A little interaction…

by Sue on May 9, 2012

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Do not feel obligated to participate in this if you do not feel comfortable about doing so.

I am trying to keep this blog active but am running out of articles about Service Dogs. So I decided today to make it a little more interactive…

What type of breed of SD do you have?

What made you decide on that particular breed?

Was this originally your own personal dog that you trained (or it came by the task naturally) to be a service dog, or did you obtain it already trained?

If you live in housing with a no pets policy, was it difficult to obtain permission to allow you to have your SD?

Have you ever flown with your SD?

What airlines did you use and were they accommodating to you?


Sussie, Gunny, Rainy and Lucy

{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heidi 05.09.12 at 5:21 pm

Humphrey is still a puppy, a golden and yellow lab mix with a touch of something else. I adopted him 2 months ago. Trainer said it would take about a year. We are allowed pets, but I sent documentation of the medical need so they wouldn’t raise my rent. Have never flown.

2 sussie 05.10.12 at 3:24 pm

Sounds like a wonderful dog. Both are great breeds for Service Dogs.

3 Sarah 05.12.12 at 12:14 pm

I have a Catahoula Leopard Dog, I decided on the breed because I have had one before. They are NOT for everyone, that’s for sure. A very challenging breed.
She came by the task naturally, so I then refined her behaviors and taught her some other things.
Have never flown with her, but I hope to some time in the future. We have taken buses, and would like to try the train this summer.
She has been working for 2 years now.

Sarah and Clover

4 PD Williams 05.14.12 at 6:10 am

my servise dog is a sheperd/hound mix & came to me as a stray with a tendency to assiset & a real quick addatibilty so thats why I did a little exstra traing with him & got him certified. there was a little resistince in my seconed apt becuse it was no pets but knew they leagly could not refuse, but did cause issues with other tennets with wanting pets. we have never flown but have taken buses.

5 Debi 05.14.12 at 6:17 am

I currently have boxers…one of which we are going through SD training and he is doing a FABULOUS job!!!!

6 Ellen 05.14.12 at 6:18 am

I have a Great Pyrenees named Rose who will be two years old next month. Training is slow going due to the breed, but she wants to learn. I have RA and I am dropping things all the time. I am teaching her to pick up whatever I drop as it is very painful to bend at times; I am training her myself. I will be moving in to an apartment within the next few months and so far, have not had any trouble while talking to rental agents. I have the required documentation from my RA doctor & veterinarian. I have not flown with her, as of yet.

7 Kellie 05.14.12 at 6:33 am

I have a mini poodle that I saved from an untimely death at the pound. In return he first noticed seizures in a friend, barked when a clients ventilator malfunctioned, and now alerts me when I am going to faint from a heart condition. He is 4 years old and has been working for 2 years. The best animal I have ever owned. He is paying me back tenfold for saving him but in reality, I don’t know what I would do without this special little guy. He is one in a million.

8 Patricia Robinson 05.14.12 at 6:36 am

I have a small Bichon mix may be a Cottone or a Bichon Bolonese. She was a rescue. I use her for hearing assistance: predominantly location and direction. I trained her myself. She comes all over with me as we travel a lot. She is very quiet in public places and very gentle with others. There is more I could have her do for me in the house if I knew how to train more. I would love to have her help me find the telephone when I misplace it, for instance. I don’t know where I could find this assistance.
I have been on a plane with a SD sittin next to me on her owners lap. We talked about it. It was United Airways and the dog was allowed on for free. During the flight the stewardess remarked that the dog needed to be in her container under the seat and the owner alerted her that it was a service dog and she had the right to keep her on her lap. The dog had on a service dog vest. The Stewardess dropped the matter and walked on. No further problems.
I think redirecting questions like this would be helpful for motivating people to respond. Perhaps one question per week.

