Have you encountered an assistance dog lately? They can be seen almost anywhere, in restaurants, on the sidewalk, in office buildings…but have you ever considered how much training and devotion it takes for a dog to dedicate its life to assisting people? There is an enormous amount of investment that goes into assistance dogs, who then go on to care for humans, keeping them safe and able to enjoy a higher quality of living. Marcie Davis, the founder of Working Like Dogs–a resource site for working dogs and assistance dogs–has also created International Assistance Dog Week to celebrate the sacrifice and strength of assistance dogs around the world.
There are a handful of main goals associated with the holiday week. Of course, foremost is the recognition and honoring of assistance dogs of all sorts and sizes. It’s also a chance to raise awareness about assistance dogs and connected programs, since many people don’t fully grasp the enormous role these animals play in our lives. There is also the desire to give puppy trainers, raisers, and handlers the praise they deserve for helping dogs become such capable social servers.
Assistance dogs do more than just help the visually impaired–though that is certainly one of their central roles. They can also be found in search and rescue operations, hearing alert dog, seizure detection and response dogs, medical alert dogs, psychological therapy dogs, and much more.
So how can you be involved in International Assistance Dog Week? First, check to see if any local events are going on during the week in your area. If not…why not arrange one? There’s even a handy packet of materials available for a free download to help you create and promote an International Assistance Dog week event with ease.
If you have an assistance dog in your life–or know someone who does–take this time to honor their devotion and hard work!
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