Seeing eye dogs were the first type of service dogs in the U.S., supporting the blind community. Gradually, our understanding of dogs’ service abilities expanded, and in 1975, Bonnie Bergan coined the term “service dogs” and started the first service dog non-profit, Canine Companions for Independence. To this day, CCI trains dogs to support people with a wide range of disabilities and places them with those in need.
As research on what dogs are capable of providing became more concrete, the Americans with Disabilities Act expanded the definition of service dogs in 1990 to include “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.” This allowed for the expansion and support of formalized dog training to serve a wide community of people dealing with various disabilities and special needs in the U.S. Among these are diabetics.