9 Lainie 05.14.12 at 6:39 am

During my recent trip to New England, I was confronted by US Airlines supervisor who adamantly advised me that my service dog papers were outdated as of midnight. My Yorkie, Mya, is a trained service dog and alerts me to sound and danger. She is also an emotional support dog as I have recently experienced the loss of my daughter, husband and home.
I do not know what I would do without her. She makes me feel safe and loved.
Does a service dog perscription expire within 1 year? I am wheelchair bound and she will also fetch things for me .
I was warned that I was placed on a list by all the airlines and could not fly until I had an updated letter from my doctor on his letterhead, not on a prescription pad.
In Florida I live in an over 55 association which prohibited me to have a wheelchair ramp and the dog. I had to go to Equal Opportunities to get them passed but know my neighbors yell at me and try to provoke my dog into barking and have called the police due to disturbing the peace. What happens to people when they ate at need and cannnot aquire the neccessities to live properly? What kind of elderly and ambitious people would want to take away the needs of the disabled?

10 Wanda 05.14.12 at 6:50 am

My service dog is a Chihuahua. She didn’t really need much training as she is a very mellow + well behaved wherever we go. I did have problems with my condo board, they aren’t dog friendly at all. I had to get an attorney involved + a note from my doctor stating I needed to have her. We have never flown together but hope to in the future!

11 regina 05.14.12 at 7:05 am

Guillermo is a pappilon-chihuahua. Very smart, keen and dotes on my mother, 86, and wheel chair bound. We’ve had him for 3 years! He has flown internationally with us. From the South Pacific to NYC. VERY well behaved on flights and knows he is on duty.

12 Harry 05.14.12 at 7:06 am


13 Carmen 05.14.12 at 7:16 am

I have a Brussells Griffon whom we obtained from a breeder who had to cull one of her show dogs. She was six months at the time and was my companion while I was off work waiting for a surgery for a brain tumor. She seemed very attuned to my situation and when I developed a chiari malformation herniation of my brain which caused me to pass out she began to be more attuned. We sought additional training from an animal behavioural specialist and she is now my medical alert helper. We flew for the first time last summer on Southwest airlines and they were wonderful. Sometimes I have difficulty getting people to accept thaqt a small dog can work. I just ask them if they think that short or little people shouldn’t have jobs either. It makes them think a little and the humor helps a tense situation. I find that most people appreciate the educating and those that don’t – well you just can’t fix stupid is what I say. Bailey will soon be ten and is showing signs of fatigue on our longer days out. I am saddened and don’t know what I will do about another service dog. She has gotten me through some bad times and just having her has seemed to lessen ny disability as stree and high blood pressure triggerr my condition.

14 Bruce 05.14.12 at 7:21 am

My 4 year old Golden, Ziva, has always been a very calm and focused dog unlike some of our other hyperactive Goldens. We have had a number of Goldens and we love how great they are with our kids and grandkids. The day we brought Ziva home at 11 weeks old we walked the perimeter of our property where we had installed an underground fence. She inspected the flags (she was not wearing the electronic collar) and the next time we let her out she promptly pulled up the flags and put them on the front steps. From that day she has never gone off of our property unless we tell her it’s OK. So much for needing the fence. She must have been on this Earth before as a well trained dog because she does things that would take intense training to teach.
When she has to go out to go to the bathroom she knows how to open the kitchen door. (Chilly in the winter…she hasn’t mastered the art of closing it tight when the wind is blowing). But her ability to alert to my respiratory condition surprised us all. While walking during my respiratory rehab with my doctor and his nurse, they noticed that Ziva would sit down in front of me and block me from continuing to walk until my oxygen level returned to a safer level. This doctor helps some of his patients acquire service dogs and he recognized exactly what she was doing. Somehow she can detect that my oxygen level is getting too low as much as two minutes before the monitor I carry.

We live in a rural area so housing isn’t a problem. Training has been a piece of cake. Since she will pee on command she will even pee on a toilet. (I’m can’t wait to tell a TSA agent that she uses the restroom). I had taken her most everywhere even before she had her service dog tags but now she is constantly by my side. She has flown once in a private plane and seemed to like it. She is also an absolutely awesome lifeguard when the kids are at the beach, not just our kids but any unattended children she thinks might be wading out too far.
We also have a 15 year old Golden, Baby, who is totally deaf and due to cataracts, 90% blind so Ziva has taken on the job of leading Baby back to the house when she wanders off.
The difficult part of this is, if I live to be 100 I will probably never find another dog like Ziva.

