Anyone can buy a service vest, but not everyone can have a true service animal. According to our favorite veterinarian, Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, a real service dog must have received training in their specific tasks and be certified under the ADA- Americans with Disabilities Acts of 1990.

An example of a true service dog is Maximus, a hearing dog owned by Ms. Wilester Byes. Ms. Byes reads lips, but on a daily basis, Maximus is Ms. Byes’ third hearing dog. To be a good hearing dog they need to be the right temperament, reactive to sound and be willing to work.

The best breeds for hearing dogs are Labradors, Cocker Spaniels, miniature Poodles, Cocapoos and some mixed breed dogs.

Maximus is trained for alerting Ms Byes to the telephone, alarms, sirens, smoke detectors, door bells and knocking, alarm clocks, and any loud or distracting sound. He received training for 12 to 18 months before he was placed with Ms. Byes as a 2 year old. At least 50% of the dogs fail and washout of the training.

  The training of the hearing dogs costs approximately $20,000 dollars but are placed with the people who need them at no cost. Maximus was trained and obtained through Hearing Dogs International, Inc., which is located in Commerce City Colorado .

There are 500,000 service dogs of all types, hearing dogs, guide dogs for the blind, dogs for seizures, etc. in the US and another 50,000 in Europe.