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service dog (plural service dogs)

  1. A dog, such as a seeing-eye dog or a hearing-ear dog, which assists a person who is physically handicapped or who suffers from a mental disability such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
    • 2007 April 18, Rita Healy, "Echoes of Columbine," Time:
      A spinal cord injury will confine him to a wheelchair for life. . . . He has a service dog and lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment, although there are relatives nearby.
    • 2011 June 11, Robin Finn, "Sunday Routine: Jessica Walter," New York Times (retrieved 5 Dec. 2011):
      Reggie was a “release” from Guiding Eyes; he kept leading his trainers into light poles, so he was deemed temperamentally unsuited to be a service dog.
  2. A dog which assists the work of military or law enforcement officials.
    • 1959 Aug. 6, Walter R. Fletcher, "Specialty Club German Shepherds' Best Friend," New York Times, p. 23:
      The German Shepherd probably is the top all-round service dog. He had an enviable record with the K-9 Corps during World War II.
    • 1991 March 20, "Dog tracks, bites suspect in burglary," The Press-Courier (USA), p. 11 (retrieved 5 Dec. 2011):
      A suspected burglar was tracked down by a police service dog and bitten early today.
    • 2008 May 16, Pfc Alicia C. Torbush, "Service Dogs Retiring," Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (retrieved 5 Dec. 2011):
      Dago, a retired Army service dog, served as a bomb detecting dog with the 28th Military Police Detachment at Ft. Wainwright, Alaska for eight years.