Friday, August 1, 2014

All work and No Play- Work Life Balance in Teams

Members of the public often have the idea that service dogs never get to "just be dogs". This assumption couldn't be farther from the truth, especially if a team plans to function for many years to come.The balance between working together and playing together is one that begins to be established as soon as you and your SD (or potential SD when owner training) enter into each others' lives beginning with the definition of play  for each.

 Common Dog Definitions of Play
  1. Play is mutual. I want to play with you!
  2. Favorite dog games include Tag, Chase, Keep Away, Sharable toys, Hide and Seek.
  3. Play is enjoyable for both of us, if you are not having fun it lessens my fun.
Common Human Definitions of Play
  1. Playing with your dog means toys and other dogs.
  2. Play is fetch and tug.
The real definition of play of course is any activity that gets both you and your SD smiling, laughing, enjoying each others company, and leaves you both feeling recharged and connected. Teams that play together everyday strengthen their bond, lessen the effects of a stressful world, maintain training, gain insights into each others personalities, improve team members health both physically and mentally. I seem to get partnered with dogs whose sense of play requires me to "lighten up" and be able to take a well timed joke. --Yes, dogs can be practical jokers, especially those clever enough to be service dogs.-- Both Bastien and Shilo's sense of humor spanned the spectrum from out right goofiness to well time jokes including hiding right behind me, to the ever popular squeal inducing goose and sneak slurp.

Learn More About the Importance of Play for People and Dogs
  1. Play and kids-
  2. Play, Creativity, and Lifelong Learning: WHY PLAY MATTERS FOR BOTH KIDS AND ADULTS- 
  3. Autism and Play (Book) 
  4. Dog Play & Exercise: Tips on what type of exercise/ play and how much is appropriate- 
  5. Play with your Dog by Pat Miller 
  6. Play Together - Soft Cover Book-HAPPY AND HEALTHY PLAY BETWEEN PEOPLE AND DOGS: Play is fun and frolicsome, but it is powerful stuff! Learn how to use it to enhance your relationship with your dog.
  7. Dog Games You Can Play if You are Physically Impaired-


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Shilo & Melissa Return to D.C. to fight for Complex Rehab Technology for the Third Year

Melissa and Shilo with Senator Jeff Merkley OR-D May 1, 2014.

Melissa discusses S.B. 948 separating CRT from standard DME equipment ensuring access to it for those who need it.

Complex Rehabilitation technology is not a well known term, but this type of equipment is describes means the difference between a life of capabilities and participation versus one of infirmity, limitation and seclusion. Myself and many of my fellow members of the disability community benefit from the precise fit and functions found within durable medical equipment including manual and power wheelchairs, cushions, and standing frames which allow us to adapt to our disabilities allowing for full lives with school, work, family and friends. However, obtaining such appropriate equipment is no simple task under the current classifications under Medicare which current define a wheelchair such as the heavy aluminum, one size fits most, with no cushioning meant for short trips indoors the same as a light weight, individually fitted/built, with pressure reducing cushioning meant for full day use on all terrains as tacitly the same thing when it plain to everyone that these two things are worlds apart.
In April, Shilo and I returned to our nation's capitol for the third year running to educate Congress that all wheelchairs are not the same and the wheelchairs meeting the definition complex rehabilitation technology need to be in a separate category for standard, assembly line durable medical with H.B. 942 and S.B. 948. Shilo and I spent a whirlwind three days in Washington D.C. working with other advocates with disabilities, their families, and professionals in the complex rehabilitation technology industry who are members of the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS) and National Coalition of Assistive and Rehab Technology ( NCART) to move these two bills through their respective houses of congress gaining enough signatures of support to get each bill scored by the Office of Congressional Budgeting (OCB), so that it might actually have a chance to reach the floors for formal discussions and voting. Shilo and I took eight meetings on the hill: five within my home state of Oregon and three in other states who did not have a consumer advocate to tell the story of what these bills mean in terms of real lives beginning at 7:00a.m. and ending at 5:00pm. A schedule I would have no chance of accomplishing without both my powered wheelchair and Shilo's ever ready assistance. Hill day followed a 10 hour day of  policy briefings, updates, trainings and planning for hill meetings with state teams.Certainly not a typical way to spend one's vacation from work, but one I intend to keep up until congress understands and enact these bills to ensure people have access to medically necessary and appropriate CRT for their lives and health.
Shilo meets the Senator!

More Information on Access to CRT
  2. Co-Sponsors listed by state
 Don't miss National CRT Week August 18th-22nd!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May: Better Speech and Hearing Month; Hearing Dogs Lend an Ear

Hearing dogs alert people who are Deaf or severely hearing impaired to sounds in their environment that the human partners needs to know about for safety and to better function in the world. Hearing dogs can be trained to alert to everything from doorbells, alarm clocks, babies crying, home appliance noises, someone calling the handlers name,  and more. Hearing dogs unique in the service dog world as they are often both rescued/shelter dogs and small dog breeds. Historically Hearing dogs rearly worked outside the home, so issues that might have prevent a rescued dog from becoming a service dog weren't as big a concern. Today, you will still find that hearing dogs are still on the smaller side many hearing dogs are specifically breed for the work with known histories and temperaments that can handle a public life.

Standards for Hearing Dogs

Training Standards for Hearing Dogs

What Can Hearing Dogs do for their Owners?

Hearing Dogs Task List (Scroll half way down the page)

Programs Training Hearing Dogs

Dogs for the Deaf- Oregon Based places Nationwide

 The Hearing Dog Program- California based appears to place in western U.S.

Canine Companions for Independence- several regional facilities places Nationwide 

Golden Ears- Tandem Training Program Washington based (What is Tandem Training?)

Resources on Training Hearing Dogs

Book: Lend Me an Ear

Summary: An exciting book on a fascinating subject! Includes Hearing Dog Basics, Behind the Hearing Dog Temperament, Testing Potential Hearing Dogs, and Training Basics. More about Martha Hoffman the author.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Another State Fed Up with Imposter Service Dogs

Hawaii may join the  30 plus another states that impose specific fine for people passing off pets as service dogs -ANALYSIS: The Proposed Crackdown on ‘Service Animal’ Phonies