International Assistance Dog Week starts today, August 1st. The 4th is also International Assistance Dog Day. Our canine companions are truly amazing animals! Fido’s devotion, intelligence, and hard work are special gifts, ones that allow him to help people with disabilities or medical challenges live independently. A vet discusses assistance dogs in this article.
A Helping Paw
Assistance Dog Week started with the intent to honor all of the loving, devoted pups that help their human pals live their best lives. However, there’s more to it than just giving Fido a well-deserved pat on the head. It’s also about raising awareness. The people who train and place assistance dogs also deserve recognition.
What Is An Assistance Dog?
People often get assistance dogs mixed up with therapy dogs. These pooches do have a few things in common. For one thing, they all help their humans live full, fulfilling lives. They’re also adorable! That said, there are some clear distinctions. Assistance dogs, which are also called service dogs, have been trained to perform specific tasks or functions. They are protected by law, and are allowed to go anywhere their humans go. There are only a few exceptions, such as hospitals. Therapy dogs have been trained to help people cope with sadness, grief, trauma, or anxiety.
Man’s Best Friend must meet some specific requirements before being classified as an assistance dog. His owner must be disabled according to law. Assistance dogs must also be trained to help their humans overcome or mitigate the disability in some way. Fido must also have proven himself to be a Good Boy in public, and to act properly and well-behaved at all times. Assistance dogs must also be in good health and kept up to proper hygiene standards.
One example of an assistance dog would be a Seeing Eye Dog, who helps guide a blind owner around. Assistance dogs have also been trained to detect oncoming seizures or drops in blood sugar for diabetics, and act accordingly.
In many places, it’s now a felony to harm or interfere with an assistance dog. It may not be illegal to pet them, but it is inconsiderate. Never touch or interact with an assistance dog without express permission. After all, Fido is working like a dog, and needs to focus!
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