Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things I'm Planning on Reading

I would share with you all a list of books  and articles I am planning on reading about service dogs, dog training, and the dog/human relationship.
"Things to Check Out" by Rovingrebel []

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Commentary: Schools and Service Dogs

Recently there has been a lot of chatter on the Internet over young children with Autism and the burgeoning movement partner them with dogs. Whether these dogs meet the definition of Service Dogs as defined under the ADA is at question as well as many other issues in the news.
Some things that concern me about the cases currently in the headlines and I think could add to the discussion:
  • Immature dogs being placed with children.In one high profile case from the news accounts the dog in question  is less than a year old.
  • No apparent preparation work going into: the child having a dog and preparing the staff expected to work  with said child and dog based on news paper accounts. 
  • No discussion of how the dog will be looked after and cared in early articles for since the children in question are incapable of doing it.
  • The constant comparison of the dogs place with these children to people with guides for the blind. The simple fact is many of these programs say in articles they get dogs that washed out of other programs because they were unsuitable for full service dog placement. Some people seem to think if we were talking about a blind child and a guide the whole thing would be a non-issue.This is simply not true, in my opinion. For one thing a young child would not have the orientation and mobility skills required of a blind person before they can even be consider for partnering with a guide dog. The youngest person to ever partner with a full guide  dog in the world was 11 when he did it. Still most guide programs require applicant to be at least 16 and those are accepted on a case by case basis.I'm sure everyone can agree for most children there's a huge difference between 11 and 5.
  • The backward application of the umbilical leash technique.Trainers spend years teaching dogs people are not paper weights to be dragged around at will and that being with humans is great.Yet with these some of placements the children often cannot give the dog warning it is about to move and may be prone to violent tantrums which the dog can't get away from and possibly could be injured by. I just don't see how this can end well for the dogs or children, in my opinion. (see comments for a program's views).
  • The Social Ice breaker. Dogs only work as a limited social ice breaker. In my experience, the person must be taught how to recognize use those initial interactions because of the dog to have deeper interactions or as soon as the fascination of the dog wears of the person is isolated from other humans just as before. It is just as likely (not too mention a poor substitute) that any and all interactions the person has are always about the dog --never moving on to get to know the person who brought the dog.
  • How do Children Cope in situations where it is truly not safe or appropriate for the dog to accompany them? We all know service dogs are great but  there are dogs and there are limits on where they can and or should go. Who is teaching these children how to cope when they can't bring the dog? If this is not done the child's world will once again be limited. Furthermore, dogs are living beings who get hurt,sick, and need to retire. Will children miss days or weeks of school because the dog is out of commission? 
This article was updated 8/27/09.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

State should license dogs that assist the disabled

Carol McAlice Currie

August 21, 2009

It's time to keep grocery stores and restaurants from going to the dogs.The Oregon Department of Agriculture announced recently that it will begin a public awareness campaign next month to remind Oregonians that it is illegal for any critter other than a service animal to enter a grocery store or an eating establishment. Read More

Saturday, August 22, 2009

News: The Cost of a Service Dog and Choosinga Program

A good start to the conversation about the cost of partnering with a service dog and tips on choosing the right program featuring Ed andToni Eames of IAADP in yesterday's NY Times.

This is an issue anyone considering partnering with a service dog must consider carefully before taking the leap to partner. I know I personally spent about $100 a month caring for and maintaining Shiloh after all is said and dog with food, grooming, equipment maintenance,vet care, and enrichment like toys.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Purdy prisons service dog in training goes missing

Purdy prison's service dog in training goes missing in Gig Harbor
If you are in the area and have seen the dog please contact the program at 253-858-4240 or through email at There is a picture with the article.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Emotional Support Animals and Service Dogs in Dorms

Today I ran across this news article Texas A&M Denies Request for Emotional Support Animal in the Dorms and I was saddened to see the huge misunderstanding of the laws as they related to emotional support animals.
Errors made in the Article:
1. Emotional Support Animals are not covered under the ADA; therefore, the law will not help this student.
2. Emotional Support animals are covered under the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act
3. Has the student applied for and been approved for accommodations based on disability documentation from the university disabled student support services?
4. Since the dorms are closed living spaces it is common practice (to my knowledge) for universities to request health certificates, proof of vaccination, proof of training, and proof the dog is housebroken since the university is responsible for the safety and health of all the students living on campus.

