By Tomas Kassahun | Reporter
The City of Clovis honored a special group of pets at the city council meeting on Monday, July 17, presenting a proclamation to recognize Aug. 6-12 as International Assistance Dog Week.
Toni Eames, president of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, and Edward Crane, Founder of My Assistance Dog Inc., were at the meeting to accept the proclamation on behalf of their assistance dogs.
Crane relies on his dog to overcome epilepsy and diabetes.
“My partner here warns me in advance of seizures,” Crane said. “I have balance issues. His harness provides me support, prevents me from falling.”
Crane’s dog responds to about 50 commands, including opening drawers and windows.
“It’s a special week where we are honoring dogs that not only work, but they are also there to help us psychologically,” Crane said. “They bring fun on when fun doesn’t seem available to somebody who is disabled.”
Crane and Eames believe that International Assistance Dog Week is vital for teaching the public about assistance dogs.
“We want to educate the public that is really not aware of assistance dogs,” Carne said. “We also want to help those who have them, who have needs in many ways.”
For Eames, her dog is especially important for navigating the streets.
“I am blind and my dog makes sure I negotiate the environment safely,” Eames said. “She will stop at curbs, steps, go around obstacles. She doesn’t make decisions about traffic, but if I think it’s safe to cross and I tell her to go, she will disobey me until it’s safe to go. In the house, she is a pet. Out of the house, she makes sure my life is safe.”
International Assistance Dog Week became a national event after it was established by Marcie Davis, a paraplegic for over 35 years and CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“It’s a national thing, so we are trying to get the word out to everyone, not only how important it is to have a dog that can assist you, but also to let the public know these are trained dogs and there should be no problem allowing us in public places,” Eames said.