I've raised eight service dogs and Teddy, our current service pup in progress, makes number nine. I can't imagine not raising – even after the heart ache and grief I'm experiencing after Talos' departure. I find the experience of raising a pup rewarding. It's a demanding job, but you reap the rewards tenfold. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing the dog you helped raise change someone's life. There's nothing like it.
This week is National Assistance Dog Week! I believe this is the first annual celebration of all things related to assistance dogs. There's a website to explain the official designation, what service dogs do, and why we're celebrating. From their website:
"Assistance Dogs transform the lives of their human partners with physical and mental disabilities by serving as their companion, helper, best friend and close member of their family. They are specifically trained to perform many tasks for their partners, and are generally classified as:
Guide Dogs – Assist people with vision loss, leading these individuals around physical obstacles and to destinations such as seating, crossing streets, entering or exiting doorways, elevators and stairways.
Service Dogs – Assist people with disabilities with walking, balance, dressing, transferring from place to place, retrieving and carrying items, opening doors and drawers, pushing buttons, pulling wheelchairs and aiding with household chores, such as putting in and removing clothes from the washer and dryer.
Hearing Alert Dogs – Alert people with a hearing loss to the presence of specific sounds such as doorbells, telephones, crying babies, sirens, another person, buzzing timers or sensors, knocks at the door or smoke, fire and clock alarms.
Seizure and Medical Alert/Seizure Response Dogs – Alert to medical conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, panic attack, anxiety attack, post-traumatic stress and seizures.
All of these types of assistance dogs are dedicated to their humans, who rely on them to achieve and exceed their daily function. Please celebrate the selfless love and devotion these dogs so humbly provide by participating in National Assistance Dog Week."