Hey Sussie, Gunny, Rainy and Lucy, great blog and website. Thanks for sharing so much information. It has made life even easier and more fun for us.
Your friends in Maine,
Bruce and Ziva

15 Joan Dale 05.14.12 at 7:38 am

Beauty is a chiuhua / Dacshound mix.and weighs about 7 l s. She alerts me to take my meds and also checks for nut products as I am allergic to nuts and nut products. She traces every where with me, she has been on Busses, trains, boats and planes including international flights. As long as all of the paperwork is in order there is usually no problem. Recently we flew to Ecuador via LAN and that was a little frustrating as we had to jump several hoops to get her on board such as waiting in customs while they contacted the airline to have some escort us to the boarding lounge and then the Captain of the plane wanted to see Beauty and all of her paper work before we could board. Once on board we have been told to crate her but I show her tags and state that she stays on my lap at all times. Beauty is very calm through all of this while I tend to get a little frustrated. Lol.

16 Patch 05.14.12 at 7:50 am

I have a short-haired border collie. She is a medic alert dog and wonderful.

17 Sue Hill 05.14.12 at 8:02 am

I use papillions as my service dog. My first servicedog was a King Charles Cavalier which I do not think this was a good choice but I loved Duncan as soon as I saw him and tried to make it work. Now that I have retired him and he just watches over the girls and everyone is happier. Papillons are so smart and loyal and small/light enough for me to carry even with my sever Rheumotoid Arthritis. So I can take her easily into any restaurant,museum,shop,or grocery store. Willow has been accepted (happily) everywhere. My newest Trina has just started going to doctor appointments with me and is great retreiver. She my end of weighing more than willow so my end up not be a permenant replacement for Willow whose back knees are rated 3 out of 4 so needs to be releaved of her service dutys in the near future.
I did all the training with Willow but with the next I plan to have retreival and other training done a little more serious I was younger and not so far along with my illness for Duncan and Willow but the next I would need assistance.
I own my own home so housing was not an issue also use dog doors and have a fenced 1.8 acres. Also use pads inside and when traveling for hotel rooms and homes that I am visting. Mostly use but USAIR have used others and since I can carry on the small dog easily have not had an issue. Many times people have been surprised to see that I had a dog as wee deplaned and comment that the dog was better than the kids on the plane. I just wish she could sit on my lap and sleep.
My only problem have been people(airline personnel mostly) who do not beleive that I really need the assistance and think it is a scam to get my dog on free. I try not to be rude but sometime I get tired of all the questions.

18 Christine-Ashly Mystry 05.14.12 at 8:43 am

I have a 5 lb long coat Chihuahua I got from a show breeder. He’s a retired Champion conformation dog and was ot considered a good pet or stud. So I got him and he right away learned some Service tricks from my own 12 yr old 2 lb Long Coat Chihuahua Service Dog I was soon to retire due to his going blind. I soon after ended up in the hospital with the diagnosis of COPD, DJ was with me during that time, already having his tags he needed. He watched the nurses and specialist take care of me, and learned what they were doing to make me better. Soo now, not ony does he help me with my deafness & blindness on my left side, he helps me with notifing me of an inmpending TIA, breathing problems and even wakes me if I stop breathing at night. The only things I personally taught him were how to sit and down, we are working on the stay still. I have had him for 2 yrs now, and he has gotten the nickname of S.A.D. (Smart A$$ Dog) since he learns so well. He even barks at me when I need to come out of the pool at the local YMCA and use my inhaler. He may not be the most freindly of dogs to strangers, but he is the most well mannered and quiet, unless when alerting me. By the way, we havee neve been on a pane, train or bus yet, but he does ride my modified motorcycle with me, wearing a helmet, goggles & jacket for protection against rocks and bugs. DJ is currently 7 yrs old, and still learning more each day. what a S.A.D. chihahua, who knew they could be so smart? I did, having owned Chi’s since 1994, when I had a life changing auto accident. Keep up the Blog, it’s a good thing!!!

