Why International Assistance Dog Week Matters

It’s International Assistance Dog Week and North Edge K-9 would like to send a big shout out in appreciation of everyone that trains and places service and assistance dogs.

We know first hand that it takes a nearly incomprehensible amount of time, dedication and compassion to train dogs to assist their owners in leading more independent lives. But we also know that all that effort is returned manyfold in the joy these dogs bring their owners.

International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) was created to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability related limitations.

At North Edge K-9, we recognized there was a need for service dogs to help military veterans battling the effects of PTSD. To do so, we led the way for a non-profit organization called K9s on The Front Line. PTSD affects one in five combat Veterans and not only contributes to more than 22 suicides per day, but prevents many of the affected warriors from leading successful civilian lives. Care for Veterans with PTSD currently overwhelms the VA system’s resources. At the same time, U.S kill shelters euthanize 1.7 million dogs annually. We felt that training service dogs to help the combat veteran population was a smart solution.

K9s on the Front Line and North Edge K9 are already making a significant difference in bringing a new quality of life to veterans and their families. We can say unequivocally that a service dog can help alleviate the affects of PTSD and even save a recipients life. First, a specially trained PTSD service dog can neutralize negative emotions absorbed from the human partner, and replacing those emotions with a sense of security. Service dogs can also be trained to perform specific tasks to disrupt paranoia and flashbacks, interrupt repetitive or injurious behavior, blunt nightmares, retrieve objects and guide the owner through stressful situations.

Time after time we see veterans with PTSD gain their lives back, advance their careers, bring families back from the brink of collapse and become emotionally available to their spouse, children, other family members and friends.

The results speak for themselves and to the need for all of us to support the work that service dogs and their trainers are doing worldwide. Every day they improve the lives of everyone they touch.