International Assistance Dog Week starts August 2nd! International Assistance Dog Week was started as a way to honor all of the hard-working pooches that help individuals overcome disabilities. This is also a great time to help spread awareness about assistance dogs, and shine a spotlight on some of their heroics. A local Mesa, AZ vet discusses assistance dogs below.

Types of Assistance Dogs

The term ‘Assistance Dog’ is actually an umbrella term, which covers many dogs working in many different areas. Seeing-eye dogs, for instance, guide people with vision impairments. They are trained to perform specific tasks, such as helping their humans cross the road or steering them around obstacles. Hearing dogs help people who have hearing problems. They may let their owners know about things like buzzers or doorbells going off, and/or may lead them to the source of a specific sound. Then there are service dogs. There are actually many different kinds of service dogs. Seizure service dogs may be trained to alert their owners to an oncoming seizure, while Diabetic service dogs may be trained to react to changes in blood sugar. There are also service dogs that help veterans who are coping with PTSD, depression, or anxiety. One thing that all of these pups have in common? They’re all wonderful!

Interacting With Fido

If you come across an assistance dog, keep in mind that the pup is on the job. While assistance dogs do offer their humans love, comfort, and companionship, their main focus is going to be on helping them overcome day-to-day challenges. That’s why you should never try to pet or interact with a service dog. If you really want to pet Fido, make sure to get the owner’s permission first. That said, if a service dog ever approaches you, it may be trying to get help for its owner. If you feel safe following, do so. If not, contact authorities immediately and ask for further instructions.

How To Help

There are some truly excellent organizations dedicated to training assistance dogs and matching them with prospective owners. The Assistance Dogs International site can be found here. However, there are many others. Consider donating money or supplies to one of these great organizations. Even spreading the word on social media may help!

As your local Mesa, AZ pet clinic, we’re dedicated to offering great veterinary care. Please contact us anytime!