13 dogs with jobs are further proof that humans owe a lot to this exceptional species.
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Megan Leavey

We all know dogs are (hu)man's best friend.

Our pets keep us company, take us on adventures, and teach us about unconditional love. In return, we give them food and shelter and train them to do silly things.

This mutt does a mean "roll over."


But service and working dogs take their relationship with humans a step further — these pups are trained with skills that can save lives. Did you know that some dogs can detect allergens in your food? And get help in an emergency situation?

Here are 13 impressive things service and working dogs can be trained to do that help save lives:

1. Smell blood sugar levels.

When blood sugar levels change, the human body releases chemicals that dogs can smell. Diabetic-alert dogs are trained to smell when their partner's blood sugar level is dangerously off and to let them know that action is needed to get those levels back in the safe zone.

Luke, a boy with Type 1 diabetes, has a diabetic-alert dog named Jedi, who alerted him to low glucose levels:

Good low Jedi. #diabeticalertdog

A post shared by Luke and Jedi (@lukeandjedi) on

2. Find a person buried in an avalanche.

If you're ever caught in an avalanche, having a dog on the search-and-rescue team could drastically increase your chances of survival. An avalanche dog can search 2.5 acres in 30 minutes. (It would take a team of humans up to four hours to cover the same ground.) These skilled canines sniff the snow for a pool of human scent; when they find it, they alert their handler and start digging.

Keena the avalanche pup is training in Colorado:

SEARCH! #puppyintraining #avydog #drive #rocket #chickenhawk #imgoingtogetyou @ruffwear @avyinstitute @grandtargheeresort

A post shared by Keena The Avalanche Pup (@keenatheavalanchepup) on

3. Alert you to the sound of a fire alarm.

Hearing dogs are trained to assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These pups alert their partners to a wide variety of sounds: a door knock, a spoken name, an alarm clock, a fire alarm, and more.

Like any service dog, hearing dogs require years of committed training to perform their tasks. But even these furballs — like Sophie the collie/lab mix — need a little down time!

4. Support someone who has PTSD.

A post-traumatic stress disorder service dog can detect early signs of anxiety then nudge, paw, lick, and generally distract their human from potential triggers in the environment, giving their partner a chance to regain control.

5. Detect changes in blood pressure.

When a person's blood pressure or heartbeat changes rapidly, a cardiac-alert dog can warn the person of this danger. Without this signal, people with conditions like dysautonomia risk passing out (among many other complications) due to severe blood pressure changes.

Here, medical-alert dog Blaine cuddles with his handler:

Don't know what I would do without him 💙

A post shared by Nicole & Blaine Reynolds (@stilllifewithblaine) on

6. Get help in an emergency situation.

Many service dogs can be trained to summon help in an emergency situation, whether it's finding another person to assist their human or using a special phone to call 911.

7. Protect people during seizures.

Some seizure dogs are trained to alert their handler before a seizure (similar to a cardiac-alert dog) while others respond a certain way during or after a seizure — such as barking for help, moving away certain objects that could be dangerous, or protecting their human as they collapse.

This adorable mug belongs to Riley, a seizure-alert and response dog:

8. Deliver medical supplies to injured soldiers.

During World War I, "mercy dogs" were trained to search a battlefield for wounded soldiers. The dogs carried packs with medical supplies that soldiers could use to treat their own injuries. Some dogs were trained to retrieve a handler to assist the injured soldier.

Below, Lt. Col. Edwin H. Richardson poses with Red Cross war dogs during World War I:

Image via Library of Congress.

9. Detect potential allergens in food.

Some people don't like peanuts. Some people go into anaphylactic shock and risk serious health complications or even death if they touch peanuts.

For the latter, allergy detection dogs can be trained to sniff out allergens like peanuts, milk, soy, latex, or other substances. The pup can alert their human of the danger or even block the person from going near the allergen.

10. Support someone with autism.

Autism service dogs provide crucial companionship for their partners, and some are trained to alert and respond to certain triggers. For example, if a human has trouble with anxiety or sensory processing, their pup can provide calming comfort by lying on top of them — a technique called "deep pressure therapy."

Ultron, an autism service dog in training, helps his partner Axton navigate the world more confidently and independently:

They make a great team! ❤️🐶 #servicedog #autismservicedog #ateamforever #greatdaneservicedog #aboyandhisdog #skyzone #greatdane

A post shared by Journey of Ultron and Axton (@journeyofultronandaxton) on

11. Guide a person who is visually impaired.

Guide dogs are loyal pups who are trained to help those who are blind or visually impaired physically navigate the world. Humans have been training dogs for this purpose for centuries, and the practice of dogs helping guide people is actually so old that we'll never really know how or when it began.

This little guide dog in training, Smudge, isn't quite big enough for her harness yet:

12. Sniff out explosives.

Bomb-sniffing dogs alert their handler if they smell even a small amount of explosives. These dogs are common in the military, but they also save lives working with organizations like the United Nations Mine Action Service. UNMAS uses mine detection dogs to de-mine conflict-heavy places, including Colombia and Sudan.

13. Provide physical balance and support.

Brace and mobility service dogs help their humans physically get around by opening doors, picking things up off the ground, helping their partners up from a fall, providing counterbalancing or bracing while walking, and more.

Here you can clearly see service dog Kaline's mobility harness:

People tend to talk about how fortunate dogs are to have devoted humans looking out for them. We spend years training them and thousands of dollars on food, vet visits, cute outfits (don't deny it), and treats — the list goes on.

But as lucky as dogs are to have us, we're infinitely more lucky to have them sticking with us every step of the way.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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