Marine Is on a Mission to Provide Veterans Suffering From PTSD With Service Dogs

by Sue on April 28, 2016

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As Cole Lyle testified before Congress today, his service dog, Kaya, was at his feet.

Lyle, a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

After several years taking prescribed sleep aids and antidepressants and even contemplating suicide, he said he decided to try a different kind of therapy: trained service dogs.

Service dogs are not provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, so Lyle tried to get a dog through local nonprofit groups.

But the wait times were over a year, and Lyle said he didn’t feel like he had time to wait.

He purchased Kaya and had her trained for PTSD symptoms by an Assistance Dogs International-accredited trainer. After spending $10,000 of his own money, he had the help he needed.

“The bad days are less frequent than they have ever been,” Lyle told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

 Lyle testified before the committee about the benefits he’s experienced since having Kaya, including how Kaya knows to wake him up when he’s suffering from a nightmare. The dog has reinvigorated his life with purpose, he said.

Now, he’s speaking out in the hopes that the VA will change its policy.

Currently, the VA does not provide benefits for PTSD or mental health dogs because they say the dogs are not known to be effective in overcoming specific functional limitations in veterans with PTSD.

A study commissioned by the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act was meant to assess the way the VA could use service dogs for treatment and rehabilitation for veterans. However, that study has been plagued with challenges that have only allowed 40 dogs to be paired with veterans, according to the House committee.

In 2012, the VA concluded it would not support service animals, citing a lack of evidence supporting the efficacy of mental health service dogs.

Dr. Michael Fallon, Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for the Office of Research and Development at the VA, echoed this sentiment at the hearing, saying “the benefits of service dogs in assisting people with mental health diagnoses have not been established in scientific literature.”

But Rory Diamond, the executive director of K9s for Warriors, told the committee that research already shows veterans with PTSD receive extraordinary benefits from service dogs.

Diamond said benefits for veterans include eliminating their use of medications, handling anxiety better, and reducing suicidal thoughts, nightmares, and night terrors.

“There are thousands of veteran suicides that could have been prevented if they would have had access to a service dog,” Diamond told Congress.

Steven Feldman, executive director of the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation, testified that there is already significant scientific evidence to substantiate the use of service dogs for veterans with PTSD.

He pointed to several studies, include research conducted by Purdue University on animal-assisted intervention for victims of trauma.

“People with PTSD often experience emotional numbing, yet the presence of an animal has been reported to elicit positive emotions and warmth,” that study concluded. “Animals have also been demonstrated as social facilitators that can connect people and reduce loneliness, which may assist individuals with PTSD break out of isolation and connect to the humans around them.”

A new bill, H.R. 4764, will direct the VA to carry out a five-year pilot program in which the agency will provide service dogs and veterinary health insurance to certain veterans who served on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and were diagnosed with, and continue to suffer from, PTSD.

 For Lyle, this bill is a crucial step for veterans who are running out of options to combat PTSD.

“I believe that allowing veterans to fight PTSD without all options available to them is tantamount to sending our military to fight an enemy without a secondary weapon in their arsenal,” Lyle said.

Dr. Fallon concluded his opening testimony by saying that the VA offers a wide range of treatment options to treat PTSD and its symptoms and is using technologies to increase those offerings.

“VA remains open to new and innovative treatments for PTSD and supports research on these treatments as part of its portfolio on PTSD and related conditions,” he said.

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Brusha Brusha Brusha

by Sue on March 30, 2016

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Brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t just about fresh breath. It’s a part of good oral care is important to your dog’s overall health. Although most people aren’t aware of it, gum disease is a common and serious problem in dogs. Yet brushing your dog’s teeth can prevent it.

