Today is International Guide Dog Day! To all guide and other assistance dogs out there, thank you for your service and life-changing work!
Guide or seeing-eye dogs are trained service animals that provide invaluable assistance to the blind and visually impaired. For example, they are trained to avoid obstacles, signal changes in elevation, retrieve dropped objects, and locate objects on command. These are just some of the many tasks a guide dog may do for his or her handler. There are formal training facilities, such as the Guide Dogs for the Blind, just for this purpose. Keep in mind that the handler and dog comprise a team. Be courteous and don’t distract the dog or the handler!
Photo courtesy of Southeastern Guide Dogs
There are many types of service dogs in addition to guide dogs. These include hearing, psychiatric, medical assistance, and mobility assistance. Here are some of the numerous tasks these marvelous animals are trained to do.
Photo courtesy of the American Kennel Club
Remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act distinguishes between service or assistance dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support dogs. They are not the same thing, and only service dogs are protected by the ADA. If you have questions, check out these FAQs and handy infographic:
Infographic courtesy of Care2
Here are a few stories describing the astonishingly cool things that guide dog teams have accomplished! Guide dogs are true heroes!