Size does not matter!

by Sue on August 10, 2016

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I may open up a can of worms here but I wanted to bring up a problem that is becoming more and more common. Small dogs that are growly, nippy or just flat out bite and are still being used as service dogs. This is causing a problem for people that have well behaved small service dogs.

A LOT of people do not take my service dog seriously because of his size. They think I am trying to fake a service dog because he is not a German Shepherd, a Golden Retriever, a Labradoodle, or any of the other breeds that are usually thought of as the breeds used for Service Dogs. They stereotype him as one of those snarky little dogs they see. I usually don’t say anything, I just let people think that. Then, after they watch him work, they are usually amazed. Many stating “That is the most well behaved dachshund I have ever seen” or “I didn’t know they used dachshunds as service dogs” or “I didn’t think small dogs could be service dogs” That last remark is usually replied to by a small chuckle and my “Try telling HIM he’s small” while he sits or stands with this nonchalant look on his face. Actions speak louder than words.

Gunny is a very seasoned dog. In the equine world he would be called bomb proof. But then Gunny was my Narcotics detection dog before he became my service dog. He no longer does drug searches since the legalization of marijuana in the state of Oregon. Unfortunately he is subjected to that smell on a regular basis while we are “out and about” now. I had to keep telling him to “break” when he smelled it. To him “break” means leave it and move on. Now he just ignores the scent. Shame too. He was good at that. He still detects meth though.

But I’m getting off track again.

Small dogs tend to work harder at what they do or are trained to do. I think it’s because of the fact that they are small and feel the need to prove themselves. But, like with any breed of dog, not every small dog is cut out for the work of a service dog. All dogs, regardless of size, are individuals just like you or I are. Some people are leaders, some are followers, some are timid, some are easy going. It’s the same with dogs. The perfect candidate for a service dog is a dog that can: make choices in tight situations, remain calm, have been heavily socialized (but not overly friendly. In other words, you want the dog to accept people and allow people to touch them but not be an overly friendly dog), be very devoted to their owner, be house broken and, above all, show NO aggressive tendencies what so ever. If your small dog does not fit as a service dog, do not use the dog as one.

I have heard from customers “Well my dog is small so of course he/she is going to snarl or snap when they feel threatened or someone comes near me. But that is OK, they are still a service dog” Actually no. That is wrong. The ADA states that a service dog must be well behaved in public. If a service dog shows any aggressive tendencies then they can be asked to leave. The only time this can be overlooked is if the dog was provoked. And this does not mean simply reaching out to touch the dog or similar. This means pushing the dog to a breaking point. But that rarely happens as usually a well trained service dog will just try to get away rather that become aggressive if he or she feels threatened.

Size does not matter. Big dogs or little dogs. They are all dogs. They think like dogs and can all be trained the same no matter what the size. A dog’s size is no excuse for making excuses for poor training.

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Hot hot hot!

by Sue on August 4, 2016

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Summer is upon us as usual. I love summer. When you have fibromyalgia like I do, you relish warm days and dread cold ones. But I’m not here to talk about my pain. I am here to talk about pain you may be giving your dog without even thinking about it.

I see people walking their dogs all the time…on asphalt. On a hot day, in the mid afternoon in full sun, place your hand on the asphalt and leave it there for a bit. Hot isn’t it? Imagine what it’s like for a dog. They have to feel that four times. Once on each foot. And dogs’ feet are very sensitive. They have to be to know where they are and what is under them. With the exception of sight hounds, dogs actually have poor vision to a degree. They rely mainly on smell, hearing and feel.

Concrete is OK. It does not soak up the heat like asphalt. And neither does a lot of brick surfaces. But asphalt. Unless it’s a cloudy day or a cool day, it’s going to be hard on your dog.

“But my dog acts fine” I have heard some people say. Well, the loyalty of a dog will make them do things that will hurt them sometimes. Walking on hot asphalt is one of them. But if you remember, as a child running around barefoot, walking across a hot pavement, saying to yourself “ouch ouch ouch”, that about what’s going through that dog’s mind when they are walking across the same type of surface.

Dogs cool themselves two ways. Panting and dispersing heat through their feet. That is why you see that  a lot of dogs on hot days will go and stand in water. They are cooling themselves off. Like we do when we place a cool rag around our neck or on our head. So when they are walking on something hot, you are taking away one of their cooling systems.

The next time you take your dog out on hot days either avoid asphalt, carry the dog over asphalt (if possible) or buy the dog a nifty set of dog shoes. You will be doing him or her a favor.

 

Thanks!

