UW Combined Fund Drive

July 30, 2021

International Assistance Dog Week Spotlight: Summit Assistance Dogs

These are the dog days of summer, and what better time than now to shout out doggos?

Milk-Bone brand founded National Dog Month in 2020 to recognize all the ways dogs make our lives better. Dogs are the most popular pets in the U.S. And though October is National Adopt a Dog month, anytime is a good time to adopt if you are looking for a new best friend!

Research demonstrates that living with dogs makes us happier, less stressed, and more optimistic. Dogs and other companions animals can help lower blood pressure, ease anxiety and provide social support.

Portrait of Dubs II

Portrait of Dubs II / UWAA

Ways to Recognize National Dog Month

  • Donate to your local shelter or to a larger dog nonprofit through payroll deduction or a one-time gift with the UWCFD.
  • Make your next veterinarian appointment to ensure your pet stays healthy and strong.
  • Volunteer! Nearly every local animal shelter and service provider has started accepting volunteers again. Walk and socialize dogs, organize donations, help out in the office, attend events – whatever engages your interests. Not only will the dogs appreciate the support, but so will their future human companions.
  • Foster an assistance dog in training.
  • Be sure to use #NationalDogMonth to post on social media.

Lending a Paw

During National Dog Month we also celebrate International Assistance Dog Week, beginning the first Sunday in August.

Assistance dogs help people with disability-related limitations live more independent lives. Dogs pick up dropped items, turn on and off lights, open doors, act as navigators, and even identify the onset of a medical condition, such as a seizure.

NOTE: Though they are trained to avoid distraction, it is important to respect service dogs while they work to enhance the life of and protect their person. Consider these best practices when around a service dog.

Nonprofit Highlight: Summit Assistance Dogs 

Photo: Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Assistance Dogs (charity code 0315210) creates life-changing partnerships by providing highly-skilled mobility service dogs for people living with disabilities in the Pacific Northwest.

Summit dogs assist with tasks such as retrieving items, opening and closing doors, and turning switches on and off. These companions can also help diminish depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

With a mobility service dog by their side, people living with a disability often feel empowered.

“Many of our clients have been able to maintain or get a job, attend college, live independently, travel, and so much more because of the support, independence, and companionship that a service dog provides,” says Emma Kouguell, Summit’s communications coordinator.

Dogs enrolled in the program spend their first eight months learning basic obedience, housebreaking, and socialization. Volunteer foster homes, which include puppy sitters and puppy raisers, are the backbone of the organization. Puppy sitters assist with providing a solid foundation for the puppies and adolescents to grow into valuable, life-changing service dogs for people living with disabilities.

After the puppy program, dogs begin more formal and advanced training. Many of the dogs are trained by inmates at the Monroe Correctional Complex, providing incarcerated people the opportunity to learn job skills, communication, and responsibility.

Once graduating, the assistance dogs are ready to be placed with their carefully paired client. Together they complete one final intensive two-week, on-site training program to prepare the pair for a long and successful partnership.

Taysen and Jackson / Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit events: Summit hosts several events throughout the year, including an annual luncheon and virtual yappy hours where attendees learn about service dog training, what life is like with a service dog, and more. Sign-up for Summit’s newsletter to stay updated about upcoming events and Summit news: https://summitdogs.org/newsletter-signup

Prospective clients: If you or someone you know might benefit from a mobility service dog, you can learn more about Summit Assistance Dogs’ client application process here: https://summitdogs.org/overview

Putting Our Best Paw Forward

There are many organizations doing impact work by connecting dogs with people. Consider one of the following or explore more on the state CFD Nonprofit Database.

Courthouse Dogs Foundation (charity code 1481524) – Advocates for a more humane court system by including trained assistance dogs to provide comfort to vulnerable witnesses and others during stressful legal proceedings.

Guide Dogs of America (charity code 0315576) – Guide Dogs of America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing professionally trained guide dogs, and instruction in their use, free of charge to blind individuals in the United States and Canada.

Brigadoon Service Dogs (charity code 1478245) – Specializes in training dogs to help children with developmental and physical disabilities as well adults. Engage at-risk teens to work with the dogs which help to build self-esteem, responsibility, and confidence in these youth.

Dogs for Better Lives (charity code 1478994) – Professionally train dogs to help people and enhance lives while maintaining a lifelong commitment to all dogs rescued or bred and the people served. Our three assistance dog programs are: Hearing, Autism, and Program Assistance.

Assistance Dogs International
ADI is a coalition of not for profit organizations that train and place assistance dogs.

International Association of Assistance Dog Partners
IAADP is a non-profit, cross-disability organization representing people partnered with guide, hearing and service dogs.

Working Like Dogs
WLD is a resource for people with working and service dogs, or who would just like to learn more about them.