Sunday, August 9, 2009

Assistance Dog Day - Service Dog Resources

Assistance Dog Day

First National Assistance Dog Day is August 9. Pay tribute to the selfless love, devotion and care provided by assistance dogs, including service dogs, guide dogs, hearing alert dogs and alert/seizure response dogs. This special day has been set aside in recognition of all of the dedicated Assistance Dogs working with their human partners.

In recognition of all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability-related limitations. Assistance Dogs transform the lives of their human partners with debilitating physical and mental disabilities by serving as their companion, helper, aide, best friend and close member of their family. Assistance Dogs can be from a variety of breeds including, but not limited to: Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles, as well as shelter dogs. These specially trained dogs perform many tasks for their partners with disabilities and are classified in the following ways:

Guide Dogs – Assist people with vision loss, leading these individuals around physical obstacles and to destinations such as seating, crossing streets, entering or exiting doorways, elevators and stairways.

Service Dogs – Assist people with disabilities with walking, balance, dressing, transferring from place to place, retrieving and carrying items, opening doors and drawers, pushing buttons, pulling wheelchairs and aiding with household choirs, such as putting in and removing clothes from the washer and dryer.

Hearing Alert Dogs – Alert people with a hearing loss to the presence of specific sounds such as doorbells, telephones, crying babies, sirens, another person, buzzing timers or sensors, knocks at the door or smoke, fire and clock alarms.

Seizure Alert/Seizure Response Dogs – Alert or respond to medical conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, panic attack, anxiety attack, post-traumatic stress and seizures.

Medical Alert/Medical Response Dogs – Alert to oncoming medical conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, panic attack, anxiety attack, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

All of these types of assistance dogs are dedicated to their humans, who rely on them to achieve their daily function. Please celebrate the selfless love and devotion these dogs so humbly provide by participating in National Assistance Dog Day.

National Assistance Dog Day was established due to the efforts of Marcie Davis, a paraplegic for over 35 years and CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm based in Santa Fe, NM. Davis is the author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook, a resource book that captures personal stories, checklists and practical tips to provide the reader with an A-Z guide about service dogs. She founded Working Like Dogs, to honor assistance dogs around the world. Now she works to raise awareness through Working Like Dogs, an organization that honors and promotes awareness for assistance dogs. “It’s an organization that helps support and promote working class dogs throughout the country,” she says of her organization, and added that she hopes an annual holiday will build on her efforts. “I’m hoping that it’ll raise awareness of the importance of assistance dogs to people with disabilities,” she says, “And for the nonprofits that work so hard to train these dogs.”

What can you do to celebrate National Assistance Dog Day?

1. Learn more about assistance dogs and see what you can do to help them help others.
2. See if your dog would make a great assistance dog in your community.
3. Send a card or gift to the trainers of assistance dogs.
4. Make a donation to an assistance dog training facility, or to a charity that helps connect these dogs to the disabled persons who need them.
5. Spread the word on the importance of assistance dogs in our society!

Where to find more information:
Working Dogs -
National Association for Search and Rescue -
Reading Assistance Education Dogs -
American Kennel Club - DOGNY: America's Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs -
Dogs for the Disabled -
Guide Dogs for the Blind -
Keystone Human Services -
PAL Volunteer Pet Teams -
Dogs for the Deaf -
K9 One Companion Dogs -
Paws'itive Teams -
Wolf Packs Service Dog Trainers -
Tender Loving Canines Service Dogs - San Marcos, CA 92069, 760-736-4852