Work Like a Dog Day, Celebrating Working Dogs
Happy Work Like a Dog Day! Did you know the term ‘work like a dog’ most likely comes from working farm dog references from previous centuries? When someone says, “I’ve been working like a dog,” we take it to mean that person has been working hard and endlessly. So why would there be a designated day to something which many people don’t want to do… work too much!
While we don’t know the answer to that question, we do know of many dogs who work to enhance the quality of life for people, and even other animals, around them. Today, we are celebrating those working dogs who make the world a better place.
Working Dogs with Jobs To Do
Many dogs go to work, just like people! Their keen sense of hearing or smell detect things that humans could not otherwise see or smell. For example, many airports employ dogs who sniff luggage and travelers for dangerous items or even innocuous items like food. For example, Lizzy the beagle is employed at Kennedy Airport. Her job is to sniff luggage for illegal food that may carry parasites and diseases that could harm American agriculture. Izzy’s nose is so good, she can determine whether a bag is worth searching in just one whiff – something that would take airport personnel hours to do on their own.
Airports are now also employing a new kind of working dog: a comfort dog! In a recent USAToday article, it is reported that as many as twenty U.S. and Canadian airports are now employing their own special comfort dogs to help de-stress the flying experience. In LAX, there are as many as thirty Pets Unstressing Passengers dogs, (P.U.P.s), whose job it is to entertain or relax passengers in the terminals. Wearing red vests that instruct people to “pet me,” the dogs wander LAX’s terminals with their owners, providing comfort and airport information.
Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs Providing Love and Guidance
Service dogs are heroes 24/7/365 to the people they love and serve. A service dog is a type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people who have disabilities including visual difficulties, hearing impairments, mental illness, seizures, diabetes, autism, and more. A therapy dog is a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and to people with learning difficulties.
J.J. is a very special service dog with a very special job. She can sense when her seven-year-old human, K.K., is about to have a life-threatening seizure. When K.K. went in for a surgery, J.J. went with her, and it is believed J.J. is the first canine allowed into the procedure room at the Children’s Health Center at Duke University Medical Center.
K.K., who lives in Apex, N.C., was born with mast cell activation disorder, a rare condition that can cause reactions when the girl is too hot, too cold, or gets stressed. When J.J. senses something is wrong, she will jump up K.K.’s leg, tug at her clothes and bark. It is reported the two are inseparable.
Special memories are also made nearly every day through Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Pet Encounter Therapy (P.E.T.) program. Dogs often bring out the best in people! They can calm hyperactive children or stimulate movement and interaction in those with physical disabilities. One special memory is from Mike and his therapy dog, Thunder:
“James, a patient who is blind, loves a visit from Thunder. Years ago James met Thunder during a Pet Encounter Therapy visit. When we first met James he asked me if it was be okay to run his hand across Thunder’s head. I did not know James was blind at the time, but soon figured it out. James wanted to see Thunder through his hands. It has been three years now that Thunder and I have known James and he loves our visits.”
Celebrating Military Dogs, Too
Do you know about the working dogs that have served and continue to serve in the United States Military? It all began with Stubby – click here for a quick history!
Today, there are hundreds of dogs serving in our military. They do all sorts of jobs: bomb detector dogs, perimeter patrol dogs, scout dogs, and many other types of work. They even parachute into danger! They work hard to keep our country safe – just like their human comrades. When we thank the troops for their service, we gratefully remember our four-legged military heroes, as well.
Happy Work Like a Dog Day!
These are just a few ways working dogs help both people and animals. There are so many ways that dogs help people every day, whether it’s a police K-9 unit who keeps us safe, a Search and Rescue dog assisting in a crisis or even dogs who can detect cancer, our every-day lives are both made better and enriched by them. So Happy Work Like a Dog Day to all our working dogs!