 

Sussie and PTSD Service Dog “Gunny” the Dachshund

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Update from posting of last week…

by Sue on July 27, 2016

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Last week I posted a…for lack of a better term…rant about how some service dog owners depict themselves in public when confronted by people uneducated about Service Dog rules. Honestly, I was expecting some negative feedback from the readers. In fact, and a pleasant surprise to me, the readers actually praised me or agreed with me….except for one foul mouth individual…but…you know the old saying…there is one in every crowd.

Anyway.

We here at Service Dog Tags are not your usual company. We do not advertise “Buy this and take your dog anywhere” We care about the rules and regulations and want to make sure our customers are aware of them so they can present their dog properly. Have we turned away customers we think are questionable?  Yes we have. We will turn away anyone that states to us…in so many words…that they have no disability but just want their dog to go anywhere. Or that they have an ESA and insist that they will be calling it a Service Dog even after we have tried our best to educate them on the differences and what ADA says about ESA’s . We are doing our best to stop people from faking service dogs. The only sad thing about that is the possibility that they will just go to another company that does not care.

We also do not claim to “certify” or “register” any dog as we know that it is not required by law nor recognized by any government agency. While many other websites out there will do that, we refuse to scam the disabled. Think about it…how can an online company “certify” a dog  if they have never seen the dog and watched it perform it’s duties? That is a clear indication that they are only out for your money.

Unfortunately the ADA clearly states that businesses cannot ask for proof that you need your service dog. In other words, they cannot ask for a letter from your Doctor. That puts us in a bind as we are a business. Until that particular section of the ADA is changed, that is an obstacle for us. Yes we can ask the two questions…Is that a service dog?…What does the dog do for you? (or similar). However…and I am sure you feel the same way when you see a fake service dog…allot of people are not honest. This puts us in a bind as well. This means that we have to sell our products on the honor system.

I guess this posting of mine got a little off track but at least you now know what kind of company we are. And if you hear anyone mentioning us as one of those companies that don’t care who they sell to, or allow people to fake a service dog, you can say that is not true and we are really trying to weed the “fakers” out.

I will wrap this up by saying thank you to all who handle themselves well in public and present Service Dog owners as upstanding citizens, not the foul mouthed ones that get posted on YouTube. If any of you ever need advice (not legal advice mind you. I can’t do that…sorry) on how to handle a situation, or need clarification of the ADA laws (which sometimes are about as clear as the Mississippi River) don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sussie and PTSD Service Dog “Gunny” the Dachshund.

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A word of advice from a fellow Service Dog owner

by Sue on July 18, 2016

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Recently I viewed a video of a man with a service dog who was arrested by police. I am not going to go into great detail about it but in short it was not because the man was falsifying a service dog or anything like that, it was because he was swearing at the Cops. They approached him about his service dog, he explained the ADA rules to them and then went on to swear at them because they did not know the laws.

I may upset a few people here by saying this, but I do not feel this was proper behavior for this Service Dog owner. By swearing at the Cops they had every right to immediately deem him as a threat.

This video I watched is not the first video depicting Service Dog owners acting this way. I have seen many many videos depicting Service Dog owners slinging fowl mouthed words at people who confront them about their Service Dogs. Is this a good representation of all Service Dog owners? No it is not.

Service Dog owners are getting more and more of a bad rap due to the fact that there are getting to be more and more fake service dogs out there. We people who have honest to goodness Service Dogs need to represent ourselves as responsible upstanding individuals. I am not saying not to stand up for your rights as a service dog owner. What I am suggesting is that you don’t look like a jackass while doing so.

YouTube is very large and the videos are viral. It’s on YouTube that I see these videos. And people that post them are posting them to make a statement. But it happens to be the wrong statement. For those of us that have had confrontations while out with our service dogs, these videos are of frustrations that we understand. However the rest of the public may very well view it differently. And I am afraid they will view it as that people with Service Dogs are trouble makers and the public should be leery of them.

Please do your best to conduct yourself, the best you can, in a professional manner, when confronted by someone about your Service Dog.  Remember…when you are in the public’s eye, your actions represent every Service Dog owner out there.

 

Thank you,

Sussie and PTSD Service Dog “Gunny”

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Keep those pearlies clean!

by Sue on July 11, 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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Service dog and owner denied service at 2 local restaurants

by Sue on June 23, 2016

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LAMPASAS, Texas (KWTX) Service animals are used by a variety of people, including those with disabilities. Stacy Dickey is one of those people. She is a combat veteran who suffers from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury.