19 elaine 05.14.12 at 8:45 am

i have a Belgian sheepdog- and have had him for 5 years- i trained him for two years myself with the help of a couple of dog trainers- i got him when he was two- he was trained in show dog manners already- he got too big for show. i decided a wanted a larger breed dog and saw this breed on an old movie. we have flown many times and never had any trouble- he fits in my foot space on the aircraft. we have traveled on trains and buses too.
you do have to get a letter now and it only lasts a year to the day- i use destry for a psych dog- he alerts and responds to my anxiety attacks- he has been known to alert to others anxiety attacks too- he also helps me with balance
i love your tags and have been a repeat customer

20 Cory Wollner 05.14.12 at 8:54 am

Cory Wollner
Merlyn is the name of the purebred rescue border collie that I am presently training to be a therapy dog so I can take him into nursing homes like I did my shetland sheep dogs. He has also acted as an emotional support dog for me. We have flown twice (with the help of a dog sedative that I got from my vet.)

21 Connie 05.14.12 at 9:00 am

I have a small (10 lb Pomeranian dog). I have had 9 heart attacks and have a heart passer/defibrillator. Teddy Bear trained himself…in the be gaining we were shocked when he would whine & let my husband know ahead of time right before it would go off (when it does it zaps me 3 times, each time a little harder). Teddy Bear can hear the high pitch sound ahead of time before it goes off.

Teddy Bear is naturally a very quiet, calm…. extremely obedient dog. So when he reacts to the heart passer/defibrillator you know it. He is registered at 3 hospitals in our city.

Several stores that we go to announce “Teddy Bear is in the store when we arrive”!!! They just love him!! I always carry his Service Dog identification card in the open…plus he wears his vest.

He would do great a flying, I just don’t like to fly myself!

22 Pamela Clark 05.14.12 at 9:20 am

Shasta is a 4 1/2 year old 42 pound Australian Shepherd who has been the best service dog in the world for my PTSD and OCD. I had her professionally trained to get her Good Citizen K-9 certification. From there my training and her natural ability completed her training. She is totally attentative to me and disrupts nervousness or anxiety attacks she observes coming on by placing her front paws on my lap and licking my face continually until she calms me down. She loves to run with my husband when I am at home and she is not working. Otherwise, she goes everywhere with me. At restaurants she knows to go under the table and does’t make a sound. She sleeps at my feet on cross-country flights between Washington State and South Florida. She has flown on many 7-9 hour flights and slept the entire time. American Airlines requires a letter every year from my therapist, but are very accommodating. We have started flying first class in order to give her more room to stretch out on the long flights. She is one of the smartest and most sensitive dogs I have ever known. Next to my husband she is my most trusted companion and best friend. I don’t know what I will when she gets too old to work any longer. I can’t imagine any other SD ever measuring up.

23 Jerry 05.14.12 at 9:42 am

Peanut (my current service dog) is a Deer Head Chihuahua. He weighs just under 5 lbs. Before Peanut we had Peewee (had a stroke and is now retired and is currently sitting next to me) he is a Chihuahua but has allergies and weighs over 20 lbs. I carried him every where. I chose Peanut partially because of his weight and partially because of his dedication.

Peanut learned quite a bit from Peewee. In the end we had to have some professional training by the same lady that trained Peewee. I do not trust myself to train a dog for someone else. There is so much at risk, and I simply am not certain of my ability to train a dog from beginning to end with that much at risk. If I were better at it I would be happy to train dogs for many people, but I simply do not have enough skills in that area.

My wife will no longer fly with the new rules for checking in. I have flown once with Peanut and honestly had very little problem. I do have several orange vests marked with service dog patches and most importantly I have the photo ID that peanut wears when we go out.

In short Peanut is my third service dog and while I hope to live a while longer it will be ok with me if Peanut lives a long life and is my last dog. I cannot imagine losing him or taking to a new dog.

Take care,

24 Allice Allen 05.14.12 at 9:47 am

Hi my SD is a terrier mix, she became mine after my mother died in 2005. although l started caring for thwm both in 2001. During my Mother’s life she died in 2005, Little Girl was a rescue and was her lap dog and knew nothing. After mom’s death I started training her to go in public she knew nothing and was afraid of everything. She learned quickly and was great fun. No formal training, I became sick a couple of years before i couldn’t work we noticed that she would get my attention before attacks/disassociations and it grow from there. Now she is old and has Congestive Heart Failure and not able to keep up. And i need help, she is the only dog and everytime i have tried a new dog she bites them. So what do I do? i need her and i am not sure if i can now train another. Also i don’t have the extra money to buy a dog or pay to have it trained so what do I do? Please write about where, how do you get a new dog, the best type for apartment living. Bell training for going out to do there business. Where can we get help with free or cheap training? Do people donate rescued and trained SD’s? WHERE in the US this would be very helpful. Thanks Allice

