Service & therapy dogs in the news

Every service dog and therapy dog is special, and newsworthy in their own right. They work tirelessly to protect people – whether that’s a therapy dog’s handler or members of the public.

However, every now and then, a story surfaces that is just that little bit more special than normal.  Here are some stories featuring service and therapy dogs that have recently appeared in news stories around the world.

Poppy the seizure alert dog is captured on camera

Poppy the Labrador is a seizure alert dog who is trained to warn her owner Shannon when a seizure is imminent. A video has recently gone viral of Poppy helping Shannon during her seizure. Poppy licks Shannon’s mouth excessively for the duration of the seizure to help her come around quicker and to remove excess saliva to stop Shannon from choking. Well done Poppy!


Bretagne the 9/11 search & rescue dog celebrates her 16th birthday

Back in September, former search and rescue dog Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”) celebrated her sixteenth birthday. Bretagne is the last known surviving search & rescue dog who worked at Ground Zero after the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001.

The city of New York came together to create a day-long celebration for this heroic dog. You can view a video of Bretagne’s fun-filled birthday below:


PTSD therapy dog Raven wins “Hero Pet Award”

When online voting for the “Hero Pet Award” opened, the organizers of the event in Chesteron, Indiana were astounded to receive votes from as far away as Florida and Alaska. The local “Celebration of Wildlife” event organizers had chosen several finalists for the award, but it was ultimately Raven the PTSD therapy dog that was crowned the winner.

Raven is owned by David Horton, a former combat medic in the U.S Army. David was medically discharged from the army several years ago due to the effects of PTSD. Raven helps him by body blocking to create distance between David and crowds/strangers and by providing Deep Pressure Therapy.

Raven is also trained to dial 911 in an emergency, to open doors and to search a room or building and alert David if she finds another person in there. This is used to overcome paranoid and hyper-vigilance. You can find out more about Raven here.

Autism dog saves family from fire

Morgan Winfree will be forever grateful to her autism service dog Cam after he saved their family from a house fire. Cam woke up Morgan’s mother Susan in the early hours of the morning by jumping on top of her and barking, as he is trained to do in an emergency.

Susan followed Cam to the porch of the house, where she saw that it was on fire. Cam’s warning allowed the whole family to escape the house unhurt. Read the full story here.

Viral video shows service dog helping in an Asperger’s meltdown

Over 7 million people around the world have watched a video showing a service dog called Samson helping his owner to overcome a meltdown since it was uploaded to YouTube a few months ago.

Danielle Jacobs has Asperger’s and has trained Samson to respond to depressive episodes and self-harm. Whilst she is having a meltdown, her dog helps to calm her. This is particularly important for Danielle as she tends to have panic attacks after meltdowns. Samson uses his paws to prevent Danielle from self-harm and then affectionately nuzzles her whilst she holds him.


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