August 5, 2012 - Assistance Dog Day

 The organization Working Like Dogs informs us that there are many local events to celebrate Assistance Dog Week from today to August 11, to honor the dogs themselves plus the raisers and trainers who insure that the dogs are such great helpers! Some events may focus on heroic deeds performed by individual assistance dogs, and other events may try to raise awareness of the the role assistance dogs can play in our communities. To find local events or to download materials to help promote events, check out the Working Like Dogs website.

  • Guide dogs assist the blind and the visually impaired.

  • Signal dogs help the deaf and the hard of hearing.

  • And service dogs are trained to help people with a variety of disabilities. For example, some dogs alert people to seizures or other medical problems, pick up objects, open and close doors, operate light switches, or even pull wheelchairs. Some service dogs are able to help patients relearn to walk, keep their balance, and get up from a fall.
It's remarkable what seizure response dogs can do: summon help by activating a medical alert or pre-programmed phone, pull dangerous objects away from the seizing patient's body, block the seizing patient from obstacles or streets, rouse the unconscious patient after a seizure, and carry information, medication, and oxygen. It takes a really special dog to be able to serve in this position!

Medical response dogs can be trained to sense (and I'm guessing this means “smell”) when a diabetic patient's blood sugar is too low or too high, and they often bring medications or the telephone when needed.


You might want to donate to Paws with a Cause or another organization dedicated to getting service dogs into the hands of people that need them. 

Check out some videos about assistance dogs here, and here, and here.

Here is a video about a seeing-eye dog, and here is a video about a hearing dog.

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