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International Assistance Dog Week is August 3 - 9

August 3 – 9, 2014 is International Assistance Dog Week
International Assistance Dog Week was established by Marcie Davis, a paraplegic for over 35 years. Davis is the CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm based in Santa Fe, NM. Davis is the author of “Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook,” and is the host of the Internet radio program, “Working Like Dogs,” at www.petliferadio.com. Soulful Presence, a nonprofit Davis established to empower underserved populations established International Assistance Dog Week.

International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) was founded to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability-related limitations. Transforming the lives of humans with debilitating physical and mental disabilities, assistance dogs serve as their companion, helper, aide, best friend and as a member of their family.

The goal of IADW is to honor hardworking assistance dogs, raise awareness and educate the public about how these specially trained animals are aiding people in our communities.This week also honors the puppy raisers and trainers of assistance dogs and recognizes the heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities.

What are the various types of assistance dogs?
While most people are familiar with Guide Dogs, those that assist people with vision loss, not as many people are aware of the other types of assistance dogs working today.
  • 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 chores, 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.
What kind of breeds are assistance dogs?
Assistance Dogs can be from a variety of breeds including Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles, as well as shelter dogs
Where can I get more information?
Visit International Assistance Dog Week, Working Like Dogs Assistance Dogs International and the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners.