We commonly think of dogs as pets. All the qualities that make dogs great pets, their loyalty, undying love and a sense of responsibility also make them great workers. Canines traditionally had to earn their living, back in an era where no man or animal could stay around unless he earned his keep.
However, in later years, with more and more things being automated, the position of the dog went from sheep herder and coyote deterrent to a lazy household pet. Many dogs still live this life of luxury, curled up in front of the fire, waiting for their owners to take them out for a walk. But for some, that laid-back life is not an option.
Although you probably don't see them very often, thousands of dogs around the country are working hard every day at various jobs. Their pay? A hug and a doggie treat, but they seem to enjoy working for the pure satisfaction of doing something!
K9 units are one of the most famous dog work places. These highly trained police dogs know just how to intimidate a criminal, take down the bad guy and sniff out hiding places when a thief scurries away. Some K9s are specialized, they search out drugs and narcotics hidden away while others work on the bomb squad, able to find a concealed bomb far faster than a human team. The best K9s are selected to work with the FBI.
Patrol dogs help keep national parks safe by hiking the trails along with the forest park rangers. They are certified and trained to react calmly to people and other animals and they teach park visitors how to handle their animals on the trails. These canines are also equipped to handle emergency situations on the trail.
Other dogs are trained to help people who are disabled. They can bring items to someone in a wheelchair or who is bedridden. In some cases, these service animals are trained to pull a wheelchair, pick up things that the person has dropped or to aid in case of a seizure.
Seeing eye dogs are the most well-known of the service dogs. They guide their owners carefully through crowds, across streets, and in restaurants and stores. But they aren't only good for the blind, they can also be trained to help the deaf by alerting them when someone is knocking at the door, when the baby is crying or if the kettle is boiling. These animals are allowed to accompany their owners into public places that would normally be off-limits, and they must be calm and well-trained.
Therapy dogs are specially trained to comfort and soothe people in distress. They are often used in group homes, prisons and in hospitals where the residents are under duress. Simply talking to and petting a therapy animal can relax most people and they have proven to be an invaluable resource.
There are plenty of other areas that dogs work in, but these are a few of the most useful for humans. We not only depend on our canine friends to provide us with love and attention, but also to help out in bad situations. These animals are very flexible and do their job well.