International Assistance Dog WeekDear Kid,

This week is International Assistance Dog Week (really and truly). As we know, there are lots of other service animals including service monkeys (I have yet to hear about service fish), but this week is for our canine friends. So pull up a doggie biscuit and read on.

Should you wish to attend an International Assistance Dog Week event, I have thoughtfully provided a listing of local events.

IADW was created to recognize the devoted, hardworking service dogs that help individuals achieve their goals in life.

Two organizations that I know and love celebrate assistance doggies every day. Meet Guiding Eyes for the Blind and Circle Tail.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a wonderful organization located in Yorktown Heights, NY (which is only considered “upstate” if you live in The City)  that trains dogs to assist visually impaired individuals. Auntie M and Uncle Sean have been puppy raisers for Guiding Eyes for a long time—they will welcome Puppy # 6 to their home in a few weeks—and even though they don’t bring their charges to the midwest frequently enough they are Most Excellent Puppy Raisers. The adorable Tanner (puppy #5) goes to college a few days before you. He’ll probably also graduate sooner….

In a move I have to admit I did not see coming, Guiding Eyes for the Blind has teamed up with Pour Le Monde (a company specializing in natural fragrances) to create a lovely scent that is worn by people and helps raise money to raise and train puppies. The fragrance is called Empower. In my opinion, they should have called it Sniff.

Circle Tail, Inc. is a FAB-U-LOUS organization just north of Cincinnati. Actually a little farther than “just” but still in the general vicinity. They train all kinds of assistance dogs and they have some very interesting programs including having inmates raise and train some of the dogs, and offering Healing Touch for Animals (HTA). There is a great picture on their site of a dog putting clothes into the washing machine (I know people who haven’t mastered that skill.) The dogs they train come from a variety of sources including families, humane societies, and shelters. One of the photos they have on the site is of a beagle/ dachshund mix who is about to become an assistance dog (with much longer legs than our beagle/dachshund mix….).

There is a wonderful doggy “gym” in their facility. Booker has gone a few times. (When Booker goes we have to get out a different water bowl for him because he isn’t tall enough to drink from the one they have out for the rest of the dogs.)

How Can I Participate in International Assistance Dog Week?

How you ask? So sweet of you to inquire.

If you were a working adult of the earning money variety, I would suggest you make a donation to an organization that supports working dogs. Non-profits always appreciate financial support. If you lived in an area with a local event and weren’t working the hours you’re working, I’d suggest going to an event. Here are some ideas for college students of the not-so-much-spare-cash variety.

  • Like one of the organizations on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter
  • Tell others about the wonderful work assistance dogs do and suggest they make a donation
  • Many companies support non-profits—check their websites to find out more
  • Figure out how the average person can successfully photograph a black lab.

You can also Like on the website or Facebook. It won’t necessarily help the puppies, but it can’t hurt.


Love, Mom