Help Celebrate National Service Dog Month
September is National Service Dog Month: Here’s a look at what that’s all about.
National Guide Dog Month was the brain-child of actor and pet activist, Dick Van Patten. He was greatly impressed years ago by the training and intelligence of guide dogs while touring a guide dog school.
Through his Natural Balance Pet Foods and The Petco Foundation, Van Patten took up the challenge of fundraising for guide dogs. In 2008, Natural balance and Petco began a fundraising campaign to benefit guide dog schools in the U.S. who held accreditation from the International Guide Dog Federation, including, of course, Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Each year, during the month of September, Natural Balance and Petco work together to raise money and awareness of the great work these dogs do. This year they have expanded the scope of the project to include working military dogs. Therefore they are now referring to it as National Service Dog Month (instead of National Guide Dog Month – because all guide dogs are service dogs, but not all service dogs are guide dogs). This year they are hoping to raise $1 million to support service dogs across the US. The money raised in September will be divided between the 12 accredited guide dog schools in the US.
Some of the money will also go to help pay for a national monument honoring military working dogs at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. These military working dogs are on the front lines, saving lives and enriching the time our servicemen and women are spending fighting for our freedom. This is the first time that an animal has been honored with a national monument. It is scheduled to be completed in 2013. Lackland was selected because it is where the military program is housed to provide working dogs to all branches of the military.
Here at Southeastern Guide Dogs we have computed that it costs approximately $60,000 to breed, whelp, raise, train, match, and provide a lifetime of follow-up care for a guide dog team, however our students/graduates pay nothing. That’s right, we provide our services free of charge, and we don’t receive any government funding. You can imagine how thrilled we are to be a part of National Service Dog month, so a big “Thank You” goes out to Natural Balance, Petco, and all our other supporters.
We can do what we do because of you!