Discussing The Importance Of Guide Dogs And Why They Should Be Celebrated
The month of April consists of 30 days and practically every one of those days celebrates a different holiday. Most people are familiar with the big ones like April Fools Day, Easter, and Earth Day. However, one of the most important holidays in April is International Guide Dog Day on April 26th, 2023. The purpose of this article is to explain what this holiday is, why it’s so important, and how you can get involved.
What Is International Guide Dog Day?
Alongside National Pretzel Day, April 26th, 2023 is widely acknowledged and celebrated as International Guide Dog Day. Like most other pet-themed awareness holidays, the purpose of this holiday is to educate people. Many people are unaware and/or don’t fully appreciate guide dogs for what they are and what services they provide. This holiday aims to change that by raising awareness about guide dogs and the positive impact they have on disabled people’s lives. They don’t just improve some people’s lives, they give them their lives back.
What Exactly Is A Guide Dog?
According to Britannica.com, a guide dog is defined as a dog that is professionally trained to guide, protect, or aid its master. They are also referred to as seeing eye dogs and service dogs. These dogs are specifically trained to help people with disabilities navigate through life. This includes people that are blind, deaf, and handicapped. Guide dogs begin their training between the ages of 14 and 17 months and their training is specific to the needs of their owner. Some of the most common breeds of guide dogs include golden retrievers, border collies, labradors, standard poodles, and shepherds. To learn more about the different types of service dogs, check out our other article entitled Service Dogs.
The Importance Of The Holiday
So why have a holiday based around guide dogs? Because guide dogs are an imperative and invaluable part of disabled people’s lives. Blind people often heavily rely on guide dogs to help them navigate through life and avoid dangerous situations. The same is true for deaf people. Guide dogs have incredible hearing and essentially do all of the hearing for their deaf owner. Guide dogs help their deaf owners by alerting them to sounds they can’t hear. Whether it’s a smoke alarm or simply a knock on the door, guide dogs are very important to the hearing impaired.
How You Can Get Involved
There are many different ways you can help and get involved with this truly wonderful pet-themed holiday. One great way is to donate to the International Guide Dog Federation (I.G.D.F.). The I.G.D.F. is a membership body and professional standard-setter for guide dog organizations across the world. They are responsible for funding and creating hundreds of guide dog operations, employing thousands of guide dog trainers/teams, and have nearly 23,000 guide dogs working as of 2021. Aside from donating, you can also get involved by donating your time. Spend some time with someone you know that is hearing or visually impaired. This not only gives them some company, but it will help you empathize with them and their daily struggles. It’s easy to take things like sight and hearing for granted. But, this holiday helps remind us all how important these senses truly are and how fortunate we are to have guide dogs to help those with disabilities.