WHEREAS, assistance dogs transform the lives of their human partners with physical and intellectual disabilities and serve as devoted companions, helpers, aides, best friends, and family members; and
WHEREAS, assistance dogs include: guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired, hearing alert dogs for the deaf and hearing impaired, and service dogs for people with other disabilities; and
WHEREAS, guide dogs assist people with vision loss, leading these individuals around physical obstacles and to destinations such as seating, crossing streets, entering or exiting doorways, elevators and stairways, etc.; and
WHEREAS, service dogs assist people with disabilities with walking, balance, dressing, transferring from place to place, retrieving and carrying items, opening doors and drawers, pushing buttons, pulling wheelchairs and aiding with household chores such as putting in and removing clothes from the washer and dryer; and
WHEREAS, hearing alert dogs alert people with a hearing loss to the presence of specific sounds such as doorbells, telephones, crying babies, sirens, another person, buzzing timers or sensors, knocks at the door as well as smoke, fire and clock alarms; and
WHEREAS, International Assistance Dog Week provides an opportunity for the Commonwealth to raise awareness of the selfless way all types of assistance dogs support individuals by mitigating their disability-related limitations; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia joins with citizens across the nation to recognize assistance dog partner organizations, raise awareness of the contributions of assistance dogs, and observe International Assistance Dog Week;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize August 1-8, 2019, as INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE DOG WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.