National Service Dog Month

National Service Dog Month

Why is national dog service month celebrated?

National service dog month is an entire month in September dedicated to celebrate all the hard work service animals do to assist their human companions. This appreciation month started in 2008 when awareness was brought upon a program that trained dogs for the visually impaired: it was called “Guide Dogs of the Desert.” In support of the operation, actor and animal advocate Van Patten launched a fundraising drive to benefit the program and eventually became an honorary board member on the “Guide Dogs of the Desert” operation. He continued to promote national guide dog month with the intent of benefiting non profit organizations for service dogs, and after much fundraising, National Service dog month was officially confirmed in 2009.

What are service dogs?

Service dogs are trained to implement tasks for people with disabilities in their daily lives. They can help in very specific actions such as getting or returning items, alerting their owner of dangerous shifts in blood sugar, or even help with psychiatric disabilities. They also offer companionship, physical assistance and aid in mental health which can help them cope with their impairments and improve their overall quality of life. 

What are the types of service dogs?

It is generally considered that there are 8 types of service dogs that aid people in need:.

  1. Guide dogs assist visually impaired people with tasks like moving around the house or public spaces and are usually the most common type of service dog. 
  2. Emotional support dogs provide comfort to those with mental health conditions or disabilities. 
  3. Allergy detection dogs help people with severe allergies to foods. Because dogs have so many olfactory receptors, they can easily dissect the ingredients in a food dish and identify whether it is dangerous.
  4. Hearing dogs act as ears for their human companions and can also keep their owners company if they feel lonely.
  5. Mobility assistance dogs can retrieve objects, open automatic doors, carry bags, etc. for a movement impaired or disabled owner.
  6. Autism support dogs are trained to assist those with autism, often children so that they feel safer and calmer in new and unfamiliar environments.
  7. Diabetes alert dogs can help notify owners if their blood sugar levels are too low before they experience any serious symptoms.
  8. Psychiatric service dogs help those with mental illness including PTSD and schizophrenia by acting as emotional support animals.

How can I get a service dog?

If you are considering getting a service dog, first think about whether you have the financial means of pet ownership. Training, feeding, and grooming dogs can be expensive, and dog ownership in general is a large commitment, one that should be taken seriously. If you are ready, talk to your doctor, therapist, or mental health professional who could provide advice and resources on the requirements to qualify for a certain type of service dog and how to legally own one.

Happy Cat Month!

Happy Cat Month!

What is cat month?

Cat month was designed by the CATalyst council to bring awareness to the health, importance, and overall welfare of cats. There’s a common misconception that cats are more self-sufficient than most pets, but in reality, they are social animals that require just as much love and attention as dogs do. The goal of cat month is to promote a different outlook on cats’ personalities and show that they need as much human attention as any other pet does.

How can I keep my cat happy and healthy?

To answer this question, we first need to know the signs of a happy cat. Kneading their paws into a bed, blanket, or their own stomach, in addition to soft purring are usually accurate signs of contentment. So, how can we achieve this? Providing your cat with a fun scratching post, grooming them, feeding them treats, upgrading their litter box, and buying them new toys are some of the easiest ways to make them happy.

Although happiness is important, their health is even more so! It is important that you make frequent checkup visits to the vet and make sure that their vaccinations are up to date. And don’t forget to ask about potential preventative medications for fleas, ticks, mites, or heartworms that you could consider!

A cat relaxing in a cat tower.

What should I not do with my cat:

  1. Grab/Throw your cat – Although this may seem obvious, do not harm your feline friend. Frustrated owners may have a higher likelihood to do so, but be aware as it can cause damage to their physical and mental spirit. Make sure you’re always treating them with gentle care!
  2. Skip flea treatment – Even if your cat primarily stays indoors, cat owners can easily track in fleas and other bugs. If your furry friend ingests a flea, this can cause a tapeworm infection in their intestines. 
  3. Drive with your cat on your lap – Your feline friend can easily get anxious or terrified in moving vehicles, so make sure they are safely secured in a carrier. This will ensure less injuries and overall distractions. 
  4. Keep your cat unsupervised outdoors – It’s a bad idea to let your indoor cat wander outdoors because they could be confused, curious, or frightened of their unfamiliar surroundings. They can easily wander off, hide in bushes, or dart into traffic.
  5. Feed your cat toxic foods – Make sure you keep dangerous food out of your cat’s reach. Specific examples include onions and garlic, as well as raw eggs, raw meat, and bones which can lead to salmonella or E-coli poisoning. Many cats are also sensitive to lactose products, as milk and dairy products can cause digestive issues. Furthermore, alcohol ingestion can cause breathing problems, seizures, coma, and even death.

A cat visiting the veterinarian.

Any interesting facts about cats?

  1. The oldest known domesticated cat existed 9,500 years ago and was discovered by French archaeologists in Cyprus!
  2. 70% of a cat’s life is spent sleeping, working out to be around 13-16 hours per day.
  3. Isaac Newton, the famous scientist who was one of the founding fathers of modern day mechanical physics, invented the cat door.
  4. A cat went to space on October 18th 1963 and was known as “Astrocat”!
  5. Your house cat shares 95% of its DNA with tigers, as reflected in their similar behaviors from scent and urine marking to pouncing and prey stalking.
  6. A house cat can run up to 30mph, faster than Usain Bolt’s average speed in the 200-meter dash!

Cats playing and running in a backyard.