We are happy to announce that this week, August 2-8, 2020, is International Assistance Dogs Week! An assistance dog, also called a service dog, is a dog who has been individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the complications of a disability or medical condition. Examples of tasks an assistance dog can be trained to perform include picking up and retrieving dropped items for a person with a significant physical disability or alerting someone with diabetes to blood sugar changes. Their training can also include assisting in finding and returning an individual with autism to a caregiver if he or she wanders away, or alerting someone with epilepsy of an oncoming seizure.
Service dogs and their clients are known as teams. Lucy and I have been matched as a team for the last 10 years. She is a yellow Labrador Retriever trained to assist with the challenges of autism and cerebral palsy.
Lucy wanted to say hello to everyone and share a little bit about her life as a service dog.
Greetings from Lucy
Good afternoon, folks! My name is Lucy, and for 10 years, Adria and I have been partnered together. We have had so many adventures, and more importantly, I know when I wake up in the morning it’s going to be a doggone good day. I can tell every day when we are out together just how much of an impact our partnership has made on Adria’s life. Some of my favorite outings together have been our trips to Target, including that time I got my picture taken with Bullseye.
The time we went to testify before the state Senate was awesome. I got to meet a bunch of senators and go back into the House chamber and everything! Occasionally, Adria will stop in the pet care aisle on a Target run and find me a new toy as a reward for being good and following directions. I love it when that happens!
I also enjoy our weekly trips to the public library. I really enjoy seeing all the reference librarians and staff. Adria nearly always has a project or presentation of some sort to keep busy with, and the library is the perfect place to do it because it’s nice and quiet and the floors are so cool on my tummy. It feels so good. I can lie in there all morning having a nice nap counting my tennis balls by the window, and before you know it, it’s lunchtime. I don’t eat lunch, but Adria does. She always chooses different places depending on her mood. She really likes Five Guys and Chipotle or sometimes a good salad.
We Enjoy Our Busy Days Together
We also really enjoy walking around downtown and meeting people. I like to hear Adria talking to kids about how to appropriately interact with service dogs. Adria never gets tired of giving what I call the “Dog in a Vest” speech. She will talk to kids about why I wear the vest and what it means and how you should never touch a dog in a vest unless given permission. I’m so proud of her. I feel so special.
It’s not all work and no play though. After a long day of going to appointments or meetings, working at the university, doing the grocery shopping, or whatever else we do, I come home, have a good rub against the living room couch, and flop down to begin working on my chew toy.
I also like my tennis balls and enjoy a good game of fetch with Adria if I’m not too worn out. Sometimes though, I just curl up on my bed for a nap. Speaking of naps, it’s about that time. I’ll see you later, humans! Thanks for reading and Happy International Assistance Dog Week to all my four-legged coworkers!