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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