Getting Support for International Assistance Dog Week

EdwardEdward Crane and Alepo

By Edward Crane

Each year my canine partner, Alepo and I look forward to the first Sunday in August, which is always the beginning of International Assistance Dog Week. This is a very special time each year, when I plan on honoring my assistance dog, an eight-year-old cream Labrador retriever named Alepo, who has positively changed my life for the better. At the same time, I look to honor all the puppy raisers and trainers, whether they be individual trainers or organizations that do this truly wonderful work for us who are disabled.

Alepo helps me daily cope with a common neurological condition, also known as a seizure disorder called epilepsy. He provides me an advanced warning of each oncoming seizure, plus he provides me balance and support with a special harness that he wears to prevent me from falling and injuring myself. I am truly grateful for the wonderful work that he does for me, each and every day.

In preparation for International Assistance Dog Week each year, I write a letter to my local Mayors (Fresno and Clovis, California), seeking a Proclamation to show their support for this important week, and I plan sharing information and spreading the word to the public.

In the spring of this year, during my initial planning for International Assistance Dog Week, after much thought, I decided that each of the fifty (50) states in these United States should issue a formal Proclamation for this important week, honoring our special dogs. I then sat down and put together these request letters, individually writing to each Governor, and placed them in the mail. I also wrote letters to the following: the President of the United States, the Pope in Vatican City, and finally the U.S. Joint Chief’s of Staff.

The following is a list of all of the Proclamations from the Governor’s of twenty-seven (27) States, in the order that we received them:

1.) Arkansas
2.) Delaware
3.) Hawaii
4.) Michigan
5.) Vermont
6.) Louisiana
7.) Missouri
8.) West Virginia
9.) Mississippi
10.) New Jersey
11.) South Carolina
12.) Illinois
13.) Colorado
14.) Wisconsin
15.) Iowa
16.) California (Letter from the Governor)
17.) Ohio
18.) North Carolina
19.) Montana
20.) Maryland
21.) Pennsylvania
22.) Minnesota
23.) Florida
24.) New Mexico
25.) Virginia
26.) New Hampshire
27.) Kansas
We also received a formal letter from: Robert B. Neller, General U.S. Marine Corps., showing their support.

Shortly after all the letters were sent, I received responses from several of the Governors, advising that requests for the Proclamations needed to come from either a resident or business within their state. As a result, I reached out for help and placed messages on both the internet and Facebook, requesting residents of each of these states to send an email request for the Proclamation in order to help us honor our special dogs. So many people responded and all I can say is we are truly grateful for the tremendous support we received that helped us receive so many of these important Proclamations, honoring our partners, their trainers and organizations responsible for our assistance dogs.

We learned a lot this year, and next year we expect to receive “Proclamations” from all fifty (50) States, but we will need help from residents in each state. Our goal is to both honor our special assistance dogs and to share their magic and our joy with the public.

Both Alepo and I say: Thanks !!!!!

Assistance Dogs in the Workplace: Wayne Wicklund and Snow Shadow

Hearing Dog Snow.Hearing Dog Snow helps Wayne Wicklund with his work as a computer tech and webmaster.

In the International Assistance Dog Week newsletter, we’ve been asking people to share their stories of their dogs in the workplace. Anne Wicklund wrote in from Arizona about her husband Wayne’s hearing dog, Snow, and Snow’s successor, Snow Shadow.

I have to tell you how valuable our service dog is to my husband. He is always at his side – of course – and has saved his life many times. Our Snow passed in September and his successor Snow Shadow is only 10 months old and already bossing his dad around.

