By Alice McGowen, Disabilities, Accessibility & Functional Needs Program Lead for Humanity Road
WASHINGTON, DC , August 2, 2014 | In honor of International Assistance Dog Week, Humanity Road is supporting an awareness campaign in social media. This year during International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) August 3-9, 2014 we are celebrating assistance dogs in the workplace and recognizing heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities. Follow along in social media in Facebook and Twitter under hashtag #DAFN and #IADW as we recognize and honor assistance dogs around the world, raise awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs.
International Assistance Dog Week was created to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability related limitations. In addition to honoring assistance dogs during their special week, one of the goals is to raise awareness about these very special and highly trained animals.
We hope everyone can join us to celebrate the selfless love and devotion these dogs provide. Approximately 57 million Americans have a disability. There are more people with disabilities living in America than the entire population of Canada or the Caribbean. The number of Americans with vision impairments is comparable to the entire population of Switzerland, and there are more Americans with hearing impairments than in all of Denmark, Paraguay or Hong Kong. If you take the population of Ireland and cut it in half, that’s roughly the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s or other neurocognitive disorders. Additionally, more Americans with disabilities require the assistance of others to perform basic activities of daily living than the entire population of Greece.
“Humanity Road is committed to shining the light on service dogs which empower accessibility and support functional needs for thousands of people daily. We are committed to sharing information that is relevant, and timely for citizens with functional needs.” Says Alice McGowen, team lead for the Disabilities, Accessibility & Functional Needs (#DAFN) program at Humanity Road.
Alice has been disabled for 21 years and has had two service Dogs. She is trained in CDC Crisis and Emergency Risk Communications (CERC), ADA Accessible Assembly Areas and is the recipient of the 2013 Gold Presidential Service award for humanitarian service.
Assistance Dogs transform the lives of their human partners with debilitating physical and mental disabilities by serving as their devoted companion, helper, aide, best friend and close member of their family. Assistance dogs include Guide Dogs, Service Dogs, Hearing Alert Dogs, Seizure Alert/Response Dogs and Medical Alert/Response Dogs.
International Assistance Dog Week was established due to the efforts of Marcie Davis, a paraplegic for over 35 years and CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm based in Santa Fe, NM. Davis is the author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook, a resource book that captures personal stories, checklists and practical tips to provide the reader with an A-Z guide about service dogs and she is the host of the Internet radio program, Working Like Dogs, at www.petliferadio.com. As a member of a service dog team, she founded Working Like Dogs to honor assistance dogs around the world.