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Intl. Assistance Dog Week

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National Assistance Dog Week Winner from Nebraska

Tonja Peterson-Wendt and friends

September 20, 2010 | Santa Fe, NM – Tonja Peterson-Wendt from Ashland, Nebraska has just been named the winner of the National Assistance Dog contest for best event.

Wendt organized a proclamation signing at the capitol that helped raise awareness about assistance dogs and helped lobby for updated laws regarding assistance dogs in the state, through legislation sponsored by Nebraska state senator Kate Sullivan.

Tonja is receiving a $200 gift certificate from Service Dog, providers of service dog equipment, supplies and accessories, as promised to the winner. But she is also getting a chance to be a guest on the Working Like Dogs radio show, a real surprise.

The Working Like Dogs show on Pet Life Radio has had a number of celebrity guests, including actress Betty White, who was on in August to promote National Assistance Dog Week.

Events were held around the country for National Assistance Dog Week, held August 8-14 this year. Many were quite impressive, but Wendt won for combining awareness, lobbying, and coalition building.

Wendt brought together groups including Nebraska State Penitentiary’s Second Chance Pups Program, NOAH’s Assistance Dogs, and Domesti-PUPS. This was the first cooperative activity between the organization as well as a number of trainers, service dogs in training, and service dog teams.

“I am very honored,” said Wendt. “I’m looking forward to additional changes in the laws regarding service dogs in Nebraska.”

Wendt explained that in the last session of the state legislature the service dog updates sponsored by Senator Sullivan did not make it out of committee, but she’s hoping with growing awareness and support, in the next legislative session an even more comprehensive bill will be passed. She envisions Nebraska moving forward to become an example to the rest of the nation when it comes to providing access for assistance dogs.

National Assistance Dog Week was established due to the efforts of Marcie Davis, a paraplegic for over 35 years and CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm based in Santa Fe, NM. Davis is the author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook, and she is the host of the Internet radio program, Working Like Dogs, at As a member of a service dog team, she founded Working Like Dogs to honor assistance dogs around the world and is sponsoring National Assistance Dog Week.

For more information, contact Marcie Davis at 505-982-1977, or contact Tonja Peterson-Wendt at (402) 968-9999.