25 Susan 05.14.12 at 10:00 am

Hey Susie: Great idea. My service dog is a chihuahua that was givven to me as a gift. About three days after I got him he started to be in my face. I was feeling strange so took my blood sugar reading and I was having a low. He would do this every time I was having one and even picked up on my mother when she would have one. He, also, started picking up on a couple of servere allergic reactions I would have to some perfumes and chemicals even before I could feel the effects they have on me. With encouragement he has developed into quite the helpmate. We live on a long haul truck , so have had no trouble with housing and we have not flown since I have gotten him, but a couple of times when we stayed in motels, the clerks had trouble believing he was a service dog until I showed his tags I got from you.

26 Sharito 05.14.12 at 10:18 am

Sussie, I love your site. I think I have answered all those questions at one time or another but will do it again to support your site! Damien is a 5 1/2 y/o French Mastiff. I got him from a rescue. 2 years ago. I chose him because of his size, 106 lbs. His primary use is mobility but he does medical allert for hypoglycemia and arrithmias of my heart and PTSD. The VA paid a trainer to actually train me to train my dog. H passed his Canine Good Citizen and Public Acess test in 70 hours. He is very smart and will do anything to help his Mom! We fly 6-12 times a year, we take the bus everyday, we took the train twice, we haven’t tried a cruise yet but it is on our list. I only had trouble once getting out Mexico with him. I was accused of trying to take a Mexican dog out of Mexico. In hind site it was commical but when it happened I was terrifidd. The Continental represenative had to explain that they had all the documentation of me bringing him into the country including a photograph of our team ID! I think the guy just wanted my dog! As far as housing I just show our ID and they can’t deny housing. One guy did say to me “Every day I wake up, I’m going to wonder if this is the day you are going to ruin my life” I chose NOT to live their with that kind of negative vibe in our face every day. Keep up the good work girl! Sharito

27 Hugh Samuels 05.14.12 at 10:21 am

yussel is a 4 year old boston terrier that i rescued from a pet shop as a puppy. he is so cute and lovable that we took him to nursing and retirement homes to help cheer up the patients. later, i developed bppv (benign proximinal positional vertigo) and found that yussel provided a third orientation to the ground so i wouldn’t lose my balance. i brought in a trainer to help work with us and when my neurologist saw what yussel was able to do, he offered me a prescription…. for either a walker, or a leash! well, it didn’t take long for me to make the choice.

also, do to being a borderline diabetic, on his own, yussel has learned to let me know when my blood sugar is too low by barking (the only time he barks), even if around other barking dogs.

yussel has been to movies, plays, opera, and all restaurants. he’s also been to two weddings (one by specific invitation), and, two funerals.
only problem i have with him (?) is that he loves people and children so much that he wants to love them up if they try to give him any attention.

only two restaurants have given us any problem and one after showing his tags, and, explaining what a service dog is (owner thought only a seeing eye dog was a service dog) now allows service dogs into his restaurant! the other, we haven’t been back. but, yussel is well known all over town at restaurants and loved by all!

28 Judy Neese 05.14.12 at 10:21 am

I got my Bichon Frise from a breeder at 10 wks. When she was 14 mos old, she was certified as a pet therapy dog. About that same time she started alerting to my asthma when I needed to go to ER and to my severe migraines which come on with no warning and I cannot see at those times. When she was 5 years old I started having difficulty driving. Because of the driving risk, I was told by my doctor that I could not drive. When I told him about my dog, alerting to my migraines about 20 min. before I lose vision, he told me to do whatever I needed to do to use her as my SD. I contacted a woman in town who trains service animals. Because of her socialization already has a pet therapy dog, I was told she was good to go once she put her through her paces to see how she behaved. I couldn’t ask for a better dog as she is so focused on me. A few days ago I went to a local satellite library and there was a 6 mo old German shepherd SD in training. The dog in training wanted to play and started barking and acting up. My Bichon stayed calm as I knew she would and ignored the other dog. I was told that she would be a good dog to use to help other SD in training get over their distraction problems around other dogs. I trained her myself but she is a very quick learner. We continue to work on more skills as I have mobility issues which she helps me pick up items I drop. Eventually, I will probably have to get a mobility dog but I don’t plan on doing that until I have to retire her. She is now 8 years old and don’t know how many more years she will be able to function as my SD. How do I know when it is time to retire her?

