Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Few Precious Pictures from the Holidays and Tips for Dogs and Kids

This Christmas Shilo, me, Cammy, and my roommate Leslie were invite to my sister-in-laws parents house for Christmas Dinner. Shilo and Cammy have both been to this house several times before and always impress everyone with their, quiet, calm, yet friendly demeanor typical for a service dog. They are both also very good with children, and as such are good dogs to introduce to very young children like my nephew Elijah (see photo on the left) who is five and a half months old.
Introducing children to dogs and dogs to a child is in my mind always something to be done very carefully and with supervision of both the child and dog throughout the interaction always. Shilo and Cammy are both what we like to call "Mommy types" who are very tolerant of typical behaviors of small children for instance grabbing, poking, squealing, screeching, and falling but that doesn't mean that we let children run roughshod over them.Patience is, after all, a virtue with limits.
One must also watch that dogs behaviors that are perfectly benign for an older child or adult like licks, sniffing or vocalizations don't scare or startle a small child. First impressions can have lasting affect on the relationship between child and dog.
  • Ensure neither the child,the dog, or the supervising adult are cranky or tired at the time of interaction. Beings who are in these states have less patience for the new and unusual.
  • Use your happy voice throughout the interaction
  • Use cues your dog knows to keep the interactions under control and non- threatening such as Sit, Down, Off, Say Hi
  • Help the child to gently pet and interact with the dog. With babies I tend to gently guide the hand they are reaching out for the dog with in small touches finished by a nice long stroke from me for the dog. 
  • If either child or dog get too excited with the interactions happily say your calming cue for your dog and take a break.
  • Make sure the child or dog has nothing the other may want like food or toys before initiating interaction. Children and dogs both tend to live by the What's mine is mine and what I can get of yours is mine rules of possession so it's best not to involve high value items into the interaction.
  • Always look for sign that either the child or dog are tiring or would like to move on. Keeping interaction short means that it is less likely anyone will loose patience. 
For more tips on kids and dogs read Advice and Tips Children and Dogs at home


Monday, December 27, 2010

Laws Protect and Impose Penalties for Interferring, Injuring, or Killing Service Dogs

More than half the states have laws laws on the books protecting service dogs and their handlers for interference, injury, or death caused by a person or their animal, based on a self conducted count of the results in a Google search. I have wanted to write this post for a while, but I didn't know of a good compilation until recently. I discovered the Harm to Service Animals and Criminal Interference Laws
Resource from the Animal Legal and Historical Center at the University of Michigan.
Many people don't see any harm in:
  • letting through dog "say hi" to a working service dog
  • Coming up, grabbing and petting a service dog
  • Barking, whistling, clapping their hands, talking to in a baby voice, or making kissy noises with the intent of attracting the attention of a working service dog
  • Throwing food or other objects at a working service dog 
  • Yelling a working dog's name with the intent to distract them 
  • Crawling on the floor trying to pet a working service dog
  • Issuing commands to a service dog to see if it will listen even just one to them
  • Hitting,kicking or purposely stepping on a working service dog to see if they can make it react
  • Allowing their children to do any of these behaviors
I know some of the things on the list seem unbelievable, but they do happen to most teams at some point in their partnership. These things often seem funny,or harmless to the people doing them because they:
a) love dogs so much they can't help themselves
b) want to see if the dog is really as well trained as everyone says
c) want to be able to provoke a dog to bad behavior because they don't like/fear dogs and know  if the dogs act up they will have to leave
d) think that they or their children should be allowed to play with or do whatever they want because these dog are there and are safe
I can think of many instances in the media such as the women whose guide was dropped kicked off it's feet, and the hearing dog who was attacked by off-leash dogs in a mall parking lot (warning very graphic description) to name a few.

Sadly, I also have no shortage of instances in my own life both minor and large where people, their children, and/or their pets have interfered with my service dog safely executing their duties in peace.

  • Bastien and I were crossing a five lane street when someone who knew us from the bus decided to call his name when we were in the middle of the crosswalk causing him to stop,turn and look as he was trained to do leaving me stopped in the middle of the street. Most crosswalks don't give me enough time  to get safely across going as fast as we could, it was something I never allowed this to happen again because I stopped giving out his name.
  • Bastien and went to a neighborhood store one Sunday morning to pick up a few items for brunch.Bastien was minding his own business laying as close the the case as he could get to be out of the way while waiting for me to decide what I wanted, when I felt his head turn toward his tail. I turned to see what was bothering him,and was astonished to see an eight year old child  repeatedly purposely stepping on his tail. I told her to please stop stepping on my dog and she did it again! I told her again to stop stepping on my dog. This time her mother heard me and proceeded to start screaming at me tat her daughter could do whatever she wanted and ,well let's just say the situation continued to deteriorate until store staff who knew us came to our rescue.
  • The college students on the bus to work who repeatedly call to, make noises at, and pet Shilo. This happens so often I have lost count.
  • The women on the Amtrak who decided it was a good idea to come up behind a strange dog (Shilo), and start scratching her behind without saying a word to her or me while we were trying to exit the train.
  • The dog shut in a car at the beach with the window down starting to come out the window,barking and bearing its teeth while the owner who was twenty feet away tried to convince us the dog was "harmless". We, My roommate,her guide Cammy,and Shilo, decide it wasn't harmless back tracked crossed the road and went up the other side where the side walk was non-existent.
I could go on for pages with various stories. I am fortunate that none of these instances have caused me or my service injury or death. However, it is not at all hard for me to imaging anyone of the above situations having turned out very differently. Service dogs are with their owners to assist them in: navigating a world that remains difficult at the best of times; give them the help they need when and how they need it rather than hoping for someone to decide to help then hoping the person doesn't hurt them somehow in the process;being able to actively decide and participate in the business of living their lives. The time you have the urge or see someone actively trying to distract or interfere with a service dog, I hope you will think of the real danger your seemly harmless action  may cause choosing instead to exercise self-control and admire our dogs quietly, from distance. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best Holiday Wishes

Wishing all our Reader a Happy Holiday Season!
From Christmas 2010
We hope you can spend it with those you love!

