During the first week of August, we celebrate International Dog Assistance Week. Assistance dogs improve the quality of life for their human partners that live with disabilities or illness.
International Dog Assistance Week is the efforts of Marcie Davis, a paraplegic, and author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook, a resource that shares tips, checklists, and stories about service dogs. International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) honors these hardworking companion aides and recognizes their contribution as a helper and best friend.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, service dogs work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. These dogs are allowed equal access to businesses, restaurants, and shops.
Education and awareness are key to understanding the roles these canine companions play every day in so many lives. While most people are familiar with guide dogs and vision loss assistance, there are many other different types of working dogs. Service dogs assist with walking, transferring, and carrying items, pushing buttons, and household chores. Hearing dogs alert people with hearing loss and assist with sensors, buzzers, and alarms. Seizure alert and response dogs respond to medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, panic, and anxiety attacks, while medical alert response dogs alert to those oncoming medical conditions.
Ways You Can Help
- Recognize your local service dog group or organization.
- Hold a fundraiser to sponsor someone in need of a service dog (trained dogs are expensive).
- Recognize a local dog hero or K9.
- Become a volunteer puppy or shelter dog trainer.
- Create social posts to raise awareness and educate the public about service dogs.
Many take for granted our everyday freedom of movement. Service dogs allow for independence for families and those living with disabilities.
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