Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

International Guide Dog Day 2023: When It Is & How Its Celebrated

Misty Layne Profile Picture

By Misty Layne

service dog guiding blind woman

Dogs are amazing, and we love to celebrate them each and every day. But did you know that many dogs have their own holidays? It’s true! One such holiday is International Guide Dog Day.

Observed on the last Wednesday in April, International Guide Dog Day is a chance to recognize the job of guide dogs around the world and raise awareness of the importance of what they do. How did this holiday start, and how can you observe it? Keep reading to find out!

Divider 2

International Guide Dog Day Origins

International Guide Dog Day is observed to mark the creation of the International Federation of Guide Dog Associations, which occurred on April 26, 1989, and was first observed in 1992. The holiday is designed to not only celebrate guide dogs but bring awareness to the job they do and the ways they are able to aid people who are blind or those with low vision.

How Is International Guide Dog Day Celebrated?

A service dog with a blind lady in the park bench
Image credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock
Ways to Celebrate International Guide Dog Day

There are a few ways you can celebrate International Guide Dog Day; check them out below!

  • Learn more about guide dogs. One of the best ways to celebrate this holiday is by learning how guide dogs are trained! For example, learn what the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has to say about guide dogs and what rules apply to them. Bonus—learning more about guide dogs can help prevent misunderstandings or accidents for those who have them.
  • Adopt a canine that was almost a guide dog. Many dogs enter a training program but, for whatever reason, don’t make it all the way through. Usually, these pups don’t make it through for some minor reason (not due to aggression or anything serious), so they end up needing a new fur-ever home. Be aware that the waiting list for these former guide dogs can sometimes be long, though!
  • Offer support. There are many guide dog training organizations out there, and many of them could use support in the form of donations or time. Just a few you could help out include Guide Dogs of America, Guide Dog Foundation, and Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
  • Share what you’ve learned with family and friends. Spread the word about guide dogs, what they do, and how they’re trained! You can do this in everyday conversation or by hopping on social media.

divider 9

More About Guide Dogs

And in the interest of learning about these wonderful pups, here’s more information about guide dogs!

  • Did you know that guide dogs might have been used as early as 79 A.D.? Paintings were uncovered when Pompeii was excavated that showed dogs helping people who were blind.
  • Another reference to guide dogs (though not as early as the Pompeii one) is from a nursery rhyme from the 1500s that says, “A is an Archer. B was a blind man/led by a dog.”
  • Despite these early beginnings, though, legislation recognizing guide dogs didn’t begin to appear until the mid-1800s. One such example was in 1838 when the British Parliament decided to exempt license fees for “those kept by the blind as guides”.
  • Official, organized training for guide dogs didn’t see its start until the early 1900s. In fact, the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in the United Kingdom wasn’t established until 1934.
  • And in America, it wasn’t until 2010 that legal rules for those needing guide dogs were established by the ADA.
blind man with his service dog
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Divider 7

Final Thoughts

International Guide Dog Day is celebrated on the last Wednesday of April and is meant to be a recognition of the work guide dogs do. Started in 1992, this holiday helps to spread awareness about guide dogs (which is one of the ways you can celebrate it!). Other ways to celebrate this holiday include learning more about guide dogs and their trainers, offering support in the form of time and money to organizations that train these pups, and adopting canines who didn’t make it fully through the guide dog training program.

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Misty Layne Profile Picture

Authored by

Misty Layne lives out in the woods in small-town Alabama with her two Siamese—Serafina and Jasper. She also has an array of stray cats, raccoons, and possums who like to call her front porch home. When she’s not writing about animals, you’ll find her writing poetry, stories, and film reviews (the animals are, by far, her favorite writing topic, though!). In her free time, Misty enjoys chilling with her cats, playing...Read more

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database