Service animals are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as any animal “trained to
do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Trained service animals
can often help people with disabilities gain independence, increase one’s ability to participate in
activities, and even provide invaluable emotional support.
Specifically, for people with limb loss or limb difference, service dogs can be trained to retrieve or hold
items, turn light switches on and off, aid with dressing, and much more. They can also increase
mobility independence by opening doors, pulling a wheelchair or by acting as a balance or brace for
transfers. Unlike traditional adaptive equipment, dogs are extremely sociable animals who love to be
with people. They can provide much-needed companionship, unconditional love and support, vastly
Resources on Legal Right Regarding the Use of Service Animals
ADA Revised Requirements: Service Animals
Frequently Asked Questions About Service Animals and the ADA
Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals: Where Are They Allowed, and Under What Conditions?
Service Dog Programs and Organizations
Assistance Dogs International
Canine Companions for Independence
Canine Partners for Life
Freedom Service Dogs of America
Genesis Assistance Dogs, Inc. (Florida residents only)
Little Angels Service Dogs
International Association of Assistance Dog Partners
New England Assistance Dog Services (NEADS)
Service Dogs for America
Smoky Mountain Service Dogs
It is not the intention of the Amputee Coalition to provide specific medical or legal advice but rather to provide consumers with information to better understand their health and healthcare issues. The Amputee Coalition does not endorse any specific treatment, technology, company, service or device. Consumers are urged to consult with their healthcare providers for specific medical advice or before making any purchasing decisions involving their care.
This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90LLRC0001-01-00, from the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.
© Amputee Coalition. Local reproduction for use by Amputee Coalition constituents is permitted as long as this copyright information is included. Organizations or individuals wishing to reprint this article in other publications, including other World Wide Web sites must contact the Amputee Coalition for permission to do so.