Aside from your everyday, rambunctious household poodles and shih tzus, there exists a special canine breed: service dogs. Service and guide dogs perform tasks for individuals that need assistance doing routine tasks—service and guide dogs are primarily seen as extensions of the individual they are with. The skills of service and guide dogs range from fetching newspapers to navigating their owner through the bustling world. They can even be trained to indicate if they’re defecating or urinating by making their back flat or curved. That way, their owner can feel their spine and scoop up waste in a dog disposal bag if needed.
Although the costs for adopting a service dog are high, the outcome pays in dividends. For the assistance animal that does so much for you, here are a few tips to show them special care back.
Guide dogs are taught to continually act under training, not as a pet, so their focus is always meant to be on the task at hand. With that, they need more grooming and veterinary visits than the average house pet. Brushing your canine companion’s thick hair frequently and having good hygiene is recommended to keep up appearances and show love to your dog. If you are unable to, taking your service or guide dog to a groomer can be an easier option. Understanding that they are prone to error and stress while supporting you is a good way to support your service or guide dog.
If you do not own a service or guide dog, you can donate online to a dog school. Training for a disciplined support dog can range from months to years, requiring a lot of time and effort. With so few guide dogs, the demand for their services is high and the utmost consideration is used for picking and tending to the dogs. Some dog schools specialize in dogs trained for the visually impaired, while others train for owners with the loss of one or more limbs. Any of those schools are more than receptive and happy for any help, including your time. You can volunteer by raising a puppy or hosting a breeding dog to be a potential guide or service dog. Showing those pups the same love and affection, if not more, will help them grow into being beneficial canines to others.
Increased awareness, appreciation and support of guide dogs is important all year round but especially during the month of September. What started from Dick Van Patten, an American actor and animal welfare advocate, and his inspiring visit to Guide Dogs of the Desert has turned into a national holiday for the month of September. During National Guide Dog Month, Petco is partnering with guide dog organizations and allowing you to easily donate through them. From volunteering your time or giving monetary donations to physically caring for service and guide dogs, your gracious support extends from them to the individuals they care for.
Do you have a service or guide dog in your life? How do you show special care for the pup that cares for you? Let us know your experiences on our Facebook!