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Assistant Dog Day

August 1, 2022
Did you know that August 4th is Assistance Dog Day? Our canine companions can be found working in many areas, but this is one realm where they truly stand out. A local Virginia Beach, VA vet discusses assistance dogs in this article.

Basics

An assistance dog, or a service dog, as they are also called, is a pup that has been trained to help individuals with specific challenges or disabilities. This is far beyond what the average ‘Good Boy’ would do. Fido may learn to perform complex tasks, such as turning lights on and off and fetching specific objects. Some of the other duties assistance dogs may perform would include helping people cross streets; fetching specific items; and/or alerting them to medical emergencies, such as an oncoming seizure or blood sugar crash. Others help their humans cope with fear or anxiety. These duties are outlined and defined in the Americans With Disabilities Act, which states that disabilities can be physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, mental, or other. Fido’s work must be directly related to that disability.

Types Of Assistance Dogs

The most commonly known type of service dog is probably the Seeing Eye dog, or Guide dog. These pups help people with visual impairments live safely and independently. However, assistance dogs can help people with many different challenges and disabilities. Some different types of assistance dogs include diabetic alert dogs, seizure response dogs, allergy detection dogs, and autism support dogs.

Interacting

Assistance dogs usually will be wearing a vest or harness that identifies them as such. What do you do if you see a pooch wearing one? Nothing! Fido is just as cute as any other dog. However, he isn’t a pet. You should never interact or interfere with a working dog. If one approaches you, he may be trying to get help for his human. In that case, follow him. Aside from that, just leave him be. In fact, it’s illegal to interfere with them!

Finding Fido

Do you think you or one of your loved ones would benefit from an assistance dog? You’ll need to go through a properly-accredited trainer or program. Your best bet would be Assistance Dog International, a worldwide coalition that helps train and place assistance dogs. You can learn more on their website here. As your Virginia Beach, VA animal clinic, we are dedicated to offering top-notch care. Call us anytime!
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