Veterinarians estimate that 85 percent of dogs over five years of age suffer from gum disease. Gum disease develops when food particles and bacteria collect along the gum line and form soft deposits called plaque. Over time that turns into rock-hard tartar. If tartar isn’t removed from your dog’s teeth, it will eventually inflame the gums. As the inflamed gums begin to separate from the teeth, pockets form. This causes gum disease to worsen. At this point, your dog can experience severe pain, lose teeth, form abscesses in his mouth and develop a bacterial infection. This infection can spread through the bloodstream to the kidneys, liver, heart or brain.

Gum disease is irreversible, so now is a great time to get started on a regular oral care regimen for your dog. Remember…prevention is the key.

It’s ideal to brush your dog’s teeth daily, just like you brush your own. However, if you cannot do that, aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least every other day.

Smaller dogs and dogs with flat or short, broad snouts (like pugs and bulldogs) may need more frequent brushing. Their teeth are often crowded together, which allows more plaque to accumulate and increases their risk of developing gum disease.

Things to keep in mind:

If your dog is losing weight, starts eating slower or refusing to eat for no apparent reason, it is time to have their teeth checked.

If your dog develops bad breath, don’t reach for breath fresheners for your dog until you have their teeth checked. Giving breath fresheners to a dog with bad teeth is like sweeping dirt under a rug.

Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly does not totally eliminate a professional dental done by a qualified Veterinarian. It will however greatly reduce the trips to the Vet for this procedure.

Since I started brushing my dog’s teeth, my Vet is doing a professional cleaning on my dog’s teeth every three years now instead of every year like before.

 

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Follow up to last week’s survey.

by Sue on March 25, 2016

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Did anyone notice the trick selection listed? If you said there is no such thing as an “Emotional Service Animal” you are correct. There IS no such thing as an Emotional Service Animal. Service Animals are dogs which help a person with a physical, mental, or neurological disability with day to day tasks. Emotional Support Animals are strictly Companion Animals. The ADA rules say the following about Service Animals.

 

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with dis­abilitiesExamples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pull­ing a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Note carefully the last sentence. This is why there is no such thing as an Emotional Service Animal.

So what type of dog do you have you ask? Is it an ESA or is it a Service Dog? The answer may shock you. People are led to believe that if you have a mental disorder, your dog is an emotional support animal. Actually that is far from the truth. The ADA has a partial list of disabilities that a Service Dog can be used for.

Physical Problem:

Asthma (or other breathing problems)

Blindness (& partial blindness)

Deafness (& partial deafness)

Diabetes

Dizziness/Balance problems

Epilepsy

General Hearing Difficulty

Mobility Problems

Neurological Problems

Paralysis

Physical Weakness

Speech Problems

Seizures

 

Emotional/Mental Problem:

Age-Related Cognitive Decline

Any Psychiatric Condition (see exclusions below)

Autism

Depression

Dyslexia

Bipolar Disorder

Emotionally Overwhelmed

Panic Attacks

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Anxiety

Social Phobia

Stress Problems

 

ADA Definitions of Qualified Disability

 

Under the ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who:

Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;

Has a record of such an impairment; or

Is regarded as having such an impairment.

A physical impairment is defined by the ADA as:

Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.

A mental/emotional impairment is defined by the ADA as:

Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

The ADA does not list all conditions or diseases that make up physical, mental, and emotional impairments, because it would be impossible to provide a comprehensive list given the variety of possible impairments.

Exclusions to the Qualified Disability Definition

Neither deviant behavior (e.g., political, religious, or sexual) nor conflicts that are primarily between the individual and society are mental disorders unless the deviance or conflict is a symptom of a dysfunction in the individual. According to Title II of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, current or future interpretation of psychological disabilities excludes common personality traits such as poor judgment or a quick temper.

Service Animals are allowed into places posted Service Animals Only. Emotional Support Animals are NOT allowed into places posted Service Animals Only. Service Animals are recognized by the Department of Justice under the American’s with Disabilities Act. Emotional Support Animals are recognized by the Fair Housing Act and the Department of Transportation’s Air Carrier Access Act. This means that Service Animals have access to any place open to the Public. Emotional Support Animals are allowed into dwellings with a “No Pets” policy that the owner is renting or leasing, and on Airlines. Taking an Emotional Support Animal into a place posted Service Animals Only is against the law as it is misrepresenting a dog as a Service Animal. The ADA states the following about misrepresentation.

