Research Article  |   March 2014
Effects of Partnerships Between People With Mobility Challenges and Service Dogs
Author Affiliations
  • Terry K. Crowe, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, Occupational Therapy Graduate Program, Department of Pediatrics, University of New Mexico, 1 University of New Mexico MSCO9 5240–HSSB 125, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001; tcrowe@salud.unm.edu
  • Suzanne Perea-Burns, MOTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Encompass Home Health, Dallas, TX
  • Jessica Salazar Sedillo, MOTS, is Occupational Therapy Graduate Student, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Ingrid C. Hendrix, MILS, AHIP, is Nursing Services Librarian, Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Melissa Winkle, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Dogwood Therapy Services Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Jean Deitz, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor Emeritus, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
Article Information
Musculoskeletal Impairments / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Rehabilitation, Disability, and Participation
Research Article   |   March 2014
Effects of Partnerships Between People With Mobility Challenges and Service Dogs
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2014, Vol. 68, 194-202. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.009324
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2014, Vol. 68, 194-202. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.009324
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of partnerships between people with disabilities and service dogs on functional performance and social interaction.

METHOD. A single-subject, alternating treatment design was used. The participants were 3 women with mobility challenges who owned service dogs. For each participant, time and perceived amount of effort for two tasks were measured for functional performance. Interaction and satisfaction levels were measured for social interactions.

RESULTS. Primary findings were that service dog partnerships decreased performance time for four of the six tasks, decreased effort for five of the six tasks, increased social interactions for 2 of the participants, and increased levels of satisfaction with social interactions for all participants.

CONCLUSION. For adult women with mobility challenges, service dog partnerships may contribute to energy conservation through decreased time and effort required to complete some tasks and may increase social interactions.