In May, Stacy Dickey was denied service at a Lampasas restaurant. She says the owner told her he was concerned that allowing her service dog inside would violate health code.

The same thing happened again Saturday at a different restaurant in the city.

“The hostess, before I got into the door asked me for certification for my service dog, and I informed her, same situation, that that is not a legal question, and there is no certification that is governed or legitimate,” Dickey said.

According to Texas law and the Americans with Disabilities Act, a person who is blind or has other disabilities has the right to bring a trained service animal to all public places.

If someone’s disability is not visible, like Dickey’s, employees can only ask the person whether the service animal is required, and what kind of task the animal is trained to perform.

After this weekend’s incident, Lampasas police are handing out informational sheets about service dogs to restaurant owners in the area, “So that they’ll know, that they’ll know that the dogs are allowed to be able to come into the restaurants,” Lampasas Assistant Police Chief Sammy Bailey said.

Bailey said most restaurant owners she has spoken with also thought they were not allowed to have animals inside because they are preparing food.

“I’m don’t want to hurt anyone’s business, I don’t want to cause anybody strife, but the lesson does need to be learned here, because this is a federal civil right,” Dickey said.

The owner of the first did not return a call Monday and the owner of the second was out of town.

In a phone interview he said his restaurant will “never have this problem again,” and the he has apologized for the situation to Dickey.

He says he wasn’t versed on the state law.

Dickey said she plans to file a misdemeanor complaint against the restaurant owner.

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: The reason I posted this here is that I think that it is wonderful that that the local authorities got involved in educating the local store owners. An individual can do their best to try and convince a store owner of the rules and regulations. But nothing drives it home more than when the Police come knocking on their door.

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Jeepers, Creepers. Make sure to check those Peepers!

by Sue on June 14, 2016

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Giving your dog regular home eye exams will help keep you alert to any tearing, cloudiness or inflammation that may indicate a health problem. The following suggestions will help keep your dog’s vision sharp.

Face your dog in a brightly lit area and look into his eyes. They should be clear, bright and the area around the eyeball should be white. The pupils should be equal in size. There should be no tearing, discharge or any crust in the corners of the eyes.

With your thumb, gently roll down your dog’s lower eyelid and look at the lining. It should be pink, not red or white.

The following could be signs that something may be wrong with one or both of your dog’s eyes:

Discharge & crusty gunk
Tearing
Red or white eyelid linings
Tear-stained fur
Closed eye(s)
Cloudiness or change in eye color
Visible third eyelid
Unequal pupil sizes

Gently wipe with a damp cotton ball to help keep your dog’s eyes gunk-free. Wipe outward from the corner of the eye and be careful not to touch his eyeball as you may scratch the cornea. If your dog constantly suffers from runny eyes and discharge, please see your veterinarian. Your dog may have an infection.

Long-haired breeds can get eye damage if their locks are not trimmed. Using scissors with rounded tips, carefully trim the hair around your dog’s eyes to keep his vision clear and prevent hairs from poking and scratching. In wirehaired breeds you may simply pluck the hairs which are close to the eyes. My wires seem to get hairs growing towards the eyes from the corners of the eyes. These hairs are easy to pluck.

Soaps and topical medications can be major irritants. Make sure to protect your dog’s eyes before bathing him, applying ointments or flea-control formulas.

Dogs love the open road with the wind in their face. But if debris or an insect touches their eyes they can suffer pain and a long-lasting injury. It’s much safer to drive with the windows only partially down so the dog cannot put his head outside the vehicle. The wind can also dry out your dog’s eyes which can possibly cause irritation and infection.

Do a little research and find out if eye conditions are common in your dog’s breed. Of course your dog should have his eyes checked on annual vet visits. But knowing about possible inherited problems will help you take important precautions.

Watch your  dog’s body language. Pawing or rubbing his eye area may alert you to possible problems.

The following eye disorders are commonly seen in dogs:

Conjunctivitis: One or both of your dog’s eyes will look red and swollen and there may be discharge.
Dry Eye: Diminished tear production can cause corneal inflammation, squinting and discharge.
Cherry Eye: An enlarged tear gland forms a cherry-like mass on the dog’s eye.
Epiphora: An overflow of tears creates stains on the dog’s facial fur.
Glaucoma: The cornea becomes cloudy and the eye enlarges due to an increased pressure in the eyeball.
Ectropion: A turning outward of the upper eyelid causes the lower lid to droop.
Entropion: A rolling in of the eyelid causes discharge and tearing.
Cataract: An opacity on the lens of the eye can cause impaired vision and possible blindness .
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Caused by degeneration of retinal tissue. Night blindness is often it’s first sign.