Note: New Email for SDAWOL Readers

So my dear readers have you ever wanted to email me directly with a question, comments, or suggestion for a post topic, book review, etc.? Now you can! Email Shiloh and I at We look forward to hearing from all of you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Note: New Part-time Job

My dear readers,
As you know this is a tough economy in the U.S. and to make ends meet I now work two part-time jobs, both of which allow me to serve and work with other people with disabilities. My latest job is as a recruiter and facilitator for the Healing Pathways Project described below:

APPROVED: Jul. 6, 2009

Healing Pathways
Women with physical disabilities who experience depression may be eligible to participate in an Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) study. The purpose of the study is to test a peer-implemented 12 week group therapy program. Participants will be randomly assigned to an initial intervention group and a wait-list control group, however, all enrollees will eventually receive therapy. Depending on group assignment participation will last between 6 and 12 months. There is a possibility that dealing with depression will cause emotional distress. Participants will receive monetary compensation. Study sites include Eugene, Salem, Portland, and Medford/Grants Pass, Oregon. For more information call toll-free 877-226-4221. or in Portland call Elizabeth McNeff at (503) 475 4307 / email You may also contact the OHSU Principal Investigator Dr. Hassouneh at (503) 494 2714 or email to inquire about the study (OHSU IRB#4296).

This flier was sent out on behalf of OHSU, however, neither your name nor any other information has been disclosed to OHSU.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Media potryal of Service Dogs: What does it do for people perceptions?

When I think of how media portrays service dogs the words "Wonder Dog" immediately come to mind. Most stories you see and read about service dogs are look how amazing and wonderful they are and this person, this poor disabled person had no life before their dog. Unfortunately, while this stories can be nice to see and read; they also perpetuate beliefs about service dogs and their human partners that can do real harm. Some beliefs that are commonly upheld in service dog media coverage:
1) The dog makes the person with a disability more of a person.
People are people no matter their disability and should be treated as such with or without a dog. Sadly, most people with disabilities often feel and are ignored on a regularly basis. The dog gives the people around the person with the disability something they can all comfortably talk about.
2) Service dogs are not dogs and never do doggie things.
This is part of the wonder dog scenario. People are amazed that service dogs are generally calm, quiet, clean, and well behaved. Teams regularly here the phrase "Wow, I did know a dog was here." Truthfully, though service dogs are just that highly trained dogs who just like any dog are capable of barking, getting dirty, playing a good game of keep away, getting into things they are not supposed too, and having off days where they just don't feel like working. The human partner of the team is responsible for ensuring the dogs half has everything he/she needs food, good care,love, play, down time, and continued training. In spite of everyone's best efforts it is possible for a service dog to be surprised by something and let out a bark or do some other doggie thing occasionally while working.
3. Service dogs never get time off.
This is so untrue. People who partner with service dogs understand everyone needs time off in order to keep at their best. Sure the dogs live with their partners and are their pretty much 24/7 but that does not mean the dog never gets to play, nap, or chew it's favorite toy.

Here is an example that leads people to some of these beliefs:House 97 Seconds
Here is and example of a good story-however- I think this story left some holes for instance no one ever said why you shouldn't pet a working service dog.
What are your opinions on media portrayal of service dogs? Do you know of other example good or bad that would interest the readers here?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Book Review: Blog Roll Updates and Additions

New Blogs worth a following on the blog role:
  • Memoirs of a Puppy Raiser- I can't say enough how important puppy raisers are. Having raised and trained my first service dog myself I know it is no Sunday walk in the park. This blog is long running, going on three years and even shares the heart break of having to career change or wash out wonderful dogs because they just can't do it for one reason or another. Making the decision to career change and SDIT due to health, physical, or behavior problems is never easy even on seasoned professionals.
  • Ours for a Year - Raising A Guide Dog Puppy- this blog has been running for a eight months and will each day we all have our finger crossed Cabana will make it as a guide dog.
The following blogs have been eliminate from the roll for lack of activity to make room for more active blogs that will be of interest and use to you my readers:
If you are reading this and are the owner of any of the blogs listed above and were just sick or on vacation and would like to have your blog back on the blog roll just leave a comment at the end of this post.