Today wraps up the week long national celebration of International Assistance Dog week. This annual event is celebrated on the first Sunday of August for one week.
Due to the efforts of Ms. Marcie Davis, the celebration honors and raises awareness for assistance animals across the world. These amazing animals work to serve disabled men and women, thereby reducing their limitations in day-to-day life!
Here in East Tennessee, we’re fortunate to have a local service dog organization, Wilderwood Service Dogs, located in Maryville. With their mission “changing the lives of families, one dog at a time” they help in providing highly trained service dogs, specialized in helping people with neurological disorders. If you are interested in getting involved with this local assistance dog organization, they have opportunities for puppy foster families, puppy walkers, kennel volunteers, and a variety of other sponsorship or donation opportunities. Check out their page How Can I Get Involved? for more information.
Another local East Tennessee service dog non-profit is Smoky Mountain Service Dogs. This group has a mission of “providing public access tested/approved mobility assistance service dogs to disabled Veterans and providing service dogs to autistic children.” SMSD also offers the opportunity to volunteer as a puppy raiser, socializer, and respite provider. Check out their Volunteer Page for more information.
The founder of this week of recognition, Marcie Davis, is the CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm located in Santa Fe, NM. She has also been a paraplegic for over 35 years, and has put forth much effort to further awareness and provide services for assistance dogs and their owners. She is an author and has a well known radio talk show called “Working Like Dogs” which can be heard via www.petliferadio.com. Her talk show provides valuable information for service and working dogs and their humans. Her show has also hosted various celebrity animal lovers, such as Betty White.
International Assistance Dog Week exists to recognize organizations such as these that are focused on devoted, hardworking assistance and service dogs that work to help their humans overcome disability related limitations. The week’s main purpose is to: – recognize and honor these amazing animals – recognize and honor the people who raise and train them – to raise awareness – to recognize the amazing and heroic deeds accomplished by these animals To learn more about this annual event, stop by www.assistancedogweek.org.
photo credits: Spring Graduation 2014 via photopin (license); Spring Graduation 2014 via photopin (license)
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