Monday, December 20, 2010

News: Kroger Pet Food Recall

(CNN) -- The Kroger Co. is recalling select pet food packages from stores in 19 states fearing some of these products may contain aflatoxin, a toxic chemical byproduct that could be harmful to animals.
The recall involves certain bags of Pet Pride Cat Food, Pet Pride Kitten Food, Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food, Kroger Value Cat Food and Kroger Value Chunk Food, the company said Saturday.Read More

Specific food and Sizes List

Recall States/Locations:Indiana (except SW IN, -Evansville-), Illinois, Eastern Missouri, Greater Cincinnati, including Northern Kentucky, Dayton, OH and South Eastern Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Knoxville, Tennessee, Greater Memphis, TN, Arkansas, Mississippi and Western Kentucky, Michigan, Central and Northwest Ohio and N. West Virginia panhandle, Greater Louisville (including Indiana), Lexington, and Nashville, TN, North Carolina, Virginia, Eastern WV, Eastern Kentucky, SE Ohio, Texas and Louisiana; Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, FoodsCo, Baker's, Gerbes, and Food4Less Fremont stores.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Cautions- Tips to Keep Service Dogs and All Pets Safe During the Holidays

Protecting your Pet from Holiday Dangers

Remember, as the holidays approach, this is the most dangerous time of the year for our pets. The two greatest dangers are lost pets and pet poisoning.
Fall and Winter HolidaysWith the fall and winter holidays come many new faces, guests and dog sitters. Each time guests enter your home pets are exposed to new levels of stress, both positive and negative. Many pets are locked away from the guests while others are allowed to roam freely among the visitors. Doors, gates and garages are opened and closed at a feverish rate during the holidays. The opportunity for your pet to get out and explore is surely at paw! After the 4th of July, the winter holidays are the number one time of the year that pets are usually lost. Read the Complete List of Tips

Friday, December 17, 2010

News: Career Connection Series: “What can be done to make service dogs easier to accept in the workplace?”

Career Connection Series: “What can be done to make service dogs easier to accept in the workplace?”

By Guest Blogger Linda Carter Batiste, J.D., Principal Consultant, Job Accommodation Network
This is a great question, and it’s one that we’re hearing a lot at the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) as more and more people with disabilities start using service animals.
In the past, service animals were typically used by people who were blind and were often referred to as “seeing eye” dogs. Now people with a variety of disabilities use service animals to assist with everyday tasks. There are service dogs for people with all types of mobility impairments, seizure alert dogs for people with epilepsy, psychiatric service dogs for people with mental health impairments, hearing dogs for people who are deaf and even dogs that can detect low blood sugar for people with diabetes.
With this increased use of service animals comes a corresponding increase in public awareness. It’s no longer unusual to see a service dog in a store, restaurant, hotel or even on an airplane. So why then is it so difficult for employers and co-workers to accept a service dog in the workplace?
Perhaps it’s because the workplace was traditionally seen as a sort of kingdom, where employers ruled and employees either followed the rules or sought employment elsewhere. One of the standard rules was often NO ANIMALS ALLOWED.
Even current law makes a distinction between public access for service animals and workplace access. In the workplace, having a service animal present is a form of reasonable accommodation, which means employers, unlike owners of public places, do not have to automatically allow the use of service animals. And many employers resist allowing an employee to bring a service animal to work, not only because it’s against their rules, but also in part because co-workers sometimes express fear or concern about having a dog around.
So how can you overcome this resistance, fear and concern? Let’s start with the employer. Read more

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dreams About Service Dog

So it's pretty common knowledge that our dreams are influenced by the things that are important or occupying large portions of our lives; therefore, it should come as no surprise that I regularly dream about my service dogs past and present. Unfortunately, these dreams usually come in the form of nightmares where something bad happens to my service dog and I can't do anything about it or no one will help us. I will keep the details of these dreams to myself because I don't want to traumatize or trigger anyone.
This  morning's dream was of a very different fair though. I dreamed I have to go the the UK and for some reason I didn't get Shiloh through the Pet Passport requirements within the window to be able to bring her (strange since I used to work for an organization advising people with disabilities about international travel). So when I got to the UK one of the assistance dog organizations there offered to let me "borrow" a service dog who was  almost done training and ready to be placed to help me and as sort of a test run for this dog who happened to be a white Labradoodle not unlike our friend Clive over at Austism Assistance Dog.  Interesting concept that left me smiling as I woke up.

How about it... Do you dream about your service dog or service dog related topics?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pets and Santa Claus

No matter whether you are working with a service dog or a service dog in training the local malls are offering pictures with Santa Claus!
Valley River Center:
Pet Night with Santa
Monday, December 13, 2010
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Bring your special pet to visit Santa!
December 13th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Pets must be on a leash or in a cage.

