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    Let’s All Celebrate the Helping, Healing Power of Dogs 

    Mark your calendars and grab your leash. It’s time for International Assistance Dog Week 2013. The worldwide event kicks off Sunday, August 4 and runs through Saturday, August 10.

    During International Assistance Dog Week, organizations and communities around the world will honor the efforts of millions of devoted, tireless canine workers. Canines who can make a difference in people’s lives and communities. The event’s goal is to raise awareness and educate the public about the growing number of ways these specially trained animals are serving the least fortunate in our communities.

    Whether it’s helping a blind man safely navigate busy streets or letting neighbors know that its owner needs immediate help, assistance dogs transform the daily lives of those coping with debilitating or life-threatening conditions. They happily serve as trusted companion, helper, aide, best friend, and family member.

    There are three basic categories of assistance dogs:

    • Guide dogs assist blind and visually impaired people 
    • Hearing dogs assist deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals
    • Service dogs assist those with all other disabilities

    In addition to honoring the assistance dogs themselves, International Assistance Dog Week celebrates the efforts of puppy raisers and dog trainers.

    International Assistance Dog Week was the brainchild of Marcie Davis, a paraplegic and CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A longtime assistance dog owner herself, Davis is the author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook, an “A to Z” resource of personal stories, checklists, and tips. 

    For more information about local events during International Assistance Dog Week, visit assistancedogweek.org.  Students pursuing human service degrees or psychology degrees may also be  interested in learning more about show service dogs help people in need with their disabilities or other psychology related treatments. Individuals and students also interested in learning more about assistance dogs or service dogs can visit the Center for Public Service throughout the month of August to learn about service dogs we are recognizing, read articles related to assistance and service dogs, and participate in our free online webinar where a panel will share their expertise on how service dogs are helping people and communities.

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