Paws Up for National Service Dogs this September

Merritt Milam | September 9, 2015

September is National Service Dog Month! Wags n’ Whiskers celebrates these paws-itively paw-esome pups for not only being man’s best friend, but also being a lifesaving companion. These furry heroes dedicate their lives to helping their humans live a normal life and by doing so they truly transform them. Guide dogs, Seeing Eye dogs, service pets and assistance animals help their owners perform everyday tasks, overcome debilitating challenges and live lives full of joy, which is why they deserve our recognition this month!

Dogs are intelligent creatures and learn quickly, which is why they can be easily trained to detect and treat illness triggers—both physical and mental. These specially trained and especially well-behaved pooches are allowed to frequent public places with their owners, even if furry friends are not usually allowed entrance, as they are considered a lifeline—not a pet.

There are a variety of service dogs—the most common are Seeing Eye or guide dogs, who help individuals with vision impairments. Hearing, or signal, dogs act as the ears for hearing impaired individuals by alerting their owner to all sorts of sounds. You can recognize a hearing dog by the bright orange vest they usually wear in public. Psychiatric service dogs serve people with disorders such as anxiety and depression. Seizure alert, or response, dogs help people who suffer from seizures by sensing and smelling seizures before they happen and notifying their handler to take their medication. Mobile service dogs assist individuals with physical disabilities—for example, by functioning as a cane and by retrieving items for the owner—and are usually larger breeds of dogs. Diabetic alert assistance dogs are a specific type of medical assistance dogs that have been trained to identify the changes in blood chemistry that occur during rapidly changing blood sugar levels. Dogs can notify their owners by simply touching them with their nose or jumping on them, their alerts typically depend on their training. Service dogs should always be trained using positive reinforcement methods due to the nature of their job.

These life changing furry friends deserve all the love and recognition they can get during not only this month, but every month of the year! Join us in recognizing these special animals by donating to PETCO & Natural Balance’s fundraising efforts to raise money for guide dogs, and be sure to give service dogs an extra hug (and treat) this month!