm PST 
Let me first say that my beloved Sheba was never trained nor classed as a service dog -- however, that is essentially what she was. I never realised this until she passed a few years ago at the old age of 16 years. I also never realised how much I truly depended on her and what she did for me regarding my asthma.

I have always hated taking my inhaler and I often put my inhaler off saying "maybe if I just rest a while, I'll feel better." At home, my Sheba would give me a stern look and stomp her feet like a mother scolding a child until I gave in and took my inhaler. If we were out in the garden, she would sense my breathing problems and race to the house to get my partner or other family member (she knew there was a good chance I was in the garden without my rescue puffer).

At night, Sheba would hear my coughing (as many asthmatics do) and she would wake me to take my inhaler and then lay by my bedside to make sure that I was okay. Another BIG thing I found is that she was that bit of comfort during massive attacks - those attacks where the anxiety of not being able to breath is much worse than the actual asthma attack itself.

I've been without her for about 3 years now, and in the last year to two years I have noticed my asthma getting much worse than it has ever been.

Is it possible to get a "Free-to-Good-Home Mutt" like Sheba and train them? Or do you have to go through doctors and other certifiers to get a service dog?

Barked: Sun Oct 20, '13 1:58pm PST 
Sorry to hear about your dog.

As far as your question...

If this SD is going to be a Home-Only SD then yes you can easily train one to do some tasks to help you.

If you want to take the dog in public then that's more difficult (not impossible) because Public Access training is the hardest part of training a SD. However, if you got lucky and found a dog with the correct personality and you worked hard training/socializing it (perhaps with the help of a professional trainer) then you could definitely have a SD from that source but it's more difficult like I said before because even dogs who are from generations of breeding programs specifically for this purpose and raised by puppy raisers; not all of them have the right personality for public access work. But my motto is nothing is impossible, you just have to do what feels right to you and your situation. I'm training a SD from a small no-kill shelter and that's what felt right to me. I got lucky finding a dog with her personality, she's doing great with her training including public access but only time will tell if she turns out up to par for what's needed for public access. I decided long before I got her though that if not, then the dog will just be a Home-Only SD and that was okay with me. I'd re-evaluate after a few years and at that point apply for a SD organization dog.

So my point being...it's up to you what you need, what you feel like you can handle, etc. Good luck!

Barked: Sun Oct 20, '13 2:11pm PST 
Also I suggest doing a lot of rearch on what it takes to be a SD, the laws, rights, responsiblities, etc.

Charlie- Chaplin

A day without- laughter is a- day wasted
Barked: Tue Oct 22, '13 9:09pm PST 
It sounds to me like you'd be fine for the most part with your inhaler... the only things you have said this dog did for you was to assume you were without it or maternally make you feel bad for not bringing it with.

This does not sound like a need for a dog. You need to start bringing your inhaler with you.