Gateway Mall

St. Nick's Pet Pics

11/29/2010 - 12/13/2010
A waggin' good time.
Monday nights from November 29 through December 13 are St. Nick’s Pet Pics.
Four-legged friends are invited to capture a holiday-hugging photograph with Old St. Nick. Costumes provided make your fuzzy companion even more adorable during a special mall trip to celebrate the holiday season.
Santa welcomes dogs and cats only, please.
TIME: 6:00pm - Set Close

These events are a great way to work with a service dog in training in a mall environment. Candidates ready for this kind of event are able to:
-Walk at their handler's/ Trainers side in a highly disstrating environment
-100% house broken including no marking behaviors
-Mastered at least intermediate obedience skills
-Can work/stay on task around other animals and display no inappropriate behaviors in their presence (i.e. barking, whining, growling, lunging, pulling)

From the Archives: Christmas

Gifts Service Dog Partners and their Service Dog will love

No matter what holiday puts you in the festive mood, getting the right gift for your four-legged companion can boggle the mind. This can be especially true for the friends and family who may want to thank your service dog for the service and energy they have brought into your life. Read More

Monday, December 6, 2010

News: Romania’s first guide dog shut out from city

Golden Labrador Chloe helps blind city resident Gabi Nicolescu move around the streets of Bucharest – but shops, hotels, taxis and buses ban them from going further

Around the blocks, streets and parks of Bucharest, 51 year-old Gabi Nicolescu is walking the first guide dog for the blind in Romania – but no shop, hotel, cafe, taxi or bus will allow access to his three-year old Golden Labrador Chloe.
“The guards say no entry with the dog,” says Nicolescu.
His movement has became so restrictive that he collected signatures on a petition to present to the Government – outlining his plight and calling for a change in the law.
But when he tried to walk through the security gates of the seat of Romania’s Government, Palatul Victoriei, the guards barred his passage - due to his canine assistant. Read More

Friday, December 3, 2010

International Day of People with Disabilities: Service Dogs Around the World

Happy International Day of People with Disabilities!

My Favorite! Simple and True!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

International Day of People with Disabilities This Friday

 So, this Friday is International Day of People with Disabilities and as a part of my day job we are encouraging everyone to show their pride and support of people with disabilities by wearing purple. This a day to be seen and heard around the world letting people see through a sea of purple how many of us live and support people with disabilities  enjoying all basic human rights. How about it, will you wear purple?

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December was established by the International Year for Disabled Persons (1981). The Day aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities. The goal of full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society and development was established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982. Read More about International Day of People with Disabilities.

Monday, November 22, 2010

From the Archives: Thanksgiving with a service dog

Thanksgiving: A Time for Family, Friends, Training, and Caution

As many of us prepare to reunited with family and friends this Thanksgiving, it important to prepare our service dogs (and ourselves) for all the temptations, changes in schedule, new people and situations that come with family gatherings. The ASPCA offers these basic safety tips for Thanksgiving. Service dogs and their handlers must think beyond these basics, since these dogs provide valuable service and companionship to their handlers. Read More

Our Thanksgiving Adventure

Shiloh and I chose to spend Thanksgiving (for my International readers who may or may not be familiar with this American Holiday) with my parents and some friends. I decided to take the train instead of driving, because the last time I drove up for Thanksgiving I got stuck halfway back because they closed the freeway due to incredibly heavy snows! Due the busy holiday Amtrak added buses to get people to Portland, so Shiloh and I took a bus partway and were supposed to be on an actual train (See Tails of Trains for details on taking a train for the first time with a service dog or service dog in training) for the rest of the journey. Read More

Sunday, November 21, 2010

News: College Bound Canines

POLAND — Poland Regional High School has seven newcomers who will attend classes full time, join after-school activities and, eventually, go off to college.
As long as they sit, stay and don't bark.
Starting this fall, the high school will host seven service-dogs-in-training. The six puppies and one adult dog will be the constant companions of seven students who will care for and train them for more than a year. At the end of training, the service dogs will be given to disabled college students.   Read More

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Say What? Maintaince Training for Service Dogs

Anniversaries and follow-up visits have a way of showing you how far you have come along with anything you may have let side;however, inadvertently.   We received high praise from Wendy at Summit for how well our public access manners and tasks have been maintained, though, I admitted that the emergency phone retrieve has gotten dropped since we no longer have a land line. I really must work on getting the cue back in use with my cell phone since it is my life and safety on the line. As  teams move through life it is common for things to slip or for things to get dropped because handlers and dogs begin to engage in anticipatory learning where in they put together strings of actions/cues and will perform behaviors without waiting to be asked. Many human partners think this predictive behavior is wonderful, and in some instances it is. However, I have come the conclusion that these short cuts if allowed to develop freely and without thought to possible hazards are very dangerous to our canine partners.

Example1: You and your dog are riding the lift transport service and  your service dog cannot ride the lift with you, so they must wait in the van until you can collect them at the front door. The dog anticipating you to call them begins to come out the door before being called and before you are there to collect them. I will leave the horrid possibilities to your own imagination.

Example 2: Your service dog faithfully retrieves everything you drop and has done this for you so often that the dog comes running whenever it see or hears anything hit the floor in your vicinity.  While this may not seem like a big deal and even helpful, what if you drop something glass and it shatters or the lid goes flying off your med bottle since you where trying to get the lid on when you dropped it.

Now, anticipatory learning does have a place in a service dog partnership, but we humans must be careful about the behavior chains that develop and nip ones that could be dangerous to us and/or our canine partners in the bud before they become habits that are exceeding difficult to break. This is where maintenance training takes center stage. If you regularly practice all your dogs behaviors from basic obedience to elaborate chained behaviors such as tugging open a door or get help, you are much more likely to prevent these short cuts from developing in the first place. You will also want to correct your dog for "blowing" cues (as I and many others call it) straight off by sending them back to the start and having them do it correctly. For dogs having a no reward marker or a cue reminder can help them know when they are about to make a mistake and give them a chance to change their mind before making the mistake.

