International Assistance Dog Week is celebrated August 2 to August 8 this year. What wonderful contributions the assistance dogs make to human lives. Assistant dogs transform the lives of their human partners with debilitating physical and mental disabilities. They serve as their helper, aide, best friend, companion and are a close member of the family.
This week is to recognize and honor the hardworking assistance dogs and help to raise awareness and educate the public about how these specially trained dogs (animals) are helping those who live in our communities. It is also a time to honor the puppy raisers and the trainers of these assistance dogs.
Service dogs are trained in many areas. Some of the ways service dogs are trained:
- Severe Allergy Alert Dogs (AADs)
- Autism Assistance Dogs
- Brace/Mobility Support Dogs (BMSD)
- Diabetic Alert Dogs (DADS)
- Hearing Dogs
- Medical Alert Dogs (MADS)
- Medical Assistance Dogs
- Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs)
- Seizure Response Dogs
- Visual Assistance Dogs
- Wheelchair Assistance Dogs
I remember when I got to do mid-days for a service dog for a blind woman. It was a German Shepard and his health had started to decline. The owner had gotten a new service dog and while she was at work during the day she had me come to take him out. He never forgot his job and would try to guide and protect me when we were out on our walks. I remember when he stepped in front of me to protect me from a car that came around a corner too fast that I had not seen. It was my honor to help him as his health declined.
If dogs can become assistance to those with disabilities, don’t you think dogs need us to stimulate their life with games and tasks? It is amazing to watch a dog in training for obedience or agility and all the moves they can learn. I hope this will inspire you to give your dog a job, challenge them with games and puzzles and enrich their lives. Know what your dog was bred to do. Look for ways to enable them to use the talents and skills in them. You will have a healthier and happier dog when they are fulfilling what is inside of them.
Hats off to our canine friends who are helping those with disability related limitations. Thanks for the love and smiles you give your human. We also want to thank those who raise and train the dogs to fulfill this role.