COLUMBUS — The public is invited to honor Service Dog Awareness Week by attending a walk in Columbus on Friday, July 29 at the Statehouse at Broad and High Street starting at 11 a.m.
Christopher Cooley of Columbus, who has a Guide Dog from Pilot Dogs in Columbus, was the inspiration behind Ohio House Bill 121 which designates the last week of July as ‘Service Dog Awareness Week.’
When Cooley, who is legally blind, got his first service dog, he encountered resistance from those who did not know the law when he tried to enter public places with his dog. As a result, Cooley worked with Representatives Michael Stinziano and Margaret Ann Ruhl on a bill to bring awareness for Ohio. Ohio is the first state to have such a law.
Supporting the event are three Ohio nonprofit organizations:
• Upreach, LLC in Columbus provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities. These services encourage independence, self-determination and empowerment.
• Easter Seals Central and Southeast Ohio provides exceptional services for people with disabilities or special needs and their families to live, learn, work and play in their communities.
• 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia provides service dogs to children and veterans with disabilities in an effort to enrich the lives of children and veterans to provide increased independence.