How do you know if a Behavior needs brushing up?
  • You (or someone in your circle) can't remember the last time you used a particular cue
  • The dog's response to a cue has become slow or sloppy
  • The cue is essential for you/your dogs safety (i.e. come, emergency down, get help, waiting at open doors)
  • The dog seems to have stopped paying attention to a given cue altogether (Tip: did you inadvertently change the cue. It happens all the time. It is really easy to change a cue in just a few repetitions of the pattern New Cue + Old Cue= Behavior for the dog to go "oh this =that" and the old cue is no longer needed. Unfortunately, it can take us humans a bit to figure out what is the cue the dog is now responding to)
  • You need a particular cue to be reinforced so that you can build a new behavior with it.

Finding Time for Maintenance Training

People often claim they don't do something because they think that it needs a lot of time. The amount of time needed to maintain given depends on several factors: how often it is used and actively reinforced/rewarded, if the dog finds to behavior itself rewarding, and how complicated/difficult the behavior is, and the tendency of the dog in question to assume that a behavior that hasn't been used/reinforced in a certain period of time is just taking up memory needlessly. The more simple, easy to perform and frequently used behaviors can be easily maintained in a few short repetitions,the more complicated the behavior the more you may need to make a specific effort to practice it, especially if it is not something you need the dog to do on a regular basis (say at least a couple of times a week) like getting help or dialing 9-1-1 on speed dial.
  • Before you give your dog anything or answer a request as for a behavior any behavior the dog knows or is working on will due
  • While waiting in line, for the bus or whatever
  • When your dog seems bored to you
  • During your lunch, coffee or other breaks in the day
  • When you need a distraction
  • During the course of normal day, give cues as you go along to keep your dog engaged
  • As a new section to your daily fitness routine. Spice it up for both you and your dog.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book Review: MAKING THE MOVE TO MANAGING YOUR OWN PERSONAL ASSISTANCE SERVICES (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth With Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood

MAKING THE MOVE TO MANAGING YOUR OWN PERSONAL ASSISTANCE SERVICES (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth With Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood
This in-depth 69 page guide covers this ins and outs of personal assistants for youth with disabilities utilizing the stories of youth with disabilities to illustrate topics related to utilizing, hiring, and selecting personal assistants. Pages 10-12 talk about Service Dogs and an option for meeting personal care and assistant needs. The section is clear, honest and bringsup many good points people who are new to dogs often don't realize.
"While it is perfectly okay to have assistance in caring for a service dog, the human partner should take an active and primary role in making sure the dog’s needs are met. For the bonding of a team to take place, the human partner needs to be the most important person in the dog’s life. This means making time to exercise, groom, and even play with the dog. "

"Given the dog’s responsibilities, this means the dog will likely sleep next to you, pick up things with its mouth, and need to be walked regularly. It also means that your clothes and your living space will regularly be covered in dog hair. So, if dog slobber and animal fur are anywhere on your list of pet peeves, you may want to rethink the idea of getting a service dog. "

Source:The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, HeiTech Services, Inc., Concepts, Inc., 2010, Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Service (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth With Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood, Washington DC

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween: Little Red Riding Hood and The not so Big Bad Wolf

I hope everyone had a great Halloween! We had a wonderful time! My roommate and I are both very beginning machine sewers and we decided it would be fun to make costumes this years using things we already had combined with things made from fabric pieces brought in a huge bag from Goodwill. I think the costumes turned out splendidly. Cammy and Leslie went as Hansel and Greddel and Shiloh and I went as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf pretending to be grandma!
These pictures illustrate two points of temperament very important to a successful and happy service dog willingness to trust the handler and accept change whether it be in gear or really strange environments like Halloween parties. Both Dogs "danced" with their handlers and recognized the fun vibe enven the people were showing up in all kinds of strange outfits.

Anniversary: Two Year Follow-Up

Shiloh and I have been a team for two years now and as a part of maintaining the health, safety, and working standards that I agreed to when Summit matched Shiloh and I I traveled to Anacortes, WA to complete a two year follow up and Public Access Test. Having owner trained Bastien, my first service dog, I wasn't sure what  to expect and I tend to be overly perfectionist about things really important to me with my dogs being beyond description a lot of the time with concern to their importance in my life. Also, since it is my job to maintain Shiloh in every manner at least to the level she was when Summit agreed that we were a team, if not better in my view; so I was very nervous to see what questions they would have and what they would think of us 18 months after they last saw us!
Wendy asked question about Shiloh health, responsiveness, what I thought of her training, if she had any behavior or training problem I was concerned about/needed help with, and anything I thought Summit could do to improve the training of future dogs based on my experiences with Shiloh. Then we were of to town to strut our stuff in the public access test. Besides the general test Shiloh also demonstrated two of her tasks wheelchair pulling and retrieving dropped items. We passed with flying colors!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cast Your Vote November 2, 2010

With elections just around the corner, Shiloh and I want to remind all human halves of service dog teams to vote on November 2. Does your state need laws protecting Service Dogs from being interfered with or injured? Does your state better awareness of access for people with disabilities partnered with service dogs? You human partners can ensure your voices are (or will be) heard on these and many other issues on ballots  across the country affecting the lives of people with disabilities by casting your ballot on November 2,2010.  According to the American Association of People with Disabilities Disability Vote Project "At least half of all Americans with disabilities are not registered to vote." I ask you, my loyal readers how can we as a community expect our current rights to continue to be protected, our equity as members of society to be validated, or our issues to be seen as important when we are not seen as a community that votes?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Anniversary: Two Years, A Wonderous Journey

This October 17th marks two years that Shiloh and I have been a team living life and all its surprises together! In the last two years we have gone from complete strangers to each others rocks of Gibraltar. Shiloh and I have done so many things together that it is hard for me to list them all on the greatest hits parade we have:

  • Moved twice
  • Attended weddings, birthdays and baby showers
  • Interviewed for and gotten jobs
  • Survived my wisdom teeth getting pulled
  • Met Galaxy from Greatest American dog (I have picture here somewhere...)
Shiloh continues to amazed me with her steady, sweet countenance and her drive to work. She recently showed me that she finally has made sense of what I have been trying in my completely inept, bungling human way to show her how she can help with my balance issues during a recent return trip to Newport (read about our fun at the beach in the past) where she would place herself either beside, in front, or behind depending on what point in the stairs I was at and how she understood she could best assist me. With her beside me I could have one hand pulling myself up with the railing and the other holding onto Shiloh's backpack handle for a little forward momentum (I tend to fall backward when I fall, but it really does take much to keep me on my feet and balanced).

