This month we celebrate the contribution Service Dogs make to our world. This recognition began with renowned animal lover, Dick Van Patten. During a visit to the Palm Springs Guide Dogs of the Desert campus in 2008, Dick was fascinated, impressed and astonished by the intelligence of guide dogs and the assistance they provide. After being blindfolded to experience firsthand how guide dogs offer assistance to blind people, Dick wanted to raise more awareness on the importance of the guide dogs. What started as one fundraiser has transformed into an annual celebration honoring the extraordinary work service animals do each and every day to help the people in their care.
Service Dog (including guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, assistance dogs, therapy dogs and companion dogs for those with conditions such as autism for example) live to serve, protect, and assist their handlers while providing companionship and inspiring confidence. Service Dogs help their humans perform tasks, accomplish lifelong goals, embark on adventures, overcome potentially debilitating mental illnesses (like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injuries), and safeguard military bases around the world. I confess to being a dog person, but putting that aside, what these dogs do is nothing short of amazing. These dogs work 24/7 in a quest to offer their people independence and the ability to lead better lives.
That’s why it is so important to recognize the service dogs who dedicate their lives — and sometimes even risk their lives — to help human beings. National Service Dog Month, an annual fundraising and awareness campaign held each September, is the perfect time to reflect on the roles service animals play in our lives.
While Service Dogs aren’t the only dogs with jobs, I think it is safe to say that the world is a better place because of them.