1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email

Dogs Helping People: Service and Miracles

Miraculous Ways Dogs Help with Work, Rescues, Solving Crimes, Healing, Learning

By

dog miracles
Richard Boll / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

Dogs help people in a wide variety of ways, and their service can enrich human lives so powerfully that miracles can happen in the process. People who believe that God has worked through dogs to miraculously bless them like to say that the word "dog" is "God" spelled backward.

Service Dogs

Dogs serve people whose medical conditions limit some of the everyday tasks they can do. Service dogs are specially trained to learn how to do tasks that help the people with whom they'll be partnered. Then they go to live with those people and act as daily companions for them, leading blind people as they walk, helping deaf people hear the telephone or doorbell, bringing drinks or papers to people in wheelchairs, and much more. Service dogs often accompany the people they serve to workplaces and schools. People who benefit from dogs' devoted service often say that their dogs miraculously improve the quality of their lives.

The most famous type of service dogs are guide dogs, which help people who are either blind or suffering from limited vision. God works through guide dogs to give people the gifts of greater mobility and freedom, believers say. Guide dogs (who, unlike people, are available to help vision-impaired people at all times), help their partners move around safely wherever they need to go: on an errand (such as to a store), an appointment (such as a doctor visit) or simply a walk around their neighborhood or local park for much-needed refreshment. Guide dogs lead sight-impaired people around obstacles and through traffic. They can help not only while walking, but also with all the logistics involved in using public transportation, such as a buses or subways.

Since dogs can hear nearly four times better than humans can -- and dogs can also hear sounds that humans can't hear at all -- dogs serve people who are either deaf or hearing-impaired. These types of service dogs alert their partners to everyday sounds that require their attention (such as alarms, telephones, and doorbells) as well as any sounds that indicate the presence of danger (such as the sound of an approaching storm, so there will be time for their partners to take cover).

Service dogs often help people in wheelchairs, from those who are paralyzed to those who can move but can't walk well. Dogs can do a miraculous variety of tasks for people in wheelchairs, some of their partners say. Those tasks include: carrying keys or wallets, pressing elevator buttons, switching lights on and off, opening doors, pulling wheelchairs forward, helping their partners use ATM machines, retrieving items of all kinds, taking clothes out of laundry dryers, and preparing and serving drinks of water.

Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs give miraculous comfort, encouragement, and healing to people who are suffering from either physical or emotional pain, say many of the people who benefit from their help. Some therapy dogs visit people who need their help (such as by making the rounds of hospital patients). Others live with human partners, providing full-time care to them.

People who are sick or injured often report feeling better after interacting with therapy dogs. Studies have shown that patients' breathing becomes calm and blood pressure goes down during the time they spend with therapy dogs.

People who have suffered from an emotional trauma (such as crime victims and soldiers with post traumatic stress disorder) usually report feeling significantly better after spending time with therapy dogs who give them caring attention.

Search and Rescue Dogs

When people are lost or trapped, search and rescue dogs can find them and rescue them from danger. Search and rescue dogs help people in a wide variety of situations -- from hikers who have gotten lost in the wilderness, to disaster victims who are trapped underneath rubble. Many miraculous rescues throughout history have been attributed to God's power working through search and rescue dogs.

Search and rescue dogs such as bloodhounds can detect the location of a person (such as a missing child) by using their sense of smell, which is much better than the human ability to smell. German shepherds who work as search and rescue dogs are adept at walking over rough terrain, like earthquake rubble. Saint Bernard and malamute dogs work well in snow and ice, and Labrador retriever and Newfoundland dogs often help rescue people from water.

Police Dogs

Police dogs help human police officers solve crimes and go on patrol with them to help keep peace in their communities. Some officers have reported that their police dogs acted with miraculous bravery in the face of danger.

Since dogs can hear and smell much better than people can, police dogs can alert officers to situations they wouldn't have otherwise noticed (such as detecting bombs). Police dogs are also incredibly agile, and they can fit into spaces that officers can't (such as by crawling through pipes or walking across narrow ledges), so they can chase and catch criminals well.

Reading Buddy Dogs

Some dogs work with children in elementary schools, helping them learn how to read. Teachers usually assign these reading buddy dogs to students who have been too nervous to try to read well in the presence of other people whom they fear will criticize them for their mistakes. These students often relax when they have a dog there with them, listening attentively and offering the miracle of unconditional love. After reading to dogs and gaining confidence in the process, the students are then able to progress to reading to people.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.