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Recognizing Assistance Dog Week

You came back! cries Holly. She does a four-paw slide across the kitchen flooring to greet me at the back door.

Oof! Holly Don’t! I say, using her middle name. I just went to pick some dill from the herb garden. I was only out there for for a couple of minutes. 

Would you make Bodine let go of my
leash, please?

The cat said you’ve been gone for days and I just wasn’t paying attention, said Holly.  But I was! I was paying attention. I think he picks on me sometimes.

Ya think? I say. Anyhow, little one, let’s see if we can get a calm greeting from you. This sliding across the floor and slamming into my legs is not becoming of a puppy as smart as you. We have to get you ready for Service Dog College and Good Behavior will be on the test.

But I am Puppy! says Holly. Hear me Rawr!

Indeed you are, Holly Reddy, I say. Still, a puppy needs to learn self-control. Especially one who is being raised to be an assistance dog.

I have important work to do someday, says Holly. I remember. You told me that.

Yep, and you know what else? I say. This week of August 3 is International Assistance Dog Week.

I have a whole week? Really? says Holly. Wait a minute. I thought every day was a Holly Day Holiday. 

I know you think that, I say. But I suppose even puppies being raised for an assistance dog career would be celebrated this week as well. It would fall into the spirit of things. It’s all about raising awareness and a trained assistance dog doesn’t just get born ready to roll. There’s the Breeder/Caretakers, the Puppy Raisers, and a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes volunteers working at it before the puppy even makes it to Advanced Training. 

At least that’s how it works for Canine Companions for Independence, anyway, I say.

So it takes a pillage or something? asks Holly.

What? No, you mean it takes a village, right?, I say. I guess so. Our CCI village is country wide, though. You little critters start off in California, then go off to one of the five Regional Centers to be placed with a Volunteer Puppy Raiser. At last count, there’s nearly fourteen hundred puppy raisers with CCI. That’s a pretty big village. Maybe a better word is Community. 

The Working Dog Community

In recognition of International Assistance Dog Week we’d like to offer up a closer look at what an Assistance Dog can do for folk.

And who better to tell you than a handler? Only a person using an assistance dog can relate the joys as well as the challenges.

DYK? Canine Companions for Independence provides assistance dogs to individual with a disability free of charge. CCI trains four types of assistance dogs:

  • Service Dogs
  • Skilled Companions
  • Hearing Dogs
  • Facility Dogs

What CCI does not provide are Guide Dogs and Medical Alert Dogs. The type of dogs and training for these programs are actually very different.  Several other organizations, such as The Seeing Eye, focus in these areas.

So here we’ll share links to the awesome teams of CCI, as well as a look into of the world of some other working teams.

Some websites to watch:

Sidekicks Project

Where’s the Sound (Marc & Mildred, a CCI Hearing Dog Team)

Help on Four Legs (Alex & Bright, a CCI team)

Safe & Sound (Beth Fink’s blog about life with a guide dog.)

Black Dogs Rule (medical alert dog)

Quadomated (Mike & Caleb, CCI team)

Goodwill/Easter Seals (with Kevin & Harley, CCI Team)

Jeb’s Dog Blog (a long-time CCI puppy raiser)

What do you think? 

Inga & Joseph, a CCI Skilled Companion Team

Do you know an assistance dog team active in social media that should be added here?

Drop a comment with a link, won’t you?

About Donna Black-Sword

Lover of all things Dog.

4 responses »

  1. I blog about life with my rare disorder, but honestly it's mostly about my CCI service dog now 🙂


  2. One person who has an amazing life with his photogenic and talented service dog Auggie:


  3. Thanks for sharing your link. I've put your website in the blogroll on the right. Give the glorious Cassius a kiss on the nose from us.


  4. Absolutely, John! Thanks for sharing the FB link to Lance and Auggie.



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