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Dog Liposuction?

by Sue on June 8, 2016

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It’s easy to hear about liposuction and dogs and think “Wow, people have gone too far”. But it’s not what we first think it is.

While human liposuction focuses on weight loss for cosmetic reasons. When the procedure is performed on a dog it’s actually used to improve the health of the dog. The non-invasive procedure removes the fat from lipomas in senior dogs.

Lipomas are harmless tumors of fat cells that can be large and/or numerous on some dogs. If gone untreated, they can grow quite large and interfere with the dog’s movement if they are in a bad place.

“They can be really big,” stated Rebecca Pentecost, DVM. “I had one that we took almost three and a half liters of fat out of it.”

Dr. Pentecost, a veterinarian at Animal Clinic Northview in North Ridgeville, Ohio, has performed the procedure on patients from several states and countries.

The procedure is a safer alternative to major surgery, which could leave senior dogs with a long recovery time and up to 30 stitches. Liposuction requires only a small incision and up to two days of recovery. The procedure can be done with less anesthesia as well. which is another benefit for older dogs.

The downside? Since the entire lipoma is not removed, there is a 23 % likelihood that the fat will come back. But it is worth the risk as the older a dog gets the less they tolerate lengthy operations.

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Should you be concerned about the Zika virus and your dog?

by Sue on June 2, 2016

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The Zika virus, transmitted through mosquitoes, has been in the news lately as a health concern for humans causing fever and joint pain and, of most concern for pregnant women, serious birth defects in infants.

Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Currently only humans and primates can contract the Zika virus. There is no evidence that dogs can contract the disease however the research has not been done.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported the following regarding animals and the virus:

  • At this time, animals do not appear to be involved in the spread of Zika virus.
  • There is no evidence that Zika virus is spread to people from contact with animals.
  • There have not been any reports of dogs, or any other pets becoming sick with Zika virus. However, more research is needed to better understand Zika virus in animals.
  • Animals in the United States are not at risk of becoming sick with Zika virus.

The most concerning disease transmitted to dogs by mosquitoes is heartworm disease, which can be prevented by giving monthly preventative medications.

Taking precautions to prevent mosquitoes near your kennel and home is a good idea. Mosquitoes need standing water to produce so look on your property for any place that holds water for long periods and eliminate these sources. Change the water in bird baths, wading pools, etc. at least once a week.

Keep pets indoors during peak mosquito hours, which are dawn and dusk. Reduce light at night since light tends to attract mosquitoes. Bug Zappers help keep the mosquito population down as well.

Have a safe and happy summer.

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Rare human disease found in dogs

by Sue on May 18, 2016

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A rare, severe form of pulmonary hypertension which, up until now, has only been classified as a human disease has also been discovered in dogs.

“Our research is the first to document the existence of pulmonary veno-occlusive disease, or PVOD, in dogs,” said Kurt Williams, the lead author of the study and an expert in respiratory pathology in MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “PVOD is considered one of the most severe forms of pulmonary hypertension.”

The number of pulmonary hypertension (or PH) cases reported in the United States is low, affecting under 50 people per million each year. PVOD is diagnosed in only about 10 percent of PH cases. Unfortunately, there are very few effective treatment options for PVOD and a lung transplant often becomes the best choice.

“PVOD might be more common in dogs than in people, but this has yet to be determined and needs to be looked at further,” Williams said.

Pulmonary hypertension develops because of abnormal blood vessels in the lungs. That makes it harder for the heart to push blood through and provide oxygen to the rest of the bod. In cases of PVOD, the small veins in the lungs become blocked increasing pressure in these blood vessels and ultimately causing heart failure.

“The same process happens in canines,” Williams said. “These dogs also come in with similar symptoms as humans, yet because subtle changes in health may not be recognized as quickly in dogs, death can occur quickly once the animal is seen by a veterinarian.”

Symptoms include coughing, increased rate of breathing, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and chronic fatigue. Progression of the disease in humans can last up to two years before death finally comes.

“PVOD is a poorly understood disease not just because it’s so rare, but also because there’ve been no other animals known to have the disease,” Williams said. “Our finding changes things.”

Williams said that the discovery could be very important for human medicine because the canine disease may serve as a model for human PVOD.

“Its cases like this that help to remind us how important veterinary medicine is to medicine in general,” he said. “Our colleagues in the human medical community are becoming much more aware of the many diseases shared by our respective patients and how together we can learn from each other.”

 

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