UT to recognize National Service Dog Month with talks, training demonstration Sept. 21 | UToledo News

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UT to recognize National Service Dog Month with talks, training demonstration Sept. 21

To celebrate National Service Dog Month, Carlson Library will host an event Thursday, Sept. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. on the third floor.

This free, public session will feature a talk by Dr. Janet Hoy-Gerlach, associate professor in the UT Social Work Program. Hoy-Gerlach will discuss her new book, “Human-Animal Interactions: A Social Work Guide.” The book was co-authored with Scott Wehman, a UT alumnus who received a master’s degree in social work in 2012.

“The focus of the new book is two-fold,” Hoy-Gerlach explained. “To raise awareness of the importance and benefits of the human-animal bond for human well-being and to increase the abilities of social workers and other helping professionals to respond to people in need who have animals.”

In 2017, the National Pet Owners Survey, conducted by the American Pet Products Association, found that pet ownership in U.S. households stands at 68 percent, and that most of these households consider the pet as a part of the family. Given these numbers, Hoy-Gerlach said, the focus of her book is highly relevant to many individuals, as well as for those in the helping professions that serve them.

“The book includes detailed content describing and differentiating the various therapeutic roles animals hold that assist in human health and well-being,” Hoy-Gerlach said. “Of all such roles, the role of service dog requires the most extensive preparation and training; service dogs are trained for public access as well as multiple specific tasks to assist a person with a disability.”

Rocket Service Dogs, a new student organization at UT, is eager to educate students on the service dog training process. The organization also will be at the event, along with several puppies that are in training.

“Knowledge about service dogs is important for the community because there is value in bringing awareness to the capabilities of the dogs, as well as the protections that they legally receive,” said Summer Martin, vice president of Rocket Service Dogs. “It is important for people to understand the huge impact that an assistance dog can have on a person’s life, along with the infinite number of services the dogs can provide.”

Rocket Service Dogs partners with Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, a program of the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, to provide participants with information and resources for fostering and training the dogs in the program.

Jenny Barlos, client service manager for Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, also will be in attendance at the National Service Dog Month event to present and provide a training demonstration with a dog.

For more information on Rocket Service Dogs and how to foster a dog in training, contact rocketservicedogs@gmail.com or visit facebook.com/rocketservicedogs.

For more information on the National Service Dog Month event, contact Sara Mouch at 419.530.5578 or sara.mouch@utoledo.edu.

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