National Assistance Dog Week

August 10, 2008 at 12:42 am 1 comment

A Pair of CCI Pups Check Out Their New Vests
CRAWFORD, Colo., Aug 06, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — August 10-16 has been officially designated as National Assistance Dog Week to honor the more than 20,000 dogs that assist people with disabilities. Their work ranges from guide to hearing dogs: from assisting those with mobility problems to alerting for sudden onset diseases like seizures or diabetes. Literally and figuratively, assistance dogs have been opening doors for their partners since the early 1920s. With a service dog helper, people who were unable to leave their home can travel, go shopping, attend classes, or pursue employment. Federal laws assure that their dog is allowed access on public transportation and in public places. A service dog recipient is even guaranteed equal housing accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. Therefore, it is important for anyone working in the public sector to be informed about these valuable canines and the laws regarding their use.
How to celebrate? 
  • Donate
  • Be a puppy raiser
  • Volunteer to help with training, kennel work or other tasks
  • Stand up for a disabled person with a service dog when some unthinking person treats them rudely

We plan to celebrate by donating to Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), our favorite assistance dog group.  CCI published this excellent information on service dog etiquette.

SERVICE DOG ETIQUETTE
    • Don’t be afraid of the dog. Assistance dogs are carefully tested and selected for appropriate
       temperament.
    • Don’t touch the dog without asking permission first. This is a distraction and may prevent the dog
       from tending to the human partner.
    • Never feed the dog. Food is the ultimate distraction to the working dog and can jeopardize the
       working assistance dog team.
    • Speak to the person, not the assistance dog. Most handlers do not mind talking about assistance
       dogs and their dog, specifically, if they have the time.
    • Do not whistle or make sounds to the dog; this too may provide a dangerous distraction.
    • Never make assumptions about the individual’s intelligence, feelings or capabilities.
    • Be aware of potential architectural barriers to the individual.
    • Be respectful of the assistance dog team. They are a working pair going about their daily lives.

Source: Canine Companions for Independence

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Audie's Gramma  |  August 10, 2008 at 5:13 am

    Here’s something you can do, almost anywhere —

    Ask to see the manager of a store that posts pig-ignorant signs, such as “No pets allowed except seeing-eye dogs.”

    Educate that manager about the ADA, the diverse duties performed by service animals, and the proper terminology. Briefly.

    You can suggest a correct, inclusive, and ADA compliant wording for such signs, such as “Service Animals Welcome Here.”

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