This week we celebrate dogs who are more than companions, dogs who help people with disabilities and support them at a physical and emotional level.
International Assistance Dog Week was started after the efforts of Marcie Davis, a wonderful woman who wrote the book Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guide book, a great resource with practical advise and guide about service dogs. She is also a host of the internet radio program Working like Dogs.
Dogs have an extraordinaire intelligence and ability to help, but not all breeds are recommended to be trained for service. Between the most common service dogs we have Golden Retriever and Labrador, "A good service dog is not protective, is people orientated, not overly active, confident but not dominant or submissive. Service dogs should not require complex grooming as this could be a problem for their owner"
To read more of which breeds make a good service dog and to find assistance, go to the Assistance Dog International website and find your regional chapter.
There is so much to learn about. Some of the assistance dog types are: Guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired Hearing dogs for the deaf and hard of hearing Service dogs for people with other disabilities like Brace/Mobility Support Dogs (BMSD), Wheelchair Assistance Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs, Diabetic Alert Dogs (DADs), Severe Allergy Alert Dogs (AADs), Seizure Response Dogs, Medical Alert Dogs (MADs) and Psychiatric Service Dog (PSDs) just to mention the most common types.
This week, some groups are organizing events to educate people and raise awareness about why these dogs are so important and cherished. If you want to organize an event, follow this link and download the materials you need (including banners) http://youtu.be/FkyeESrDywc
Celebrate Assistance dogs by spreading the word. Do you or a family member or friend have the blessing of enjoying the company of a service dog? Tell us about it in the comments section below! We would love to hear about your experience.
Note: The images in this post are from the International Assistance Dog Week website.