Finally, I wish to thank everyone who made Shiloh and I possible:
-The Staff and Volunteers of Summit Assistance Dogs
-Shiloh's Trainer Sue Meinzinger (known affectionately around here as Aunty Sue)
-My cousin April for her $100 Donation
-My longtime friend Wayne Terry for his donation of a Large Dog Crate ($100 value)
-Shelley Maynard,Owner of Pewter Rabbit Antiques for her $25 Donation
-Kathleen Ison for her $10 donation
-Olivia Emilia and Rob Harden for their $50 donation
-My longtime friend Anne Hensley for her $50 donation in memeroy of her first SD Andrew
-My longtime friends Pam and Loc Reader for their $100 donation
-My former co-workers at Pierce County Deparment of Emergency Management for their $155 donation.
-My Aunt and Uncle, Steven and Marie McDonald for their $100
-My college internship supervisor Mr. Jim Stevenson and family for their $100
-My Unce Dale McDonald for his $300 donation
-My Grandmother Mary Ellen for her $200
-My parents for their $600 donation to Summit and their love and support through out the entire process
-My best friends Leslie Weilbacher and Katie Berger for all their love, support and perspective!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sometimes People Do Get it Right!

Peanuts Snoopy Happy Dance Icon Icons Emoticon Emoticons Animated Animation Animations Gif Gifs Charles Schulz Pictures, Images and Photos
Snoopy Happy Dance
The other day I stopped at the little coffee counter where I work and while I was waiting for my drink this young woman was admiring Shiloh from a distance. I was floored when she addressed me before Shiloh and then she politely asked if she could pet her. I believe in rewarding people for behaviors I appreciate, so I said of course!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

News: Celebrate World Animal Day all week with Walgreens and Delta Society!

For one week starting Monday, October 4th, you'll be able to put your pet on the cover of a magazine, save money and support Delta Society all at the same time!

From October 4th thru 9th, Walgreen's Photo Centers will be offering their 8x10 "magazine cover" templates for $3.99 (regular price $5.99) when you use their coupon code MAGSALE. Choose from dozens of options including "Dog Fancy," "Cat Fancy," "Bird Talk," "Pet Scene" and many more. Either bring your photo into one of the many photo centers or upload your photo online and pick it up at the store.

Half the proceeds from the promotion will support Delta Society's work to promote the human-animal bond. All over the world, Delta Society's 10,000 Pet Partners® therapy animal teams bring comfort and healing to people who most need it.

So get out that camera and make your pet a star!

To get started, visit and follow these steps:

· Click on "Create"

· Click on the magazine cover you want to print

· You'll be prompted to login. If you don't already have a Walgreens account, you'll need to create one at this time

· Click the "Upload" button then click the "Browse" button to select the picture from your computer. Click the "Upload Now" button

· Drag your photo onto the template (If you see an orange triangle that means your photo is too low of a resolution to print & you'll need to pick a different picture)

· To edit the picture, hover your mouse over the picture, then click on the pencil

· When you're all done, click on "Continue"

· Review your order and click on "Add to Cart"

· Input the coupon code and click "Update Total"

· Click on "Checkout". Here you can choose to pick up the picture or have it shipped. Click "Continue"

· Select payment options (either pay now or at the store). Click "Continue"

· Review your order and click on "Submit Order"

More About World Animal Day

World Animal Day is celebrated each year on October 4th on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Started in 1931 as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species, the number of World Animal Day events taking place throughout the world has grown year upon year. Take this special day to commemorate your love of your own animal companions by creating a magazine cover with your pet and supporting Delta Society!

*Coupon code MAGSALE valid for up to 5 uses per account thru October 9, 2010. Code must be entered at time of checkout to apply discount. Discount does not apply to prints (any size), scrapbook pages, previous purchases, taxes or shipping charges. Orders must be placed by logged-in customer by October 9, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. Central Time to qualify. Timing will be determined by Walgreens server clock. Multiple coupon codes may or may not be used based on cart contents. Cannot be combined with any other offer.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

News: Today in Corvallis

Looking for something fun to do today? Want to support a good cause?Osborn Aquatic Center’s 6th Annual “Dog Day” fundraiser for OAC and the Heartland Humane Society.
This exclusive event one day a year turns Otter Beach and the outdoor pools into a Fenced Dog Park for three 90-minute sessions. It happens just before the outdoor pool is drained for maintenance.
Dogs of all ages and sizes are welcome!
The three sessions go from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; from noon to 1:30 p.m. and from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
The cost is $5 per dog each session. People can go for free.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Assistance Dog United Campaign

While reading some information for my day job I stumbled across mention of the Assistance Dog United Campaign! This is complete news to me as I'm sure it will be to many of you. Below is a short description of campaign taken from their site ( the links and bold face font were my additions):
The Assistance Dog United Campaign (ADUC) is a health and human welfare organization which provides financial assistance to individuals who have the need for an assistance dog but have difficulty in raising the necessary funds and to people and programs whose purpose is to provide assistance dogs to people with disabilities. 

