International Assistance Dog Week was created to recognize all of the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability-related limitations. The goal is to raise awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs. The holiday week also honors the trainers that make these dogs so great at their jobs. Trainers put in a lot of time and effort, so it is important to praise their hard work. Together, they have improved countless lives across the globe.
Most importantly, this holiday week brings awareness to animals in need. The main goal is to encourage people to help underprivileged animals.
The most popular breeds for assistance dogs include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds. These breeds are among the smartest and most trainable.
Assistance dogs typically receive training for six months to a year to learn and perform the tasks that their owner will need.
Assistance dogs come in two categories- Service Dogs and Facility Dogs.
- Trained to perform tasks and to do work that eases their handlers’ disabilities.
- Working as part of a team with their disabled partners, service dogs help them attain safety and independence.
- It is important to note that these dogs are not for petting as it could prevent them from performing their job correctly.
- Expertly trained dogs who partner with a facilitator working in a health care, in special education or during physical therapy.
- Their responsibilities are to provide psychological or physiological therapy to individuals other than their handlers.
- They visit hospitals, schools, hospices, nursing homes and more.
- Unlike service dogs, facility dogs are encouraged to interact with a variety of people while they are on-duty including petting the facility dog.
As mentioned above, if you see someone with an assistance dog, do not get too close or try to pet him/her. Whether it safely guides its master or provides other services, distractions are dangerous. Do not assume a napping service dog is off-duty.
If you see a service dog without his/her owner, that may be a sign of trouble. Seek help if you are able and let the dog lead you to his/her master.
How to celebrate International Assistance Dog Week:
- Participate in local events
- See what type of events are happening in your community. Attend these events and celebrate the joy these hard-working dogs bring to those in need.
- Celebrate by helping animals in need. Lend a hand at your local animal shelter, donate time or money, or even adopt a pet in need of a loving home!
- Raise Awareness
- Inform your peers of how these specifically trained animals are aiding so many people in our communities!
Assistance dogs provide much more than “jobs” for the individuals with disabilities. Each of these animals provide their owners with the companionship and love that only a dog can give. They help so many different individuals throughout the world and allow people with disabilities to live comfortable life.
Make sure to celebrate International Assistance Dog Week by bringing awareness to dogs which can change an individual’s life!