Monday, August 3, 2015

Holidays and Observances for August 3 2015

Assistance Dog Day

A holiday that will honor and raise awareness for assistance dogs and those who train them. Assistance Dog Day will be celebrated August 3 and will continue to occur on the first Tuesday in August from now on. Marcie Davis, a paraplegic and president of Working Like Dogs, recently registered the holiday.

“I’m so excited, it’s way overdue,” she says. “This year it’s really about announcing it, and next year we’re going to plan nationwide events.”

For the last 35 years, Marcie Davis has been confined to a wheelchair due to a spinal cord infection she contracted when she was 6 years old. Fifteen years ago she received her first assistance dog, Ramona, a Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever mix. She says Ramona changed her life.

In general, an assistance dog is trained to aid or assist an individual with a disability. Many are trained by an assistance dog organization or by their handler, often with the help of a professional trainer.

Assistance dogs fall into two broad categories: service dogs and facility dogs. Service dogs are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. Facility dogs are used by working professionals to aid multiple people.

Common examples of service dogs include:
  • Guide dogs assist the blind and the visually impaired.
  • Hearing dogs, or signal dogs, help the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Mobility assistance dogs
  • Medical alert dogs
  • Psychiatric service dogs
Common examples of facility dogs include:
  • Courthouse facility dogs are typically handled by professionals working in the legal system. They are often used to assist crime victims, witnesses, and others during the investigation and prosecution of crimes as well as other legal proceedings.
  • Facility dogs in educational settings are usually handled by special education teachers to facilitate interaction with the students.
  • Facility dogs in healthcare environments are typically handled by physical therapists, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals to facilitate recovery and symptom management for patients.
In the United States, the term "service dog" may be used synonymously with "assistance dog."

Because both may aid people in similar settings such as healthcare environments, facility dogs are often mistakenly called therapy dogs; however, there are several important distinctions between them. Facility dogs are trained by accredited assistance dog organizations and therapy dogs are trained by their owners. Facility dogs may be handled by a wide variety of working professionals, while therapy dogs must be handled by their owners.

Facility dogs are trained by canine professionals for a period of 18 to 24 months, and must pass very rigorous tests before graduating from an assistance dog organization. In contrast, registration for therapy dogs by a therapy dog organization does not require enrollment in obedience classes or therapy dog classes, meaning that therapy dogs often undergo a much less rigorous training process. Furthermore, the tests that therapy dogs must pass are less complicated and challenging than those taken by facility dogs.

A person with either a therapy dog or a facility dog must have permission from the facilities they visit before they can enter with their animal. They do not have the right to demand access to places where pets are not generally permitted, or to have fees associated with their pets waived.

Esther Day

Esther Grace Earl was always a spunky, energetic, creative kid, full of caring for her brothers, and a close companion to her sisters. Known for her blue eyes, dimpled smile, and fly-away blond hair, she loved monkey bars and climbing ropes, rescuing abandoned Saudi cats, skiing the Alps, impromptu photo shoots with her sisters, designing web pages, teaching herself to play the piano and making her family laugh with joy. She amazed us over the years as we watched her learn to read at four, saw her successfully maneuver immersion French in 5th grade, and observed her natural empathy. She loved to read and was an avid Harry Potter fan. Later, she became an online presence where she developed numerous close friendships, uploaded quirky videos, and began a burgeoning involvement in social justice issues. In every way she lived out the values of her namesake, the famous Queen Esther, who was beautiful and full of grace like our "Star."

Esther (Persian for "Star") Grace was born on August 3, 1994 in Beverly, Massachusetts. She was the bridge between two older sisters, Abby and Evangeline, and two younger brothers, Graham and Abraham. In November 2006, Esther was diagnosed with metastasized papillary thyroid cancer in Marseille, France, with extensive tumors already in her lungs. Following a thyroidectomy and seven months of treatment, her family moved back to New England for her continued treatment at Boston Children's Hospital and the Jimmy Fund Clinic. Esther patiently endured radioiodine treatments, x-rays, CT scans and MRI’s, a bi-pap machine, extensive medications, occasional stays in the hospital, and eventually experimental chemotherapy. As Esther's need for supplemental oxygen increased, her mobility decreased. Yet she found new avenues for meaning, investing herself in growing online friendships, creating videos and a cyber presence as "crazycrayon" and "cookie4monster4." She thrilled in her mild escapades into virtual stardom, embracing her self-proclaimed nerdiness as she dispensed advice, all-night talkfests, and free hugs.

On August 25, 2010, much too soon, cancer silenced Esther and stilled her slender fingers. In 16 years she packed a lot of living and loving into her life, and loved well those who surrounded her. Esther didn't let her light stop shining—This Star Won’t Go Out continues to remind us of her love for others.

