Since its opening in 2015, the Canine Companions at Baylor Scott & White Health – Kinkeade Campus in Irving has been an amazing experience, where adorable puppies like Gator become life-changing service dogs. In celebration of September being National Service Dog Month, it was only natural that there would be a gathering of graduates, students and humans to celebrate on Tuesday, September 13. In honor of the work accomplished by the CC staff, puppy raisers, dogs and human companions, Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer presented a proclamation declaring it National Service Dog Month to one of the program’s puppy pupils. For more details of the day and the accomplishments of the program, here’s a report from the field:
September is National Service Dog Month, a month dedicated to honoring the life-changing work service dogs provide for their handlers with disabilities.
Service dogs are professionally trained in tasks to enhance the independence of the individuals they serve. At Canine Companions, service dogs are placed with children, adults and veterans with more than 65 different kinds of disabilities. They are trained in more than 45 skills to help with countless tasks including opening doors, turning on and off lights, retrieving dropped items, pulling a wheelchair and so much more.
A national non-profit organization, Canine Companions created the concept of service dogs for people with physical disabilities nearly 50 years ago and has placed more than 7,300 service dogs since their founding. There are currently more than 2,700 active Canine Companions teams working across the country.
To celebrate these great achievements and honor the work of these expertly trained dogs, Canine Companions held an inaugural celebratory event at its training center in Irving, Texas – the Canine Companions at Baylor Scott & White Health – Kinkeade Campus.
The City of Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer issued an official proclamation declaring September as National Service Dog Month, which included a special presentation where a service dog in training accepted the proclamation.
In addition, a client of the program, Roberta with Service Dog Patrick, shared her story of her injury, recovery and life with a service dog. Patrick helps Roberta do things independently, including picking up items she drops and opening and closing doors for her. She shared how these tasks and many more save her energy and reduce her reliance on others.
There were plenty of dogs in attendance, too, providing service dog demonstrations and photo ops, and even play time with adorable puppies beginning their journeys to become service dogs. A wheelchair immersion course offered the opportunity for individuals a firsthand look into how a service dog makes daily tasks easier.
People were encouraged to “raise a paw for service dogs” by signing a pledge to support and protect their important work.
Throughout the month of September, Canine Companions continues to celebrate, educate and advocate for service dogs and the people who use them. Nearly 1 in 4 people in the United States have a disability, and there are more than 500 people waiting to receive a service dog from Canine Companions. You can learn more about service dogs and help make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities at the links below:
- Raise a paw and sign the pledge to protect the rights of service dogs and their handlers.
- Attend DogFest to celebrate the love of dogs on October 1.
- Test your service dog knowledge and learn more about service dogs by taking this fun quiz.
- Sponsor a future service dog (ends September 30).
- Learn about the laws surrounding service dogs and the difference between service dogs and other types of dogs in your community with this infographic.
Visit the Canine Companions website to learn more and get involved at canine.org. Happy National Service Dog Month!
* Photo provided by Canine Companions at Baylor Scott & White Health – Kinkeade Campus