Service or assistance dogs can be found hard at work each day providing guide, hearing, seizure response, and emotional support for people.
The US Department of Justice, through the Americans with Disabilities Act, defines a service dog as a dog specifically trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. Service dogs perform some of the tasks that people with disabilities cannot perform for themselves.
In addition to becoming Service dogs, there are many ways that dogs can help out in the workplace. A dog’s keen sense of sight and smell make him great for therapy, search & rescue, forensics, police teams, and the military, among other jobs. According to the North American Police Working Dog Association, more than 25,000 K9 teams have been certified in the US since 1977. The U.S. Military has used working dogs since the Revolutionary War and currently employs approximately 2,300 dogs.
During National Assistance Dog Week this year, starting on the first Sunday of August, be sure to celebrate your dog on his special day, but take time out to think of those dogs who are hard at work each day helping their human companions.
How can we help support working dogs?
- Offer to raise a puppy or foster a dog for service organizations, such as Leader Dogs for the Blind®
- Have your dog evaluated to see if he qualifies to be a therapy dog
- Volunteer your time at your local service dog organization
- Make a donation to your local service or working dog organization