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Dogs can be trained to perform various tasks, like looking after the disabled or the sick. For the mobility-impaired, highly-trained canines can pick up dropped items, open and close doors, help the person in and out of a bathtub, and pull off gloves, shoes and socks. These dogs, known as 'service dogs', can also be trained to push and pull wheelchairs and do other duties like alerting their owners to sounds of doorbells, phones, alarm clocks and even dial 911 on large-keyed phones. Besides, these dogs provide companionship and unconditional love for the people they assist. Indeed they are man's best friend.

For Mike, 30, who has been paralyzed since he snapped his neck while falling from a rock ten years ago, his trained dog, Max, has become his constant companion and assistant. "I used to feel helpless and frustrated for having to depend on people all the time. I felt I was a big burden and nuisance to them. After Max came along, I felt much better. He is always with me and does his duties without the slightest fuss or annoyance. He is my trusted companion. With him around, I certainly do not fell lonely. In fact I now feel much better about myself. I would say Max has minimized my disability and improved my general outlook.

Three years after the accident, Mike had enrolled himself as an undergraduate in a university. he lived in an apartment and had an automated wheelchair and a live-in attendant to look after his needs. "The set-up seemed good in the beginning. However, my human assistant could not always be there to anticipate my need. Once I dropped the key to my van. I could not bend down to pick it up. On another occasion, while doing my assignment, I dropped my pen. I had to wait for quite a long while before my attendant came and picked up the pen for me to resume work. With Max around, I have avoided unnecessary loss of time. The uncomplaining canine provides 24-hour assistance. It gets excited or rather happy to be of help to me. It appears to be rather bored when it has nothing to do."

Max has been Mike's full time companion throughout his university days. He went to the grocery store with Mike, staying with him in the apartment and attending classes with him. "Max is fully specialized. He performs tasks to fulfill my specific needs any time of the day. However, training the dog is a continuous process. Of late, I've been trying to teach him to bark on command. I sometimes have bad muscle spasms that knock me forward into my lap, and I can't get back up. My plan is that Max could bark when this happens to get attention and help. It is by no means easy, for Max has been taught not to bark. Now I've been barking at him to show him how."

Dogs can also be trained to provide some form of 'therapy' to the patients in hospital or nursing homes. There, people with physical or mental illness can share the joy, comfort and liberating moments the canines can provide. "The same can be said of Max," said Mike. "I find comfort in having him close to me. He understands my moments of joy or sadness."

From paragraph 1 :

Give two examples how 'service dogs' help the mobility-impaired.


From paragraph 2 :


Mike said that after Max came along, he felt better. Describe how he felt before he had Max.

    From paragraph 3 :

Give two advantages of having a service dog compared to a human assistant.

    From paragraph 4 :

Explain why Mike had been trying hard to teach his dog how to bark.

    From paragraph 5 :

(a) What is meant by the word 'therapy'?

(b) In what ways can dogs provide 'therapy' to patients in hospitals ?

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(i) They help push wheelchairs of the mobility-impaired.

(ii) They help alert them to sounds of doorbells or the phone.



He felt helpless and frustrated for being dependant and a burden as well as a nuisance to other people.



(i) A service dog provides 24-hour service while a human cannot do so.

(ii) A service dog avoids unnecessary loss of time as it is ever ready to attend to the need of the mobility-impaired.



He wanted the dog to bark to get attention when he needed help. As the dog had been trained not to bark, it had to be reoriented or taught how to bark gain and it was a slow process.



(a) It means 'solace' or 'emotional comfort'.

(b) They can bring comfort, joy and 'liberating moments' to patients with physical or mental illness.


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Comprehension 1


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