Under federal laws, the fine for misrepresenting a dog as a service animal is $3,000, plus you can be subject to prison time. State laws vary, but many carry penalties as well.

 

This also leads me to bring up another misconception. Registries or certifications of Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals.

Each year more and more sites have popped up online claiming to “Register” or “Certify” service dogs and emotional support animals.

 

The Facts:

  1. No federal government agencies certify or register service dogs or emotional support animals.
  2. No federal government agency designates any businesses as an official registrar or certifier.
  3. Ask yourself how someone can certify that you have a legitimate service dog or ESA if they have never seen your dog.
  4. The certificates that these bogus businesses issue aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. You might as well get your neighbor to certify your dog because it would be just as legitimate.
  5. These businesses bank on the fact that most people believe your dog must be registered or certified by someone to be a “Real” service dog or emotional support animal.

 

Real service dogs or emotional support animals do not need to be registered or certified by ANYONE and any business claiming to do either is misleading you.

 

You may read more about the above at this website http://www.servicedogtag.com/the-service-dog-registration-certification-scam/

 

The ADA states the following. ADA will not impose any type of formal training requirements, registration or certification process. While some groups have urged the Department to modify this position, the Department has determined that such a modification would not serve the full array of individuals with disabilities who use service animals, since individuals with disabilities may be capable of training, and some have trained, their service animal to perform tasks or do work to accommodate their disability. A training, registration or certification requirement would increase the expense of acquiring a service animal and might limit access to service animals, especially for individuals with limited financial resources.

 

Hopefully this helps clear up some, or allot of confusion when it comes to Service Animals verses Emotional Support Animals.

 

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by Sue on March 15, 2016

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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – An Army veteran said he plans to file a lawsuit after he says he was asked by a manager at a Sevierville bar and grill to leave because of his service dog.

Kevin Stone said he went to grab a burger at Screwballs Bar and Grill. He left the restaurant hungry after he says a bartender told him he could not bring his service dog “Mambo” inside.

According to a police report filed by Stone with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, owner Jack Disney said the health department does not allow dogs in his restaurant, because food is served and it could cause him to lose his license. “It was a jaw dropper. It really hurt,” said Stone.

(Courtesy: WATE)
(Courtesy: WATE)

Not only had Stone had food at Screwballs with Mambo before, but he said in the eight years he had a service dog he has never had a problem. “They knew me. They knew my dog prior to this event, so it just made no sense,” said Stone.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s American Disabilities Act states that “businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go.” The American Disabilities Act also says it “applies to businesses open to the public, including restaurants.”

Comment from Sussie: I really take issue with this because that man fought for our freedom. I am hearing more and more stories about Veterans being treated like garbage and it really needs to stop, service dog or no service dog.

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It’s shedding season again!

by Sue on March 2, 2016

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Despite the common belief, there is no way to completely stop your dog from shedding. Aside from the hairless breeds, all dogs shed to one degree or another, regardless of size, coat length or hair type. The best you can hope to do is control or reduce dog shedding by regular grooming.

Dogs need to get rid of unneeded or damaged hair. Most grow a heavier coat in the winter to help them safe from the elements and then shed that extra fur in the summer to stay cool. Shedding can also result from skin irritation or infections, parasites or a poor diet. There are many ways that you can reduce dog shedding or prevent it from becoming a problem

 

REGULAR BRUSHING!

Regular combing and brushing is essential.  Use an appropriate brush for the dog’s coat type, followed by a finishing comb. Many breeds benefit from daily brushing. It makes the coat softer, cleaner and less prone to heavy shedding. It will also root out fleas and other parasites.

.

OIL!

