Every year, beginning on the first Sunday in August, we celebrate the hard work and heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs around the world. This year, International Assistance Dog Week falls on August 2, 2015 – August 8, 2015.
Where the acceptance of service dogs is concerned, we’ve made great strides in the United States over the last year. For example, New Jersey lawmakers have introduced legislation aimed at educating employees on the rights of citizens with a disability to have a guide or service dog with them in public places. This came about after an incident in 2013 involving a legally blind man who was ordered to remove his dog from a store, even after providing proof that his dog was a trained service animal.
In other places in the country, children are being taught about proper etiquette when dealing with service dogs, which is a fantastic step toward increased safety for the disabled, the dog, and the children.
Unfortunately, even in light of all of these positive changes, the process continues to be a slow and tedious one. Raising awareness about the importance of these animals is going to require many more years of dedication on all of our parts. Just in the last month, we’ve seen news coverage of the following events:
- July 27, 2015 – Uber Driver Turns Away a Blind Man and His Service Dog
- July 28, 2015 – Service Dog is Denied Access to a Public Campground in Rochester, NY
- July 31, 2015 – Man and His Service Dog are Not Allowed to Board Their Flight
Obviously, if these events occurred within just a few days of one another, it’s reasonable to believe that this is nearly an everyday occurrence. These dogs are more than just pets to the people they serve. They change lives in profound and positive ways, and refusing to welcome them into public places is not the way that they should be treated.
This time next year, we’re looking forward to sharing more progress and positive updates about the acceptance of service dogs. Here’s how you can help:
If you are the owner or manager of a business, we want to encourage you to teach your employees about the importance of service animals and the work they do. You might even consider learning more about how service dogs are changing the workplace.
International Assistance Dog Week hosts fundraising events all over the United States. If you’re lucky, there will be one in your town this year, which is a great opportunity to support this very important cause. You can find a local IADW event by clicking HERE.
Finally, you can show your support and stay up-to-date without ever leaving home by following International Assistance Dog Week on Facebook and joining their emailing list.
Cheers to another great year for service dogs everywhere!
Featured Photo Credit: Can Do Canines1 via Compfight cc