SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The first week of August is celebrated as an assistance dog recognition week. Assistance dogs are vital to their human companions, helping them with debilitating physical and mental conditions that can be life threatening. These dogs can be guide dogs, signal dogs, or dogs trained to help people with a variety of disabilities. According to Assistance Dogs International, these dogs are trained to perform three or more tasks in order to mitigate the effects of a person’s disability. It is also a time to pay tribute to their trainers who invest a lot of time teaching them the skills they need to be successful.
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Maria Schwarz, a US Navy veteran, and her service dog Phoenix met with Rosie Nguyen from ABC4 on CW30 News for an IN FOCUS discussion at 7 p.m. She shared about her military career, the circumstances that made her need a service dog, how she met 4 Paws 4 Patriots, how Phoenix was paired with her, what her dog does to keep her safe and well-being, and how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has affected their lives.
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Ally Johns, a U.S. Army veteran, spoke about her military career, how she crossed with Canines with a Cause, which led to her meeting Nacho (her service dog), how her dog affected her life, what she wants about To learn dog handlers who are still training their dog why people shouldn’t touch or shout a service animal without permission, their thoughts on people faking their dog as a service animal and what they would expect from people if they donate a dog to a service animal organization .
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Nichole and Chris Ranuio, who are dog trainers and handlers for Labs for Liberty, got together with their dog Asher. The couple shared the history of their organization, who their service dogs usually go to, how long they train dogs, how many they have worked with, what piqued their interest in that work, how long it takes to train a dog and what they can teach him.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Schwarz, Johns, and the Ranuios, click the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with Rosie Nguyen of ABC4 on weekdays on the 7pm CW30 news
Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, at 7 p.m., she started a new trip as a presenter for CW30 News. She continues her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.