29 Sharito 05.14.12 at 10:38 am

Damien has a red tag in the shape of a stop sign with a medical caduces and Medical Alert on the front. On the back it states “specially trained service dog. Do not separate from handler.” It is on his collar. I would love to be able to replace it as it is getting unreadable. Even though the law states our word is enough to establish the dogs authenticity……in reality having visable, tangible “proof” goes a long way to smooth the way to acess. At minimum he always has his tag, and leather mobility harness on. We also carry a removable back pack with ALL his documentation tags and ID in a see through pocket. I also carry our team ID and my bus disability card arround my neck when we are out in public. Even then there is always someone who will stop you and ask, I really try to be polite…..I show them the ID, and point to the BIG SIGN ON HIS BACK THAT SAYS “SERVICE DOG” , then I just walk away. When in Mexico I always also wear sunglasses as they only allow “seeing eye” dogs entrance and even then not in restaurants. Thats why I built my own restaurant! I allow all dogs if they are under control. We get allot of business from the locals. We even had to build a pen to hold the sheep while the hearders and their dogs come to eat lunch! Love your site girl, keep up the good work! Sharito

30 Susan 05.14.12 at 11:00 am

Megan our toy Australian Shepard is my moms alert dog or my alert dog. When my mom falls in the middle of the night, or just anytime that she falls, Megan will carry on barking, screaming and running around until she gets someones attention. I am now in the process of training her to get a phone that I have put in reach for her, to take to my mom. I’m not sure why Megan does this, we are finding out that she will carry on when anybody falls. She is smart enough to know when the fall is real and when it is interacted, so I’m not 100 % sure how to keep going on further training. Just praise praise and more praise.

31 Sande Francis 05.14.12 at 11:05 am

I have had 3 pit bull medic alert dogs now. Cherry came by the ability to let me know when my blood sugars were low all by herself. I was pretty surprised cuz I didn’t know dogs could even do that. Cherry was never an “official” service dog, but she helped me out her entire life. She passed in 2008 at age 15, and then I got Precious. Precious was 10 at the time, so I knew she had only a few years left, but she took over right where Cherry left off. I guess that just about any dog can detect low blood sugars, it’s just a matter of teaching them to mark it. Precious died in Feb 2012, at age 13. Now I have Babs, another rescued pit bull, who is learning how to behave in public and to mark my hypoglycemic episodes. Babs is a lot more energetic than either Cherry or Precious, so she’s a bit more difficult for me to manage in public. She’s very smart, tho, so I think that soon we will be able to do just about anything together. It’s great being out with a pit bull as service dog – we always get lots of comments and questions. I love to talk about pit bulls and how they have gotten a bad rap. I like to think that we have made some people aware of what great dogs pit bulls are.

32 Bob Ralston 05.14.12 at 11:33 am

I had 4 Cocker Spaniels in my past and didn’t have a dog for 23 years because I couldn’t face the intense grief of losing them. In the meantime, my wife had several cats. One wonderful one named Casimere finally captured my heart in the last year of his 20.

Shortly after the last cat departed, my daughter phoned and said she saw a beautiful Cocker who had been in a rescue situation. She said she will get him for me or if I refused, would add him to her household. But would I, at least, meet him for a weekend?

It was love at first sight. A very confused red colored, large Cocker became part of the family. He came with the name Dickens and his papers said he was one and a half years old. He seems large for an American Cocker so I think he may be an English one. He appears to be pure-bred.

It took about a month for him to realize he was home. Then I saw signs of previous training. Especially as a hearing SD. Just what I now need at age 85! My computer is in a back room and I miss some sounds such as the doorbell or telephone. He started coming to me and placing his paws on my lap.

I took up his training using the clicker method. Now he doubles as a great SD and an alarm system. I have programmed our phone system to have a different ring tone for those on my phone list than that for strangers. His telephone alert sound is to howl (he figured this out himself). One distinctive howl for friend calling; another for stranger.

