What do service dogs do?

Service dogs can be trained to carry out a variety of tasks to make life easier for persons with a disability or persons who are suffering from a condition so that they are able to carry out their daily activities like everyone else. 

Among other things, service dogs can be trained as:

  • Autism Assistance Dogs – these dogs give persons on the autistic spectrum support and provide them with confidence and a sense of independence.   
  • Diabetic Alert Dogs – these dogs alert a diabetic person when their blood sugar level is reaching dangerously high or low levels.
  • Hearing Dogs - these dogs alert a person with hearing difficulties when there is something that needs their immediate attention such as a knock on the door, a smoke alarm or a baby crying. 
  • Mobility Assistance Dogs – among other things, these dogs are trained to pick up or carry objects and open and close drawers and doors for people who have mobility issues or are wheelchair-bound.
  • Seizure Alert Dogs – these dogs alert a person who is prone to seizures that an episode is imminent so that the person can lie down or take other precautions such as stop driving.
  • Therapy Dogs – these dogs provide comfort and a sense of peace and security for people with mental health conditions.

There are as many types of service dogs as there are conditions which can be eased by training a dog to perform a task!

For the time being we are focusing on training Autism Assistance Dogs, Diabetic Alert Dogs and Therapy Dogs with a special emphasis on training dogs to work with children.  If you think you or a member of your family would benefit from the services of an Autism Assistance or Diabetic Alert Dog you may contact us to obtain a relevant application form. 

The Service Dogs are given to the persons who need them for free (subject to certain terms and conditions). However one should remember that these dogs cost us approximately €15,000 each to train and maintain and persons who are matched with a dog are expected to care for them as instructed by our trainer. The dogs remain the property of the foundation so should we feel that there is any form of mistreatment or lack of care the dogs will revert back to the foundation.


Autism Assistance Service Dogs



An autism assistance service dog is a service dog trained to support a person who is on the autism spectrum, to help them gain independence and the confidence and the ability to perform daily living tasks that others do without a second thought, such as venture down to the corner shop to buy everyday necessities or enter a crowded room.

A service dog can help calm an autistic person and help minimise and often eliminate emotional outbursts in children. People on the autistic spectrum who generally do not like to be touched or hugged by other people will allow a dog to touch them and press against them. This helps them calm down and  even sleep at night. 

In the case of children who are on the autistic spectrum, service dogs can be tethered to the child and trained to follow commands from parents / guardians to increase the safety of the child such as to stop at doorways and to stop the child from running away. Service dogs have also been known to alert parents of potentially dangerous situations at night (e.g. child getting out of bed and walking around).  Another benefit of autistic assistance service dogs is that such dogs can provide a focus through which the child can interact with other children. 

If you think your child could benefit from having an Autism Assistance Service Dog please download the application form below.

Autism Assistance Application Form

Diabetic Alert Dogs



Dogs have a naturally heightened sense of smell which trainers have learnt to harness to train dogs to act as Diabetic Alert Service Dogs.  Some people who suffer from diabetes, especially children, are unable to recognise the signs of low or high blood sugar levels or simply do not experience the symptoms most people do when the sugar levels rise or fall to alarming levels. This can lead to seizures or even a coma.

When a person is experiencing either a hyperglycemic episode (when blood sugar is too high) or a hypoglycemic episode (when blood sugar is too low) the body produces unique scents which are easily picked up by dogs.  A service dog is trained to alert the person (if an adult) or a parent / guardian (in the case of a child) when he detects this scent so that the necessary precautions can be taken before it is too late.  

Having a Diabetic Alert Service Dog at hand does not replace the need to regularly check blood sugar levels if you are a diabetic but it does act as a safeguard especially when the diabetic person is a child.

If you think a member of your family could benefit from having a Diabetic Alert Service Dog please download the relevant application form below:

Application for a Diabetic Alert Service Dog (Adult)

Application for a Diabetic Alert Service Dog (Children)

Hearing Dogs



Hearing dogs are trained to assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing by alerting them to important sounds which need their attention, such as the doorbell, smoke alarms, a baby crying or the telephone ringing. They may also be trained to work outside the home, alerting to such sounds as sirens, forklifts, a car horn or a the person’s name being called.

Mobility Assistance Dogs



A mobility assistance dog is a service dog trained to has mobility issues, which may include being wheelchair-dependent. Among other tasks, such as providing balance and stability and carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments, a mobility assistance dog can be trained to open and close doors, and operate light switches. 


Seizure Response Dogs 



Seizure alert dogs are trained to help people who suffer from epilepsy or a seizure disorder. The dogs are trained according to the specific needs of their handler. Tasks for seizure dogs may include, but are not limited to: summoning help, either by finding another person or activating a medical alert or preprogrammed phone;  pulling potentially dangerous objects away from the person's body; "blocking" to keep individuals with absence seizures and complex partial seizures from walking into obstacles or dangerous areas that can result in bodily injury or death; attempting to rouse the unconscious handler during or after a seizure and providing physical support (and the secondary benefit of emotional support).



 Therapy Dogs



A therapy dog is a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas and to people with learning difficulties.

Therapy dogs come in all sizes and breeds. The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A therapy dog's primary job is to allow unfamiliar people to make physical contact with it and to enjoy that contact.  A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, gentle and at ease in all situations. Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted and handled, sometimes clumsily.

Children in particular enjoy hugging animals; adults usually enjoy simply petting the dog. 

We currently offer pet therapy dog services to Resource Centres and other schools who cater for children with learning difficulties.

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