International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) occurs every year beginning on the first Sunday in August, and International Assistance Dog Week 2013 started August 4th and will run through the 10th. This year, the theme is “Seeing, Hearing, Sensing, Supporting: There’s a Dog For That!”
Established by Marcie Davis, the author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook, International Assistance Dog Week seeks to recognize hard-working Service Dogs, raise awareness and educate the public about the Service and Assistance Dog community, honor puppy raisers and other dedicated Service Dog volunteers, and to tell the world about the heroic deeds Service Dogs perform all the time. During International Assistance Dog Week 2013, make it your goal to support Service and Assistance Dog handlers, trainers, owners and users via any means you can. Here are some great ways to help the Service Dog community and to spread the word about International Assistance Dog Week 2013:
- Literally spread the word! Check out our “Friends of the United States Service Dog Registry” Facebook page forsome great graphics, PSAs and information to share with your friends and family concerning the great work Service Dogs provide for their people.
- Thank a puppy raiser. They give thousands of hours to training, guiding, teaching, socializing and loving their Service Dogs in Training, and without puppy raisers, Service Dogs as we know them would cease to exist. Behind every great Service Dog beats the heart of a puppy raiser. Contact any Service Dog program or organization and ask them where you can send a thank you card or message for their puppy raising team. Alternatively, just post a thank you note to their Facebook wall. They’ll appreciate it!
- Educate businesses. Print off the Service Dog guidelines for businesses and leave them with a manager or someone in charge when you visit their store or facility. Businesses who are familiar with the laws make access for Assistance Dog teams in the field smooth, easy and stress-free. Additionally, businesses who know the law are able to make access enjoyable for all patrons by recognizing that Service Dogs who are out-of-control or who aren’t exhibiting exemplary behavior do not have to be granted access.
- Send a press release to your community paper, magazine, radio, TV or news stations. All it takes is a single person to make a huge difference in your city, town or county — be that one! Here’s a sample press release provided by IADW you can use to support International Assistance Dog Week 2013.
- Host (or attend) a Service Dog awareness event. Raise money for your local Assistance or Service Dog organization, have fun, and spread the word on the great work Service Dog organizations provide. Here’s a list of ideas for great, helpful events. To view planned events or to add your event to the official International Assistance Dog Week 2013 event list (no charge!), check out the IADW website.
Service and Assistance Dogs help bring independence, security, peace of mind and joy to their disabled handler’s lives. By serving as their partner, assistant, friend, companion and helper, a signal, brace, guide, hearing, mobility, alert, autism, psychiatric or other assistance dog literally brings their human partner a new “leash” on life. In addition to raising awareness and honoring all the hard work these special dogs and the people who train them, love them and live with them do, IADW also parters with companies and organizations who provide deals, coupons and free products for Assistance Dog handlers. Support International Assistance Dog Week 2013 by supporting its sponsors!
Don’t delay — do whatever you can this week to help support the Service Dog and Assistance Dog community, and remember to have fun doing it!