I could go on about his wonders. He loves car trips; never flown. No problems with hotels, restaurants, even stage plays and other public gatherings. His medium size (32 pounds) is ideal. Not too big or too small (nothing against small dogs – I just prefer what I consider more rugged). He responds to two walking commands.

If we are out on “his walk” he has the freedom to smell and check out to his heart’s content. My command “heel” puts him in service. And to think he was one day from being euthanized before the rescue people took him!

After having him for 4 years, my previous cat person wife now bemoans the years she wasted not having a dog.

33 Kathy Bright 05.14.12 at 11:36 am

Currently, I am without a public accessible Service Dog, but I do have a retired 200lb. Great Dane, Duke, who I purchased from a Show breeder after my first SD, which was a White Shep/Lab Mix was diagnosed with Hip Dyplasia, his name was Wolfstone.
I decided to get Duke, a great dane because at the time, I was 320lbs, and for mobility/balance I needed a more stable, stronger built breed. I love Great Danes for mobility balance training, but a downfall of the breed is that they are hard to train to retrieve unlike labs, goldens or shepherds.
Duke is great to lift me up off the floor if I fall still, but my needs have changed allot. I am now down to 160lbs, and I do not fall as much. I am in need now more of a dog that carries things, pick up items, and opening doors. So my prospects would be more along the lines of a GSD, Golden, Lab or mixes there of. But I am searching for an already trained SD this time due to my health issues. I have been training for 12 years now, but my stamina and endurance has depleted over the last year and I now need help training my SD.
I just need to find a program that will allow me to have an SD with other dogs in the home. If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to contact me via my email address please. Thanks Susie for your blog here, you are doing an awesome job!
Kat Bright

34 Ralph Clayton 05.14.12 at 11:41 am

As a family we wanted a small lap dog. In Albuquerque there is an outlet style store for the City Pound. It is a beautiful location in a major shopping mall, but at a corner where there is room to walk the animals and interact without a lot of distractions. While walking through one day we all saw and instantly fell in love with Godiva. She is a dark brown Chihuahua, and was instantly comfortable with the whole family. I have a seizure disorder involving fluorescent lighting. I had been taking Godiva with me to places allowing pets and noticed she was trying to get my attention when I would start feeling bad. It took myself, and my daughters to realize what she was trying to communicate to me. She can recognize when I’ve been exposed to the lighting to long and am about to drop. She gives me a 5 to 10 minute window. She has with training learned to orientate herself so that she always knows which direction is the exit, and if I change course on my way out, she will let me know. She has acclimated to being in high traffic areas without losing sight of her job with me. Her demeanor is very friendly, yet cautious that I’m okay, even when others are around. She also understads my PTSD and will sit on my lap or lay on my chest, forcing me to pet her to calm down. This little girl came by most of this on her own. Very little extra training was required. She has even been helpful in training a King Charles Cavalier to recognize anxiety. The King Charles has the perfect disposition for anxiety as she is very outgoing, loves to be petted, and has a cute, irresistible face. Toffee, the King Charles, was a rescue from the pound as well. Both dogs are doing well in their service dog roles. I cannot imagine life without them. This only proves that a good dog can be found anywhere. All they need is love, and they can do things we would never dream possible.

35 LM 05.14.12 at 12:12 pm

I have a Japanese Chin. They are very people oriented. She can read people’s minds. She came trained.
I had a lot of trouble with United Airlines. A stewardess belittled me and took out her frustrations with a first class passenger on me. She was rude and demanding. She wanted to see ALL the paperwork on my 12 pound chin especially the letter from the doctor. She stormed off to the pilot with it. She returned very quiet and handed me back the documents and did not bother me again, but in the beginning she was LOUD and rude to humiliate me. As I was exiting the plane we accidentally got between her and a disembarked 1st class passenger who loudly stated he was going to report her. I thought they were going to come to blows and we were exactly in the middle trying to get off. I will NEVER fly UNited again! American on the other hand was very friendly.

