This article found on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette site on April 21, 2012 talks about one of the many ways dogs are trained to help others. The dogs in this article are Therapy Dogs not to be confused with a Psychiatric Service Dog. A therapy dog is typically trained to act sort of like Wal-mart greeters in a wide variety of places such as waiting rooms, hospitals, nursing homes, or as this article indicates even on college campuses like Pitt. A Psychiatric Service dog, like mine is trained to work with a specific disabled individual meeting that individual’s needs. the big difference though is that a therapy dog is not allowed the same level of public access as a Psychiatric service dog, the Therapy dog needs to get permission to be in places in many cases, where a psychiatric service dog is covered by the ADA the same way as a guide dog for a visually impaired person would be. Therapy dogs still have an important job, and I’ve heard of situations where service dogs sometimes go into a partial retirement and will work as therapy dogs, therapy dogs are awesome, and do help many people, their training just isn’t as specialized as a service dog’s training, though there are similarities in what they do. Therapy dogs typically are there to bring hope and smiles to the faces of many while a service dog’s purpose is to help an individual. If you aren’t sure if a dog is a Therapy dog or a service dog, ask the handler they will be able to tell you if it is a service dog, therapy dog or a pet.