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The International Dog Assistance Week is a dog holiday to honor and commemorate the working class dogs assisting disabled and incapacitated individuals. People with disability have special needs and assistance. Having a disability limits one’s functions and mobility. For individuals with disabilities, a simple tasks to many maybe a struggle for them. That is why many paraplegics, children and adult individuals with physical impairment have trained and adopted a working dog to help them assist on their limited movements and physical inadequacies. These people have special needs and gladly the most probable assistance a disabled individual aside from a human companion was man’s nearest and best friend, our four-legged canine partner – the dog.
The powerful bond between man and dog has been a mystery ever since the history of man began. Of all the animals around, history reveals that only the dog has been the closest animal man has ever bond with. Living with man inside communities and homes. That is why man and dog by nature seem to have a symbiotic relationship with each other. This prompted several organizations to recognize the dog’s trait of assisting and helping disabled and impaired individuals with special needs and guidance. According to Assistance Dogs International, there are generally three types of assistance dog, and each perform special functions for individuals with disabilities:

Guide Dogs – are assigned for the blind and the visually impaired;
Hearing Dogs – are dogs for the deaf and hearing impaired people;
Service Dogs – are dogs for people with mobility or other disabilities not related with visual and hearing incapacities.

Dog Assistance for the Blind (Guide Dogs). Did you know that Guide Dogs are usually partially color blind? Yes, they cannot fully recognize the colors red – green. The human handler of the Guide Dog commands the dog’s move based on skills acquired from mobility training together with their handler. An amazing dog skill training which has been practiced for guide dogs for over 70 years. One can say that being a Guide Dog was the oldest profession of modern Assistance Dogs. Thus Guide Dogs are exempt from regulations from places that restrict dogs and animals like restaurants and public transportation in many countries worldwide. Most Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are ideal Guide Dogs.

Dog Assistance for the Deaf and Mute (Hearing Dogs). Assisting the deaf, mute and individuals with hearing impairments are the Hearing Dogs. They can very well sense doorbells, smoke alarms, phones and alarm clocks. They are also capable of working outside the homes, alerting their handler on sounds of sirens, heavy machineries such as forklifts and they can recognize the handler’s name upon calling by others. Dobermans, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Collies, Rottweilers are some of the breeds ideal as Hearing Dogs.

Dog Assistance for the General Handicap (Service Dogs). These are Assistance Dogs trained for people with other disabilities than vision and hearing impairment. People who have limited physical mobility, balance disorder, including those with mental and psychiatric disabilities are best assisted by Service Dogs. Most children with psychiatric conditions like autism, seizure-related diseases and paraplegics are best assisted by Service Dogs. Labrador and Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Dalmatians and practically any kind of dog breed can be trained as Service Dogs.

Remember that these special types of dogs are trained to help and assist someone with physical disabilities and impairments. They are special breed of dogs that hold important functions for every human not only to the handlers and masters they serve but largely for everyone so that we will be aware of their important roles in our lives. They share an uncommon and exemplified relationship for people with disabilities. Their awesome and extraordinary skills are specially exhibited because of their unconditional partnership with their human master and great friend – YOU.
 
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