Service Dog Aids MSer

Service Dogs are Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Assistance Dogs. Any kind of assistance animals are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the owner  including, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.

After Debra’s doctor suggested that a Service Dog would be helpful for her, she researched and found the Alaska Assistance Dogs.  The Founder of AlaskaAssistanceDogs was trained at the . The Bergin Institute, the originators of the service dog program. Now the Bergin institute has grown into the Bergin University.

Debra joined the AlaskaAssistanceDogs where she was trained with a group of dogs receiving basic obedience training. Basic training includes; sit, stay, go, down,  pick things up, hand to the handler, turn on light switches, open cabinet doors and more.

While Debra was being trained, the trainers recognized that one particular dog, Stryker, attached himself to her. Debra knew she was adopted. Stryker is a chocolate Lab who had received most of his training before he adopted Debra.  When Stryker moved in with Debra his basic training was completed.   From there, Stryker continues to be trained, to be fine tuned to Debra’s specific needs.  Debra meets with the Trainers from Alaska Assistance Dogs in various places in the community to continue. They go to local businesses and parks. Stryker was taught to ignore distractions, parking lot behavior so he is safe and other sills. He has passed a mandatory public access test so he will fly with Debra when she goes out of state.

Stryker is proving to be an increasingly valuable asset to Debra in her daily life. He has become  a great addition to their family.

The mission of Bergin University

“To advance the human-canine partnership through research and education by offering quality instruction in human and canine studies to postsecondary students worldwide interested in furthering their knowledge of themselves and the role of the dog in human society; through the University’s up-to-date, in-depth academic coursework, to provide students an opportunity to expand their knowledge for scholarly or career purposes or enhance their knowledge of their own specialties through the unique viewpoint provided by human-canine studies.

Service dogs help where needed

Stryker helps Debra get up out of chairs, helps her stand up if she falls, opens doors, picks up stuff when dropped in addition to providing minimal protection.

Service dogs aren’t for everyone

A service dog can help combat fatigue if the caregiver is willing to assist with the care of the dog. It’s important to realize that without that support, owning the service dog would add more work and responsibility.

With the caregiver’s support, having a well-trained service dog that will work hard to make life easier for you. For many people, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks.

Dogs Can Reduce Stress

Talking can be very therapeutic and research shows that talking to a pet is even more powerful than talking with a friend. Research shows when completing a stressful task, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them even more than with a friend or even their spouse!

Pets Persuade You To Get Out And Exercise:

Often when we have MS we can’t get out to walk with the dog. In Debra’s situation, her caregiving husband, Pat is the one who receives the benefits of exercise with Stryker. Because of their daily walks, Pat’s diabetes, sugar levels, is under control.

Debra is very satisfied with her relationship with Stryker. Debra and Pat’s team approach has helped her enjoy the benefits of Stryker, her service dog.

For more information, visit Bergin University right here.

Have you or does anyone you know have a Service Dog? Have you thought of getting one for yourself? Tell me in the comments below.


About our Co-Founder: With a bachelors in Social Work, Linda is 53 years old, happily married with eight children and 17 grandchildren. Diagnosed with MS in 1995 and now having accepted and truly embraced her new reality, Linda has created She is dedicated to proving that joy can be chosen while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Linda specializes in helping others, especially those with MS attain the lifestyle, independence and happiness amid living with MS.


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  3. Pets inspire us and will get us into action because they encourage us to play with them or walk with them, or groom them.

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