Try adding unscented salmon oil to your dog’s food on a daily basis. It is almost without taste, contains omega-3 fatty acids that help condition the skin and provide a healthy, shiny coat. It also helps control shedding in many breeds.

NUTRITION!

If a dog isn’t receiving the proper nutrition he needs, his skin and coat will suffer. What dogs are fed helps to influence the texture of their dog coat and skin health. Healthy skin has healthy follicles that support long-lived lustrous hair. Unhealthy skin has sickly hair follicles and poor skin oils. The hair is brittle and dull. It breaks off and falls out easily. It’s important that the dog’s food full of nutrients. For a dog coat to be healthy and not to shed, dogs require proteins that are absorbable.

Remember, it’s not possible to completely stop shedding but if you take these steps, you can definitely control and reduce dog shedding.

 

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A fantastic contest open to ANYONE!

by Sue on February 29, 2016

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This is not a joke. It’s real. We really are giving one away.

Click below to enter for a chance to win a fitbit

http://contest.io/c/jrz3mdwr

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Get ready for summer with our Cool Mesh Vests

by Sue on February 24, 2016

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Click below to order!
Get them before they are gone at this price!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9PZO8U

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We have three clearance items on our site…

by Sue on February 17, 2016

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1/2 off or over 1/2 off. Once they are gone, they are gone.

http://www.servicedogtag.com/clearance-sale/

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Veterans Say Trained Dogs Help With PTSD, But The VA Won’t Pay

by Sue on February 3, 2016

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At a warehouse near Dallas, a black Lab named Papi tugs on a rope to open a fridge and passes his trainer a plastic water bottle with his mouth.

Service dogs are often trained to help veterans with physical disabilities. Now, a growing number are being trained to meet the demand from vets with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

Those dogs learn extra tricks — how to sweep a house for intruders, for example, so a veteran feels safe.

“We teach them something called perimeter, where they go into the house and they check, they just touch all the doors and all the windows,” says Cheryl Woolnough, training director at Patriot PAWS, a nonprofit in Rockwall, Texas, that provides service dogs.

These dogs also learn how to create personal space for a veteran by stepping in front or behind the owner to block people from approaching.

Most veterans who apply for a service dog have PTSD, often on top of physical disabilities, according to Terri Stringer, assistant executive director of Patriot PAWS. “We have 100 veterans on our list waiting for dogs, so we have to get more dogs,” Stringer says.

So far, though, the Department of Veterans Affairs won’t help pay for service dogs for PTSD, citing a lack of scientific evidence. But it’s launching a study to find out what effect specially trained service dogs can have on the lives of veterans with PTSD. Vets with PTSD who already rely on service dogs say the research should have been done years ago.

The training process for these service dogs is complex.

It starts with puppies — often Labs, poodles or Labradoodles. The little guys get their shots and learn simple commands first. Then they go either to a puppy raiser who teaches them to behave in public places or they go to prison, literally. Stringer calls it the “big doghouse.”

Jay Springstead, a Vietnam veteran who has post-traumatic stress disorder, started working at Patriot PAWS after his youngest son, an Iraq combat vet who also had PTSD, took his own life.”

Jay Springstead, a Vietnam veteran who has post-traumatic stress disorder, started working at Patriot PAWS after his youngest son, an Iraq combat vet who also had PTSD, took his own life.

The inmates teach the dogs dozens of commands. Patriot PAWS relies on three Texas prisons for the type of intensive training the dogs need to be paired with veterans. It takes more than two years and costs about $30,000 per dog. The few veterans lucky enough to make it to the top of the list each year get dogs at no charge.

Jay Springstead, who lives outside Dallas, still has nightmares from combat in Vietnam 40 years ago. “A service dog for post-traumatic stress can actually help you get out into the public and regain some of that independence that you’ve lost,” he says.

Springstead started volunteering at Patriot PAWS after his youngest son took his own life.

