That’s right! It’s here! A week specifically set aside to raise awareness of the service dogs that make our world a better place.
The goals of National Assistance Dog Week are to:
- Recognize and honor assistance dogs
- Raise awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs
- Honor puppy raisers and trainers
- Recognize heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities
While not all working dogs are service dogs (the Americans With Disabilities Act has a specific definition for a service dog, our canine friends hold may positions in our lives.
Check out this great article from NBC 10 in Boston about the 10 Jobs that Dogs Do. From acting, to herding sheep, to therapy dogs, and dogs that complete tasks for people who can’t; read about them here!
One of the many important tasks dogs are great at is sensing the state of people. With so many soldiers and law enforcement personnel impacted by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; dogs who can assist to calm, reassure, and bring people out of the symptoms of PTSD are becoming more prevalent. Dog T.A.G.S in Pennyslvania is an organization whose mission it is to “To train, assist, guide and serve veterans who have been diagnosed by a licensed mental healthcare provider with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) through the operation of a Service Dog Program.” Watch a news segment from WFMZ about them.
National Assistance Dog Week also falls around the same time as National Night Out. From National Night Out website, the second week in August is designated as an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.
One of the events that fit in well with this mission are police K-9 demonstrations. Watch below to see a police canine stop a suspect.
When you think of “Assistance Dog” you are probably thinking of dogs that perform tasks for individuals. Canine Companions for Independence is one such organization. Their mission “enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.” They train dogs in four areas of service, Service Dogs, Hearing Dogs, Facility Dogs (who visit hospitals, nursing homes, and schools), and Skilled Companion dogs.
Paws With A Cause has taken the concept of training service dogs and added a twist. They operate in conjunction with inmates who provide the training. Paws With A Cause enhances the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities nationally through custom-trained Assistance Dogs. PAWS® increases awareness of the rights and roles of Assistance Dog Teams through education and advocacy.
Regardless of where they are trained or live, assistance dogs provide tremendous value to our communities and the people they serve.