The ADUC Board of Directors raises funds for assistance dog placements, for grants to support industry research and development efforts and specific provider program development projects, and for scholarships for individuals attending the Bergin University of Canine Studies in pursuit of an Associate of Science degree in Assistance Dog Education. ADUC's funding for assistance dog placements is unique in that seventy percent of the donations are earmarked as vouchers.

Friday, September 24, 2010

News: Disability Community Candidate's Forum- October 6, 2010

All you Washington State readers don't miss this chance to mingle with candidates and discuss issues important to service dog partners. 
Disability Community Candidate's Forum
Sponsored by: Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities, Alliance of People with Disabilities, the State Independent Living Council, and the University Heights Community Center Association
Date: Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Time: 6 pm to 9 pm
Place: University Heights Community Center, Room 209
Address: 5031 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
Parking: Free on-street or off-street; available in center's south lot from University Way NE.
Access: Available with lift from southern west entrance up to and including 2nd floor; additional free parking available from Brooklyn Ave NE for north lot and accessible entrance. Staff will be available for lift assistance.
Bus lines: Proximate to Metro Bus Routes 70-74 on University Way NE, 66 and 67 on 11th Ave NE, among others.
Notes: All candidates for state legislator in King County are invited. This is a non-partisan event. 
RSVP to Event Contact Julian Wheeler, at

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday at the Library

My roommate and I are attempting to live a life less chaotic by doing certain chores and errands on the same day every week. We have been doing our basic house upkeep and shopping  schedule for about three weeks now (oops just remembered the load of laundry in the washer), leaving our apartment cleaner and leading us to discover Friday evening wine tasting at our neighborhood Trader Joe's! This week we added Sunday at the Library. I lobbied for Sunday at the library because my roommate and I are avid readers who live on very tight budgets.I read four magazines today including my favorite Bark Magazine.  There is a great article, Both Ends of the Leash: Rewards Redux. By Patricia B. McConnell, PhD,  on judging how  just rewarding the rewards you offer your dog are to your dog at any given moment for any particular behavior. I, certainly, have experienced asking my dog for a behavior and see a look come across that furry face that says, I know what your going to give me, and I think (fill the blank) is way more fun, so uh-uh.This article is not available in the online offerings from Bark this month, so those interested in reading it will have to find a print copy somewhere. 
Shiloh had plenty of tasks to keep her busy during our outing including carry my items for me in her backpack, activating four automatic door buttons, and retrieving my dropped cellphone as it slid beneath the checkout counter. So you can imagine my surprise when the rent-a-cop outside the library (yes I said outside, so we  were on the public right of way) comes up to us after we have exited the Library comes up to us and says, "I've never seen you before, is that a service dog?" to which I answer, "Yes." And then he says, "Did you need her to conduct your business in the library?" to which I  again answered, "Yes." I think someone is misunderstanding the DOJ Business Brief. Not too mention the fact my disability is far from a secret; Shiloh always wears a backpack, vest, to harness of some sort when working in public, no less  than a half a dozen people had just watched Shiloh activate the doors so I could exit the library, and I felt harassed because we we had completed our business receiving many compliments from the staff inside the library on the excellence of Shiloh's behavior and appearance while in the library. So much for appropriateness of  timing.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Webinar: Flying with Service Animals: Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities at 32,000 Feet

Webinar: Flying with Service Animals:
Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities at 32,000 Feet
September 27, 2010 | 2:00 pm (EST)
The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) will host an informative webinar on the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), specifically as it relates to flying with service animals. The webinar is being held in collaboration with the ADA National Network (formerly DBTACs).
Learn from industry experts about the following aspects of flying with service animals:
  • General Tips on air travel with a service animals
  • Specific issues important to passengers who are blind or visually-impaired, as it relates to their service dogs
  • Specific issues important to passengers with psychiatric disabilities, as it relates to their service dogs
  • Primer about ACAA provisions that govern air travel with service animals
  • What are passengers rights? Responsibilities?
Speakers include:
  • Becky Barnes, Guide Dog Users, Inc. & Guiding Eyes for the Blind
  • Joan Esnayra, Ph.D., Psychiatric Service Dog Society
  • Brandon M. Macsata, Executive Director, Association for Airline Passenger Rights (moderator)
AAPR members can participate for free and registration for non-members is only $35.00 (although non-members can join AAPR for only $10 and thereby participate for free, too).
Special benefits:
TravelPro is providing a 20% off discount coupon to all registered participants!
TravelPro - The choice of flight crews and frequent travelers

Thursday, September 2, 2010

News: In study, half of D.C. cab drivers pass by blind people with guide dogs

"The Equal Rights Center, in a report released Wednesday morning, said that it conducted 30 tests this year and that in half of them, drivers passed someone with a guide dog to pick up a person who did not have a guide dog. In three of the cases in which the taxi stopped for the blind person, the driver attempted to impose a surcharge for transporting the dog, the Equal Rights Center said."
Read More

More on Taxis and service dogs-

News: Working a Service Dog in D.C. Need a cab... Don't hold your breath

Monday, August 30, 2010

Grooma-palooza: Our Trip to the dog wash.

Last Saturday, both Shiloh and Cammy needed a bath and since things are a little tight financially it was decided the self service dog wash, U Suds 'Em would be the best way to meet our needs for clean dogs with busting the bank. This a great in between full professional groom and DIY job at home. At the dog bath we have access to different soaps, brushes, blow dryers,special tubs and such we just don't have at home. Not too mention the fact that they take care of cleaning the mess and maintaining the equipment!
Shiloh, waits her turn on a tie down outside the tub area.
Leslie and Cammy go over the tools with the staff
Cammy gets Furminated before her bath. 