Shadow:

• makes sure my husband goes to bed by 8 pm because HE knows Wayne is ill and/or tired,

• Shadow won’t let Wayne walk when he knows Wayne is too ill and too tired, and drags Wayne home

• When Wayne is away from home and becomes disoriented and confused, Shadow sits and waits for Wayne to recover then pulls him home or to the car

• Shadow alerts Wayne when needs his meds or inhaler

• Shadow alerts on sounds and danger, and people too close for comfort

• Shadow alerts on smells, allergic reactions and chemicals that shut down Wayne’s lungs

• Shadow braces Wayne until he regains his balance

Wayne works from home and volunteers at our local Museum –he is webmaster for the website, tech for all their computers, and volunteers at the VA for Viet Nam Veterans. Wayne and Shadow attend numerous political functions locally and around the world and travel extensively

Snow Prince and Snow Shadow have inspired the writing and publication of two books: “My Ears Have a Wet Nose: Acquiring, Training & Loving a Hearing Dog,” and “I Have a Wet Nose . . . and I have a job,” an educational coloring book about service dogs. The next book will be published in 2014, which is a “Handbook for Service Dogs: The do’s and don’ts.”


Read about Snow the chamber ambassador

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International Assistance Dog Week 2014 is August 3-9. Learn more about IADW and subscribe to the newsletter at http://www.assistancedogweek.org/about/.

Tell us how your assistance dog helped you to get and/or keep your job. Send in photos of you and your assistance dog at work. You can send your stories and photos to workinglikedogs@gmail.com.

Assistance Dogs in the Workplace: Kathy Taylor and Hearing Dog Janet

Kathy Taylor and Hearing Dog Janet driving to workKathy Taylor and her CCI Hearing Dog Janet travel a lot for Kathy’s job as a System Designer-Engineer with CenturyLink

In the May issue of the International Assistance Dog Week newsletter, we asked people to share their stories of their dogs in the workplace.

Here is a story shared by Kathy Taylor.  
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From the moment I received my Hearing Dog Janet in the spring of 2008 from Canine Companions for Independence, we hit the road working as a team across the nation deploying business CPE (customer premises equipment) products for CenturyLink. I work in field operations as a System Designer-Engineer which requires extensive traveling to customer sites.

When the alarm goes off in the morning it’s a bouncing Labrador that greets me; if a co-worker should happen to knock on my hotel door I no longer miss the opportunity to meet for breakfast or perhaps join in going out as a group for dinner.

No longer do I have to sleep sitting up at night with my hearing aids in for fear of missing my early morning flight, for Janet will keep nudging me until I get up. Now I can rest peacefully knowing if the fire alarms should go off in the night, Janet will nudge me awake.

Also, while driving to customer sites, if Janet hears any police/fire or emergency sirens, she will nudge me. In May of this year while on a business trip in Alabama when tornados were moving thru the area, it was Janet that alerted me to the tornado sirens and led me from my third floor hotel room to safety.

While at home I no longer miss people ringing the door bell or knocking on the back door. Nor do I miss the oven timers, microwave timers, or dryer signals, as Janet will simply nudge me and lead me to the sound sources.

For the first time in my life I can now visit a doctor’s / dentist office and not have to scope the room out to sit facing the exam room hallway in order to watch for the assistant to call my name. I can now sit wherever I wish and read a magazine / book or simply watch the lobby TV. When my name is called, Janet will nudge my leg and sit up, wanting to lead me to the assistant who has called my name.

It may not sound like much but in the past, no matter how much I informed office employees, the message of my hearing impairment never quite made it to the person calling my name over and over again. My appointment has even been skipped because I failed to hear the office staff call my name, but not anymore, all because of Janet.

There is not a day that goes by that Janet doesn’t display excellence and devotion, all for a scratch and a pat.
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Recent newspaper article featuring Kathy and Janet: http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20140705/LOCAL/307059984

This year International Assistance Dog Week is August 3-9. Learn more about IADW and subscribe to the newsletter at http://www.assistancedogweek.org/about/.

Tell us how your assistance dog helped you to get and/or keep your job. Send in photos of you and your assistance dog at work. You can send your stories and photos to workinglikedogs@gmail.com.