Celebrating International Assistance Dog Week

Some heroes don’t need capes– they have four paws, a tail and a vest to signal their commitment to helping others. They can navigate busy crosswalks for those with low vision, alert a diabetic when their blood sugar is low or assist in other everyday tasks like taking in the groceries or retrieving keys. These are just a few ways assistance dogs act as valuable additions to the lives of their human partners.

Here at Precise, we want to celebrate the important work of assistance dogs with International Assistance Dog Week, starting on Sunday. This year’s celebration will go from Aug. 6 – 12, and we want to take the opportunity to honor the dedication of these canines and educate others on the importance of assistance dogs and their training.

A large part of raising awareness for assistance dogs involves educating others on the responsibilities of these animals. An assistance dog can work under various categories and be a guide dog for a person with low vision, hearing alert dogs for those with partial or total hearing loss, or service dogs which assist people with mobility-related tasks.

Two other types of assistance dogs operate in the field of medical assistance and are labeled as seizure/seizure response dogs and medical alert/medical response dogs. Seizure alert/seizure response dogs alert or respond to conditions like seizures, heart attacks, diabetes, epilepsy, strokes, post-traumatic stress, anxiety attacks and panic attacks. A medical alert/medical response dog is responsible for alerting a person of any oncoming medical conditions previously listed.

Acting as well-behaved helpers and best friends, assistance dogs go through an extensive training process that ensures they’re able to work diligently and attentively for their human partners. Their basic areas of training include manners, task training, obedience, and proofing or public access skills. Assistance dogs wear an official vest, jacket, backpack or harness that allows them to enter any public space such as a store or restaurant alongside their owners to provide them assistance as needed.

Interested in learning more? Check out these personal stories illustrating the heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs and their transformative impacts.

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A Tribute to Therapy Dogs

Our pets bring us infinite amounts of joy and are a special part of our families. Pet parents can all agree, coming home to a sweet, furry face is something to be cherished! Though pets are well-known for their loving nature, they also carry incredible intuition. Many people living with varying physical, mental, and emotional needs are paired with therapy dogs to help them with their day-to-day lives. This week’s blog post pays tribute to those pups.

What They Do

Therapy animals serve a variety of purposes and are proven to provide physical and mental health benefits to their owners. Traditional therapy dogs are bred, trained, and placed with an owner who lives with a mental or physical disability, while some therapy dogs work for an organization and serve as a volunteer. Extensive training prepares these animals to sense triggers and symptoms in their owners and respond to their needs.

Their Impact

These furry heroes can aid a wide variety of needs, but often, dogs are trained to service the specific needs of their owner. They have the ability to lower blood pressure, release calming endorphins, and improve cardiovascular health. Emotional benefits are vast, from lifting spirits to lessening depression; therapy animals’ presence brings emotional support, companionship and comfort.

At Work

Therapy support animals can serve individually in homes, but also in our communities. They volunteer in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Some organizations work with therapy animals as a resource to those affected by anxiety or depression from a life-altering event. Therapy dogs are trained to sense onset signs of anxiety or panic attacks and comfort through licking, and getting close to their owner.

Interested in learning more? Organizations like Pet Partners or Therapy Dogs International are great resources! We’d like to take the opportunity to offer a special shout-out to the pups who spend their day-to-day making their owners’ lives brighter, and full of love. Thank you for your service, therapy pups.

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Not All Heroes Wear Capes – Sometimes They Wear Vests

It’s not a bird, a plane, or even Superman; these companions are the unsung heroes who use their nose and paws to help their human counterpart. This week, Precise is tipping our hats to assistance dogs all over the world.

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Assistance pups work to help people living with mental or physical disabilities by providing mobility services and enhancing their companion’s quality of life. These four-legged heroes include guide dogs, hearing dogs, and service dogs. They are trained to execute a variety of tasks for their owner—from turning the lights on and off to mitigating PTSD stressors, to alerting a diabetic of a drop in their blood sugar, even pulling a lightweight wheelchair.

In order to accomplish these tasks, the canine aides are trained as soon as they pass the puppy phase in basic commands: heeling, avoiding distractions, and task training. It takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months to completely train the dogs. The process for the human counterpart requires an application, a medical reference, and multiple interviews to be considered for selection. Based on individual mental and physical needs, its can take anywhere from one to four years after being selected to be matched with the perfect companion.

International Assistance Dogs Week (IADW) recognizes the loving labor of assistance dogs each year, and we are happy to do the same. Local and state governments often issue proclamations, and organizations host local events to honor these pups. Check out IADW events going on across the US, here.

How can you help pair-up these pups with a person in need? Donate to Assistance Dogs International, a coalition of non-profit organizations that help train and place assistance dogs with their new owners.

Now lets all raise a paw in salute to the valiant efforts of assistance dogs across the globe. Happy International Assistance Dogs Week!

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