International Assistance Dog Week is August 7-13.
We can contribute to honoring these amazing dogs by raising awareness to the public about how they help people with disabilities each day, their dedication, training, commitment and faithfulness. We should also honor the many people and families who participate and act as the puppy raisers and handlers, the people that socialize them and of course their trainers. There are countless people who create a well trained and socialized assistance dog. Assistance dogs are not created overnight. It takes a vast amount of people in different areas to commit to bringing out the specialty of an assistance dog.
I believe that when people see an assistance dog it’s easy to see just the dog and forget exactly what all went into their training.
Many people look at a golden retriever as being the number one assistance dog, although that may have been true in the past; today there are many breeds that are being trained as assistance dogs. Poodles, Golden and Labradoodles, Labs, standard poodles and yes….. Now even shelter dogs.
There are many things that assistance dogs can be trained to do. Below are just some of the things that they are doing right now for someone who is disabled.
· Medical Alert dogs who can alert a diabetic person when they have low blood sugar, having a heart attack or stroke, seizure dogs who can sense when a person is about to have a seizure, panic attacks, the dog acts as a calming method to control or stop the panic and anxiety. Most recently they have noticed a large amount of people who are training dogs for people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many volunteers are now bringing in dogs to comfort children in the aftermath of tragedies such as tornadoes, shootings, major flood areas where people have lost homes, businesses, and towns, and other major traumatic occurrences.
· Hearing alert dogs- these dogs can alert people to sounds such as doorbells, sirens, telephones, and fire alarms.
· Seeing Eye dogs- assisting people who have vision loss with most everything having to do with getting around. Crossing sidewalks, navigating their way through a store, parking lot, or their home, elevators, bridges, staircases and more.
· Service dogs do a variety of things. They can assist with walking, or by pushing a wheelchair, they assist with opening and closing doors, turning on and off light switches, retrieving items such as shoes, newspapers, clothing items, and so much more. Their abilities are endless.
So what can you do?
There are many ways you can sponsor an event to help out your local animal assistance organizations. My favorite and personally known is Power Paws Assistance Dogs. 480-970-1322. Website: http://www.azpowerpaws.org/
They are located in Scottsdale Arizona and were incorporated in 2001 when they received their 501 c 3 designation. Power Paws Assistance Dogs was founded by Shoshanna Abels, under the notion “That it is the right of every person to pursue the quality the life they want.”
Their main training focuses on mobility impairments, such as paraplegics, quadriplegics, PTSD, and alerting Type 1 Diabetics when their blood sugar levels leave a safe range.
I have had the extreme pleasure of working with Power Paws, their owners, managers, volunteers, and puppy walkers. They are an amazing and dedicated group of people who have put numerous hours into the training, socializing and placement of these amazing dogs.
All of their dogs are undergo extensive health testing including hips and elbow radiographs, cleared by OFA and PennHip as well as their eyes and hearts cleared by a cardiologist and an ophthalmologist.
If you are interested in Volunteering for Power Paws, please click here to see their programs: https://signup.com/group/645503994072. To read more about Power Paws you can go to their HOME button once there.
This is just one way you can help with National Assistance Dog Days.
There are more!
· Car Wash
· Bake Sale
· Dog Painting
· Walk for the dogs Event
· Speak at children classrooms or events
· Golf tournament
There are so many creative ways you can contribute! We would love to see what you come up with. In the meantime, we created a Go Fund Me Campaign for those of you who would like to help but cannot host an event. All money will go to Power Paws Assistance Dogs. The costs are vast to run and maintain an organization: · Cost of the dogs- many volunteers own the breeding female who carries the litters of the puppies.
· Cost of puppies before, during and after birth
· Veterinary appointments,
· Facility costs including rent, maintenance, renovation, electric, gas, city and state taxes, etc.
· The dog food, housing such as crates, blankets, toys, dishes, and so much more!
The list goes on and on!
If you are unable to donate or participate or create an event to recognize Assistance Dog Week, then please share this article. That in itself is a huge and much appreciated help!
Thank you friends!