Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Life: Moving with Service Animals

My roommates and I spent the entire weekend packing, moving and unpacking three people, two Service Dogs, one emotional support cat and her brother and we are exhausted!!! Moving always involves a lot of details and moving with service animals in tow adds some interesting things to consider such as:

  • What are the landlords procedures on services dogs?
  • What documentation must you provide?
  • How will your partners and your daily routines need to change in this new environment?
  • Are there any additional tasks or rules for living that you will need to teach your partner so that life will be smooth and safe for everyone?
  • How will you introduce your partner to the new neighborhood both people and animals?

During the process of finding a new apartment we encountered many properties and management companies that were in serious need of education on the laws in Oregon and the Fair Housing Act as they pertained to service animals in rental properties. We spent a lot of time educating and weighing the pros and cons of each property including their policies, amenities and the lifestyles each would offer. In the end we chose a small building in the heart of Eugene. We spent a lot of time and energy jumping through hoops with regard to the service animals and ensuring that we complied with the accommodation process, while safe guarding our privacy.
The actual move went fairly smooth. Both Cammy and Einstein displayed some stress over the change. Cammy chooses to display her stress through potty issues, while Einstein refused to eat for three days and displayed remarkably high anxiety. Much of Einstein's stress came from his handler going to a single apartment. After a week in the new place both dogs are settling nicely into the new routines and neighborhood. They are both enjoying the morning six block walk to the university. We are working to create a small run in the alley between the two apartments and are exploring the neighborhood for good walking routes and parks where the dogs can exercises and unwind.
As far as new or revisited training the move requires both Cammy and Einstein are brushing up on their "waits" at open doors since our building is surrounded by allies and parking lots. Einstein will be taught to hit a wireless intercom to call us over if his handler needs help. This is much safer than leaving the doors unlocked for him to physically come get us.

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