Cammy all soapy.
Shiloh's Turn!

Shiloh gets furminated!
Shiloh all soapy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Review:Ability Magazine- Barking Up the Right Tree

This is an beautifully written from the inside of a service dog partnership out. Barking Up the Right Tree discusses many key topics to anyone considering partnering with a service dog including:
1. Am I disabled enough for a service dog?
2. Examples of tasks dogs do and how those tasks mitigate their handler's disability
3. The legal definition of what makes a service dog a (note this will change in 2011, see

News:Changes in the Definition of Service Animal under the ADA)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Yappy Hour! by Lexi Dog

Are you looking for an event to take your service dog in training for practice with public access and working in public? Just want to hang out with other dog people? This event might be for you!
Join us for an ICE CREAM SOCIAL at this month's Yappy Hour on Sunday, August 1st, where delicious frozen doggie treats will be served to our favorite four-legged pals!
Come mingle with other dog lovers, enjoy fine wines and food from LaVelle Bistro & Wine Bar, and spend some time out in the sun with your dogs!
Date: Sunday, August 1, 2010

: 3-5pm

: The patio at LaVelle Bistro & Wine Bar

at 5th Street Market in Eugene

Join us for an ICE CREAM SOCIAL at this month's Yappy Hour on Sunday, August 1st, where delicious frozen doggie treats will be served to our favorite four-legged pals!
Come mingle with other dog lovers, enjoy fine wines and food from LaVelle Bistro & Wine Bar, and spend some time out in the sun with your dogs!
Date: Sunday, August 1, 2010

: 3-5pm

: The patio at LaVelle Bistro & Wine Bar

at 5th Street Market in Eugene

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

News: Unleashing Abilities: The Genius of Dogs-Lecture

Maureen “Mo” Maurer, founder of Hawaii Canines for Independence (HCI) and Cate Dorr, assistant trainer for HCI, will present their research on Canine Cognition and Communication and the development of Canine Sign Language (CSL). Yes, that’s right–glance commands for those who cannot communicate verbally with their service dogs.Read More

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

News: Vida and Old Age

Retirement of a service dog.. The dog's eye view,
by Jill Sweet
Jill tells me that when she is out with Moses, some people get a concerned look on their face and then they ask her if I am still around. Yes, I am still here. To prove it, I am writing this week's column. The theme of my column is "getting old is a real B _ _ _ _ !!!" And I don't mean a female dog.Read More

Monday, July 26, 2010

News:Changes in theDefinition of Service Animal under the ADA

Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

§ 35.136 Service animals

(a) General. Generally, a public entity shall modify its policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.
(b) Exceptions. A public entity may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if--
(1) The animal is out of control and the animal´s handler does not take effective action to control it; or
(2) The animal is not housebroken.
(c) If an animal is properly excluded. If a public entity properly excludes a service animal under § 35.136(b), it shall give the individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.
(d) Animal under handler´s control. A service animal shall be under the control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal´s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler´s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).
(e) Care or supervision. A public entity is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.
(f) Inquiries. A public entity shall not ask about the nature or extent of a person´s disability, but may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal. A public entity may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. A public entity shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Generally, a public entity may not make these inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person´s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).
(g) Access to areas of a public entity. Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of a public entity´s facilities where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.
(h) Surcharges. A public entity shall not ask or require an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees, or to comply with other requirements generally not applicable to people without pets. If a public entity normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.
(i) Miniature horses. (A) A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.
(B) Assessment factors. In determining whether reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures can be made to allow a miniature horse into a specific facility, a public entity shall consider--
(1) The type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features;
(2) Whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse;
(3) Whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and
(4) Whether the miniature horse´s presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation.
(C) Other requirements. Paragraphs 35.136 (c) through (h) of this section, which apply to service animals, shall also apply to miniature horses.

