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Animals play a wonderful role in our lives, they are our friends and daily companions but for those with medical conditions, animals can do so much more, a trained service animal can save a life.
In recognition of the care and support provided by service animals, Side by Side has established the Side by Side Pet Giving Fund (the “Fund”). The Fund was established to provide nutrition rich food to caring service, emotional support and therapy animals as our way of saying thank you and to help them live long, healthy and happy lives.
The selected participants, Side by Side Heroes, will be identified each year and following a brief pet health assessment, the pet will receive periodic shipments of nutritious pet food, in recipes identified to support their individual needs. Side by Side Heroes may provide care in many forms, including service animals, medical alert animals, emotional support animals, and therapy animals.
Examples of Service Animals includes animals that have received extensive, highly specialized training in order to provide the needed assistance to their individual handler. This may include guide dogs supporting those with physical disabilities like a hearing or sight impairment or psychiatric service dogs that help people with unseen, unnoticeable issues such as mental health concerns.
As an example, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who experience panic attacks or similar challenges can greatly benefit from the service of a Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD). Those who live with social phobia or other anxiety disorders can also find the service of a PSD to be incredibly beneficial. Another example are Medical Alert dogs, who can warn their owners about potential crisis situations in a variety of illnesses. These include diabetes, heart disease, illnesses that may cause dizziness, seizures or potential loss of consciousness, and many others.
Emotional Support Animals, also know as Comfort or Care Animals are also eligible for nutrition support from the Side by Side Giving Fund. These special animals are trained to provides support and comfort to one or multiple individuals as needed. The calm comfort provided by this care giver companion may also support independent living, and the ability to engage in day-to-day activities with less anxiety, sadness or social phobias that might have been limiting in the past.
Therapy Animals also provide an incredible service to those on the receiving end of their attention. Therapy animals are commonly found in hospitals and nursing homes and their task is simple: to comfort people. Therapy animals can also be found on-site after major tragedies or natural disasters to offer emotional support to those in need.
There are all kinds of assistance animals in the world today that provide a great service to those who rely on their support. Side by Side Heroes will be selected from all of these wonderful caring categories.