Having COPD can make life more challenging, even when it comes to everyday things and small tasks. If you need a little bit of help throughout the day, you might want to consider getting a service dog. They aren't just for the blind, even though that's what they're most commonly used for, and they are called "seeing eye dogs" to distinguish them from other types of service dogs for those with other medical needs and disabilities. Of course, you'll need to talk to your doctor and do some of your own research before making a serious decision about getting a service dog.
What can a service dog do for someone with COPD?
Having COPD or any kind of shortness of breath can make even the simplest tasks much harder. You might need to conserve as much of your energy as possible so you don't get out of breath or tired too quickly. Some example of things that a service dog can do for you, is pick up a small object for you, open and close doors, turn lights on and off, or get some one if you need help.
Dogs need to be walked to get their necessary exercise, so they can also help you to stay a little more active than you would have been. Even with COPD, and with the advice from your doctor, you might have an amount of exercise that you should get daily, to get your blood pumping.
Walking a dog down your road or through the park will be sufficient exercise for the two of you. Another great thing about having a service dog is the companionship, especially if you love animals. If you have COPD, you're likely to have other medical problems, and your service dog would be even more helpful.
Can I train a pet dog to do these things?
You might be able to train a dog to retrieve things for you or even turn a light-switch on and off, but service dogs have to receive special trainer from professionals before they can be the service dog that you need them to be. They go through special training to have the right temperament to not be distracted by a sorts of surroundings, when their owner needs them to do something for them.
Service dogs will also be allowed in certain public places where regular pet dogs won't be. Service dogs are identified by a special harness or jacket. When you get a service dog, he or she will come with an ID, which you can show to employees in a restaurant, hotel, movie theater or any other public place, that normally wouldn't allow animals.
How can I get a service dog?
After you've made sure your doctor approves and you can take care of the animal, you can start by checking out http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org to see how to go about getting one for COPD. You can learn about the training programs they go through, and learn more about how you can get one.