September is National Service Dog Month!
In 2008, actor Dick Van Patten visited a guide dog facility; a facility that raises and trains dogs for the specific purpose of guiding blind and visually impaired persons. While learning of the extremely high cost to raise and train a guide dog (approx. $40,000) he wanted to do something to help. With the support of the Petco Foundation, he launched a fundraising drive to benefit guide and service dog training throughout the country and with that, National Guide Dog Month was established in 2009. Originally designed to benefit the non-profit guide dog schools accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation, National Guide Dog Month is now recognized as National Service Dog Month and celebrates an even wider range of assistance animals.
Each September, organizations and communities across the country celebrate guide dogs, seeing-eye dogs, service pets and other assistance animals for the companionship, inspiration, protection and assistance they provide people in need.
Service dogs help make life more manageable by detecting allergens, increasing social skills, decreasing effects of post traumatic stress, monitoring for drastic health changes and more. While assistance dogs come in many breeds, there are some specific breeds that have shown to perform better as a service dogs than others: Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds are popular breeds to be selected as service dogs because of their intelligence, work ethic and early maturation.
In celebration of National Service Dog month it’s important to also support the responsible breeders across the country that are providing these amazing animals to people in need. It’s incredibly important to support pet choice and the rights and freedoms for all citizens to make responsible decisions and find the right canine companion for them. The reality is, finding ideal service dog breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labradors and German Shepherds in shelters is not easy, and like most shelter animals, background information is scarcely available. Behavior, temperament and family history are all important factors for a ‘service’ role and when that is unknown or not made clear to a potential handler, it can result in relinquishment. In addition, service dogs are usually trained at a very young age and trying to find a puppy of a preferred breed is that much more difficult.
We support responsible breeders and recognize the need for freedom of pet choice, and with that lend our support of National Service Dog month, this month and every month.
For more information on the important health benefits of companion animals, visit the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) online at www.habri.org.
For more information on the important work of various organizations training service dogs visit: