Service Animals Through Sound

On Feb 8’s show, Helena Krobath hosted work and commentary from Olivia Dreisinger, creator of the video documentary Handler is Crazy. The documentary explores the unique relationship between service animal and their handler, in this case focusing on life with PTSD and invisible illness. During the show, Helena aired the soundtrack and descriptive audio that Dreisinger created to adapt the piece for audio access.

In the pre-recorded interview that followed, Dreisinger explained more about the policy and challenges around service animals here in BC, before getting into a discussion of working with descriptive audio as a tool for accessibility.

Like other folks just starting to learn about the world of service animals, Helena struggled (and struggles) to keep the terminology straight — for example, remembering the difference between a therapy dog and a service dog. These distinctions mean different legal rights and represent different types of training for the animal. Note that in the intro, Helena mistakenly referred to Banner, the service dog in the story, as a therapy dog. A service dog receives specific training, as the documentary explains. You can find the documentary onĀ YouTube.

Helena ended the show with a bang (literally) by sampling tracks from Dogs Trust, an organization that re-homes dogs in Glasgow. The org just so happens to have created a soundscape-based exposure therapy system for dogs who are triggered by certain sounds, like fireworks and thunder. We (Helena and silent partner in the studio that evening, Brady Marks) sampled fireworks with the explosions removed (‘whistles and whooshes’) and were pleasantly surprised to find the tracks offered a rich stereo listening experience.

While researching for this show, Helena found an intriguing short academic article on interspecies service and relations. Find it here: https://www.mcgill.ca/igsf/files/igsf/service_dogs_philosophia_journal1.pdf.

 

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