August 7-13 this year is International Assistance Dog Week, created to recognise all incredible assistance dogs and the life-changing impact they have on people with disabilities and ongoing medical conditions.
Marked by assistance dog organisations around the world, International Assistance Dog Week shines a spotlight not just on the qualified working dogs, but the volunteers, staff and supportive communities that have allowed them to succeed in their role.
At Guide Dogs, we’re celebrating International Assistance Dog Week by sharing some special stories to show how we are globally connected, and the benefits of working with others all around the world.
Terry Quinn was matched with his first guide dog Spencer in 2020. He says, “I describe being partnered with my guide dog Spencer - my knight in shining armour - as the first day of the rest of our lives. He’s been the last missing piece in getting my life back and I feel like myself again.”
Healthy and hardworking guide dogs like Spencer are possible thanks to our world-leading breeding program, which is linked with other guide dog organisations in other countries.
Guide dog dad Ollie was part of an international transfer between Guide Dogs in the UK and Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides school. Having been sent across the Atlantic, Ollie has, so far, sired 54 healthy puppies for the Lions Foundation with the qualities needed to become successful guide dogs in the future. One of his gorgeous golden retriever litters is pictured above.
It’s not just dogs we exchange. Did you know that our Cryogenic facility allows us to freeze and store semen from our guide dog dads, and send this to accredited members of the International Guide Dog Federation? Seeing Eye Dogs Australia has had great success with this process and in the past two years, ten litters from Guide Dogs UK frozen semen have been born! Here’s the Seeing Eye Dogs Australia team with just some of these dogs.
International Assistance Dog Week reminds us there's so many organisations like Guide Dogs all around the world working to give people with disabilities more freedom and independence - and we can achieve more by working together.