“Both my sons were Iraqi combat veterans; my youngest one had severe post-traumatic stress,” he says. “So I’m familiar with the symptoms and I also know how important dogs are to anyone’s recovery.”

Springstead and many others are frustrated that the VA is not providing financial assistance to veterans who use service dogs to cope with PTSD.

It’s a complaint Patricia Dorn, director of the VA’s Rehabilitation Research and Development Service in Washington, D.C., has heard repeatedly. She says that while there is plenty of scientific evidence of the benefits of service dogs for people with physical disabilities, there’s little in the area of ”We understand, veterans are not happy with the agency in that we’re not just providing this benefit,” Dorn says. “But for an agency with [over] 150 hospitals and millions of veterans we serve, we need to have the evidence base to make a determination.”

That’s why the VA is conducting a on service dogs with 200 veterans with PTSD from Atlanta; Iowa City, Iowa; and Portland, Ore.

Dorn says researchers will assess veterans’ quality of life over a three-year period.

This isn’t the first time the VA has tried to study service dogs and PTSD. An earlier effort was halted in 2011 after two service dogs bit children in veterans’ homes. The current study, Dorn says, has stricter standards for dog training and a more rigorous study design.

In the meantime, Springstead says veterans sometimes get tricked into buying dogs that aren’t properly trained. Patriot PAWS is one of a few dozen organizations in the country accredited through

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Should your dog wear clothes?

by Sue on January 28, 2016

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You’ve seen them at coffee shops, street corners, fire hydrants, jazzed up in sweaters, smoking jackets, ascots and sunglasses. Yes, dogs wearing clothes. It happens every single day; someone gets up and dresses up their dog in some hand-made or specially-ordered article of clothing. Maybe you dress your dog up too. If you do, maybe you already know why. If you don’t dress up your dog, you probably wonder “Is it really necessary?”

There is a difference between turning your dog into a hipster extension of your own style and simply protecting him or her from various weather conditions. If you have a tiny dog with little fur, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies, and you live, let’s say, in Minnesota, your dear dog might benefit from a well-made sweater or even a down-lined jacket in the middle of winter. With the right gear, you and your short coated dog can still hit the great outdoors during the winter months. Getting some much needed fresh air and exercise while staying warm and comfortable.

Dogs with such thin fur or thinner body types need some extra protection against the conditions. However a Siberian Husky,Saint Bernard or the like simply don’t require anything since they are well suited to such temperatures.

If you are an avid runner and you don’t mind dashing out in the rain, you can still take your dog with you if you put on their rain jacket. If it is a warm rain, you and your pet probably won’t mind, but those chillier drizzling runs can become quite uncomfortable for both of you, so you should both put on your rain gear. No matter what type of fur your dog has, in this case, it makes sense to suit up for the cold rains. Remember you both need to towel off and get warm upon return.

Whereas outdoor gear is a matter of protecting your pet from cold and damp or other uncomfortable conditions, dressing them up for other reasons is a matter of preference for human companions. While there is no harm in it, it certainly isn’t necessary, and it might even feel a bit confining for your pet to wear anything when it is perfectly comfortable in good weather.

If you want to dress your dog in clothes, monitor the response. If he or she behaves as if they don’t like it or get overheated, reconsider your plan to dress your dog.Even though your dog can’t let you know whether that costume is to their liking, an occasional dress up might not be too bad, as long as you find a costume that fits your dog comfortably and don’t keep them in it too long. Dogs can “dress up” as superheroes, bumblebees and pretty much anything that humans can, so it makes sense for die-hard Halloween fans to extend the holiday to their dogs.

NOTE: If you plan to take your dog someplace with hot and blistering asphalt, find some protective wear for his or her feet with some dog boots that are now available.

Under ideal climate conditions, your dog’s coat is beautiful, And as long as you keep it healthy and shiny, why not let it glow on its own? Sometimes just letting your dog be a dog is the best way to go, as long as the conditions are safe for you to do so.

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