Providing minimal protection. As previously noted, the 1991 title II regulation does not contain specific language concerning service animals. The 1991 title III regulation included language stating that "minimal protection" was a task that could be performed by an individually trained service animal for the benefit of an individual with a disability. In the Department´s "ADA Business Brief on Service Animals" (2002), the Department interpreted the "minimal protection" language within the context of a seizure (i.e., alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure). The Department received many comments in response to the question of whether the "minimal protection" language should be clarified. Many commenters urged the removal of the "minimal protection" language from the service animal definition for two reasons: (1) the phrase can be interpreted to allow any dog that is trained to be aggressive to qualify as a service animal simply by pairing the animal with a person with a disability; and (2) the phrase can be interpreted to allow any untrained pet dog to qualify as a service animal, since many consider the mere presence of a dog to be a crime deterrent, and thus sufficient to meet the minimal protection standard. These commenters argued, and the Department agrees, that these interpretations were not contemplated under the original title III regulation, and, for the purposes of the final title II regulations, the meaning of "minimal protection" must be made clear.
While many commenters stated that they believe that the "minimal protection" language should be eliminated, other commenters recommended that the language be clarified, but retained. Commenters favoring clarification of the term suggested that the Department explicitly exclude the function of attack or exclude those animals that are trained solely to be aggressive or protective. Other commenters identified non-violent behavioral tasks that could be construed as minimally protective, such as interrupting self-mutilation, providing safety checks and room searches, reminding the handler to take medications, and protecting the handler from injury resulting from seizures or unconsciousness.
Several commenters noted that the existing direct threat defense, which allows the exclusion of a service animal if the animal exhibits unwarranted or unprovoked violent behavior or poses a direct threat, prevents the use of "attack dogs" as service animals. One commenter noted that the use of a service animal trained to provide "minimal protection" may impede access to care in an emergency, for example, where the first responder, usually a title II entity, is unable or reluctant to approach a person with a disability because the individual´s service animal is in a protective posture suggestive of aggression.
Many organizations and individuals stated that in the general dog training community, "protection" is code for attack or aggression training and should be removed from the definition.
Commenters stated that there appears to be a broadly held misconception that aggression-trained animals are appropriate service animals for persons with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While many individuals with PTSD may benefit by using a service animal, the work or tasks performed appropriately by such an animal would not involve unprovoked aggression but could include actively cuing the handler by nudging or pawing the handler to alert to the onset of an episode and removing the individual from the anxiety-provoking environment.
The Department recognizes that despite its best efforts to provide clarification, the "minimal protection" language appears to have been misinterpreted. While the Department maintains that protection from danger is one of the key functions that service animals perform for the benefit of persons with disabilities, the Department recognizes that an animal individually trained to provide aggressive protection, such as an attack dog, is not appropriately considered a service animal. Therefore, the Department has decided to modify the "minimal protection" language to read "non-violent protection," thereby excluding so-called "attack dogs" or dogs with traditional "protection training" as service animals. The Department believes that this modification to the service animal definition will eliminate confusion, without restricting unnecessarily the type of work or tasks that service animals may perform. The Department´s modification also clarifies that the crime-deterrent effect of a dog´s presence, by itself, does not qualify as work or tasks for purposes of the service animal definition.
Alerting to intruders. The phrase "alerting to intruders" is related to the issues of minimal protection and the work or tasks an animal may perform to meet the definition of a service animal. In the original 1991 regulatory text, this phrase was intended to identify service animals that alert individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of others. This language has been misinterpreted by some to apply to dogs that are trained specifically to provide aggressive protection, resulting in the assertion that such training qualifies a dog as a service animal under the ADA. The Department reiterates that title II entities are not required to admit any animal whose use poses a direct threat under § 35.139. In addition, the Department has decided to remove the word "intruders" from the service animal definition and replace it with the phrase "the presence of people or sounds." The Department believes this clarifies that so-called "attack training" or other aggressive response types of training that cause a dog to provide an aggressive response do not qualify a dog as a service animal under the ADA.
Conversely, if an individual uses a breed of dog that is perceived to be aggressive because of breed reputation, stereotype, or the history or experience the observer may have with other dogs, but the dog is under the control of the individual with a disability and does not exhibit aggressive behavior, the title II entity cannot exclude the individual or the animal from a State or local government program, service, or facility. The animal can only be removed if it engages in the behaviors mentioned in § 35.136(b) (as revised in the final rule) or if the presence of the animal constitutes a fundamental alteration to the nature of the service, program, or activity of the title II entity.
Note: the ADA is still silent on dogs still silent on dogs in  training.These are some of the key changes, but is still more material to read.Read More

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: Bridging Differences within the Disability Community: The Assistance Dog Movement

Ed Eames, Co-Founder of the International Association  Assistance Dog Partners wrote Bridging Differences within the Disability Community: The Assistance Dog Movement in 2001. This succinct article provides a history of the service dog movement,culture, and community in the USA. Ever wonder when guide dogs became a reality in the US, How IAADP came to be, or what the estimated number of service dog partners are in the US? This article will answer these questions and more. As the Disability Community celebrates the 20th anniversary of the ADA , it is important to the ADA defined the term service animal on a federal level.

Monday, July 19, 2010

News: Prince Harry Visits Canine Partners for Life

Prince Harry of England's recently visited to Canine Partners to learn more about their work supporting military veterans following his first hand military experience.
Andy Cook says: “The visit by Prince Harry is a huge boost to  Canine Partners and we thoroughly enjoyed showing him how we train the dogs to help people with disabilities.  He was very interested in our work with the Armed Forces, and had a long private chat with petty officer Stephen Brookes about how the dogs can make such a difference to injured servicemen and women.  The Prince proved to be a competent handler with the more advanced dogs in training, and a big hit with the younger puppies who vied with each other to get the most cuddles!  He spoke to many of our working partnerships, giving him an insight into the variety of ways a canine partner can help his disabled owner.” Read More about the Prince's visit
Trigger warning: Militarily scenes and sounds from on going conflicts in video below

Video from the Today Show of Prince Harry  to Canine Partners.

Monday, July 12, 2010

News: Happy 20th to the ADA

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.I hope my readers enjoy the post-a-thon celebration this momentous law.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Note:Sorry We have been out of Commission

I have been out of commission working then my wisdom teeth went awry,turns out all four need to be pulled!Shiloh has been helping a lot.Helping me balance and stay in touch though the drug stupor. Tooth pain is no joke, I am kind of scared the weight loss since I can't eat and the pain meds are making me nauseous. I hope to have the surgery scheduled this week.Shiloh will not be accompanying me since I am in no shape to be a proper handler to her.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

News: VetCentric and Guide Dogs for the Blind Team Up to Provide Discounted Prescriptions and Added Convenience to Program Graduates

VetCentric, the leader in vet-sponsored home delivery of FDA and EPA-approved medications for pets, has entered into an agreement with Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) to provide their graduates (guide dog users) with special discount pricing for their pet medications.

Glen Burnie, MD (Vocus/PRWEB ) June 29, 2010 -- VetCentric, the leader in vet-sponsored home delivery of FDA and EPA-approved medications for pets, has entered into an agreement with Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) to provide their graduates (guide dog users) with special discount pricing for their pet medications.
To take advantage of VetCentric’s special prescription discount plan, GDB graduates simply need to register online at, print the custom form and bring it to their local veterinary clinic.Read More