Larchmont Animal Clinic
International Assistance Dog Week
You may recall that in June we observed National Service Dog Eye Exam Month. Although the month has an obvious focus on the eyesight of service dogs, our article focused more on why checking on your pet’s eyesight in general is crucial to their wellbeing. However, today we are not only going to highlight the infallible workmanship of service dogs, but all dogs that are trained to aid our fellow man in their times of need. We here at the Larchmont Animal Clinic would like for you to join us in honoring these assistance dogs for the appropriately named International Assistance Dog Week.
The International Assistance Dog week is carried out from August 5th to the l1th and was created through the effort of Marcie Davis. Author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook and a paraplegic herself, Davis created this week to really recognize and honor the dutiful lives of assistance dogs. This week also brings awareness and education to the general public about the differing types of assistance dogs, honor puppy trainers and raisers, and last but not least recognize the heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities. Today we’d like to help in educating our dear public about the different types of assistance dogs. While many of you may know about guide dogs, (dogs that help those that are visually impaired) it may surprise you that there are also dogs that aid those that are hearing impaired. This is achieved through physical contact or just alerting them to important sounds in their environment. Both guide and hearing dogs do so much to enhance the quality of life for their partners and we are just scratching the surface of the other types of assistance dogs. There are also mobility dogs which aid those who are in a wheelchair or need bracing support. Mobility dogs also perform a variety of tasks that their partner struggles to do. Another type of assistance dog is a medical alert dog, whom are literally making sure their partner stays alive. There are trained to let their partners know about changes to vital signs, or any other symptoms associated with their dangerous health condition. Seizure and diabetic alert dogs would fall under medical alert dogs. Seizure dogs are truly incredible (all of these dogs are) as they can alert their partner of oncoming seizures, or can aid them during an attack by bolding their partner down or getting help. Some seizures dogs are trained to perform in both of these situations. Equally amazing, diabetic alert dogs can let their partners know if their blood sugar is too low or high. They also know to seek help if their partner passes out. The last type of assistance dog we will be talking about today (if I continued this would be an essay) are often overlooked but shouldn’t be; are psychiatric service dogs. As we know many suffer from PTSD, depression, or anxiety disorders. These heroic dogs help mitigate the disorder and are always there for their partner in their times of need. Truly, all of these dogs deserve a week of appreciation because they are all heroes in their own right. Be sure to always respect assistance dogs because as you can see they are working dutifully 24/7 to help those who need it. Thank you to not only these sensational dogs, but all those that train and raise these dogs as well.