Each September we recognize the many service dogs who provide assistance, protection, companionship and confidence to their owners.
Service dogs serve those with debilitating medical conditions; from autism to blindness, seizure disorders and hearing impairments, diabetes and those who need physical assistance, and they also serve our wounded warriors suffering from conditions like PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and mobility issues.
National Service Dog Month was first established in 2008 by actor and animal advocate Dick Van Patten. Van Patten was inspired by a visit to the Guide Dogs of the Desert facility in Palm Springs, CA. After learning of the costs and times involved in training a service dog, he initiated a fundraising drive to benefit guide and service dog training schools throughout the country.
The fundraiser through time grew into an annual celebration honoring the extraordinary work service animals do each and every day for the people they care for.
Many service dog organizations have two objectives; to provide a trained companion animal for people in need and to save an animal’s life by using rescue animals for this work. With thousands of dogs dying in shelters every year, it’s a perfect partnership. A 2013 statistic indicated that more than 380 rescued dogs were placed in jobs that saved their lives and benefited the person they now serve.