Before her death, author and friend John Green told Esther that he and his brother Hank wanted to celebrate her birthday as long as there were vlogbrothers videos, and that the videos on that day could be about whatever she chose. After some reflection, Esther decided she wanted it to be a day to celebrate love for family and friends. So since 2010, August 3rd or Esther Day has become a holiday that reminds us to verbalize our love for friends and family, the important people in our lives who we might not remember to say “I love you” to very often.

Grab Some Nuts Day

When it comes to unusual holidays, get ready to go, well, nuts! Aug. 3 is Grab Some Nuts Day! Seriously! While the "title" of this annual holiday is sure to grab people's attention, Grab Some Nuts Day actually celebrates nuts of all shapes, sizes and varieties.

Whether you prefer almonds, pistachios, cashews or pecans, these tiny tasty portable treats pack quite a powerful punch! Depending on the specific variety, nuts are high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and are good for your heart.

A nutty diet reduces your risk of developing blood clots, coronary heart disease and gallstones. While most nuts have health benefits, some are more beneficial than others are. Walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans are especially good for your heart. Although peanuts are not technically a nut, they are pretty good for you, too. It is important to remember while nuts do contain quite a bit of fat, moderation is key! Just don't cover your nuts in sugar, salt and chocolate!

Why not send a free Grab Some Nuts Day e-card to all your nutty friends while you are at it? In honor of Grab Some Nuts day, go ahead and grab yourself a healthy handful of nuts today and enjoy.

National Psychic Day

Did you know there is actually a day dedicated to all things psychic? Monday, August 4, 2014 is National Psychic Day. In fact, this day actually kicks off National Psychic Week, designated as the first full week of August. So, how are you going to celebrate?

National Psychic Day and National Psychic Week have been traced back to a 1965 publicity stunt dreamed up by Richard R. Falk. He was a Broadway Press agent who managed a number of well-known celebrity psychics. In order to drum up business, he created the so-called national holiday.

Although it’s uncertain whether or not the holiday improved business for Falk and his clients, it certainly is a whimsical reminder to pay homage to psychics and psychic abilities.

A good way to celebrate this day (and week) is by supporting your local psychic. Is there a psychic in your community? If so, why not stop in for a session? No advisors nearby? Then check out some of the popular online sites and book an introductory reading. Who knows? You may just find a wonderful reader that you’ll go back to again and again.

This day also serves as a reminder that psychics are people too—meaning, they are professionals who deserve respect and recognition. Although there are a few charlatans out there, most psychics are dedicated entrepreneurs who seek to provide a valuable service. Many people forget that or take it for granted; thinking spiritual services should always be free. In a perfect world, they would be. However, psychics have to pay the bills just like the rest of us. Honor them and their work by paying their fees.

Hey, this day isn’t just for psychics; it’s for all of us! We all have intuitive and psychic abilities. Now is the perfect time to start honing them!

Try waking up those dormant abilities by engaging in a few exercises. See if you can guess who is calling or texting before you look at your phone. Flip a coin and see if you can predict whether it will land as head or tails. Grab a deck of cards and pull one out without looking; try to guess its color or suit.

Enjoy this fun holiday and let it be an opportunity to explore the psychic realm!

National Watermelon Day

National Watermelon Day is celebrated in the US on the 3rd of August every year. Although it not a true national day (which needs to be ratified by Congress), a lot of fun happens on this day. It is a day when this large, juicy fruit gets all the importance. On this day, several activities and games are organized with watermelon as the focal point. Needless to say, tons of watermelon is consumed on National Watermelon day.

According to the records of the famous traveler, David Livingstone, watermelons originated in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. It used to grow wild and was known locally as “tsamma melon”. It was an important water source for the people there.

Watermelons are also seen in the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt. It is not known how watermelons came to the US but one of the theories is that the slaves had a role to play in the introduction of watermelon in the United States. Today watermelon exists in over 1200 varieties in 96 countries worldwide.

There is no consensus on the origin of this particular holiday. However, for watermelon lovers, it is a day when they can give importance to their favorite fruit. National watermelon day gives everyone a chance to familiarize themselves with watermelons. Even those who do not consume it regularly will get a chance to sample red, sweet, juicy slices of watermelon.

Activities on National Watermelon Day
  • There are several activities on this day which involve highlighting the virtues of watermelon.
  • There are competitions like watermelon seed spitting competitions, and people hold watermelon parties.
  • It is a day when lots of watermelon recipes come into play and several watermelon drinks are served.
  • There is even a National Watermelon Promotion Board which is dedicated to increasing the consumption of fresh watermelon through its promotional programs.
  • An interesting activity to do on this day is to get onto the internet and browse for watermelon-related stuff. You will be surprised to see how much material is available – competitions, online quizzes, recipes, and online games for children.
So this year, on the 3rd of August, set aside your troubles and responsibilities for a day and let yourself enjoy some Watermelon.