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Every dog has its day; assistance dogs on Aug. 10 posted on 08/01/2019

Dogs are often considered to be man's best friend, and for a peek into the life of some remarkable assistance dogs and their trainers, make a date from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, on the front plaza of OMSI, 1945 SE Water Avenue in Portland, and celebrate International Assistance Dog Week. This free event features assistance and rescue dogs and their trainers from Autism Service Dogs of America (ASDA), Paws Assisting Veterans, Summit Assistance Dogs (SAD), The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs and more organizations.

Assistance dogs are highly trained to aid and help transform the lives of individuals with a disability in many ways by serving as their companion, aide, helper, best friend and loyal member of the family. During their training the dogs learn unique tasks to assist their human partners, often allowing that individual to increase their everyday activities and independence they might not otherwise be able to enjoy. They also provide a devoted, loving companionship and a sense of security. Assistance dogs may be trained to help the blind or vision impaired, deaf or hearing impaired, persons with mobility or psychiatric issues, and there are also dogs that are trained to locate lost and missing persons.

ASDA provides specially trained service dogs to autistic persons. A service dog accompanying an autistic child to school often provides a calming presence by assisting with activities and changing locations and can frequently minimize or eliminate emotional outbursts. Due to the presence of a service dog accompanying an autistic child, it will make a family feel more secure out in the community and will often increase opportunities for an autistic child to develop social language skills with others.

SAD are specially trained for people with mobility issues by opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, retrieving dropped items and helping with many tasks to assist with daily living. Their dogs are also trained to meet specific needs of an individual.

For more information, visit www.omsi.org.

By Frances Berteau/MT

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