36 Michele Gebhardt CVT 05.14.12 at 12:19 pm

My service dog is a German Shepherd/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. I adopted him about 4 years ago as a 6 month old pup. He was a special needs dog due to a shattered rear leg that was pinned in 13 places. Now at age 4 there is no evidence of his injury. Being a Certified Veterinary Technician, I was able to train him myself to my specific needs. He is a seizure alert dog, which came naturally to him when I had a seizure in his presence. I also have Rhuematoid Arthritis and use him as a mobility dog as well. He has learned well in his 4 short years because I’ve been his sole trainer, he is really specific to my needs. We are two misfits that found each other with a trip to the local shelter. Our love knows no bounds and I am so lucky to have him. He has been a God send to me. Having been a CVT for almost 20 years I’ve seen and worked with many SDs. Having this blog is a great place to share stories. Thanks for the opportunity. Michele Gebhardt CVT

37 Jodi Rushlow 05.14.12 at 12:25 pm

I have a 5-7 lb Pomeranian as a service dog. She is very quiet when we are in a restaurant, or in a store. She is really great. As far as where you can get a service dog, there is an organisation that takes in dogs that have been trained as service dogs, gives them time to grieve over the owners that have passes and matches them up with people who need them. I don’t know the name of this organisation, but I’m sure you could find it out.
TsumTsum was born to dogs I had at the time, I’ve trained her to what I need and she picks it right up. I’ve never had to fly with her, but she has been on the bus from coast to coast, twice. She rides in a small, chest holder.
Keep up the good work!

38 ESTE 05.14.12 at 12:34 pm

I have a chihuahua. She was given to me two years ago when I moved back to my home town after being away to my families because I had a stroke. I was in a lot of anxiety; when I got Cha-cha she was about 2 months old; the vet had said she was not going to make it; she was so tiny she looked like a little rat. At first I just baby sat for her for my neighbor who has another dog and is hardly ever home so she had asked me to look after them. Cha-cha was adorable and very tiny; I brought her home with me to look after her. She would just stay in her baby bed under the blankets, I had to get her out to feed her. Then one night I prayed for her because she was under that death sentence and I had fallen in love with her. That same night she got out of her little bed and came over to my bed and whined like a question mark! ? I got up and held her for the rest of the night. The next day when my neighbor came to get her I cried. A few days latter my neighbor told me she could not handle the 2 dogs any more; if I would like to have Cha-cha! If I would like to have Cha-cha????????? Are you kidding me????????? I WENT AND GOT HER! !!!!!!!!!!!!
After that I was able to get of my anxiety medicine; my doctor could not believe it! She said YOU HAVE A SERVICE DOG! And actually prescribed her to me! I had no idea a dog could do this for me; I thought only blind people could have service dogs. Needless to say; she has changed my life! She goes with me everywhere; even to church! I investigated on training and then I found out in many things she already has the instinct to know all about me; she knows when I am hurting, she detects if I have any change in my temperature. Since my stroke, my left side is always colder than my right; she chooses to be by my left side ALWAYS! In bed, in the couch, even when we go out. I could go on and on with stories about her. I am so grateful for the wonderful laws we have protecting our rights as SD owners. Talking about airlines; I have had terrific luck with Southwest Airlines. I never have to pay for Cha-cha. She does have to go under the seat in her bag, but she is with me!

39 annie 05.14.12 at 1:21 pm

My dog Levi, is an English lab originally a rescue from Lied. I wanted a biggish dog and was looking for German Shepard, Australian Shepard, Labrador, border collie because I felt that those breeds would be easier to train. I checked out the available dogs on the shelter websites then I would call the shelters and ask them if those specific dogs seem to know any commands.
I enrolled him into regular obedience classes, then service dog classes. I am still training him. He is my dog and I am training him to help me.
I have flown once to California with him on Southwest. No real problems but at security they asked me to take off his collar and leash so he walked through xray “naked”. Made me a little nervous. Then afterwards (after I complained) they said that taking off his collar was optional and I didn’t have to do it.
We are taking a five 1/2 hour flight in July and I’m nervous about it. I’m going to talk to the vet about how long he can go without water.

40 Marguerite Andreu 05.14.12 at 2:08 pm

I have a Havanese for my Service Dog, He Provides medical alerts and Support for anxiety. His name is Paco . Yes I did have trouble with my condo Assoc (Does not allow Dogs) I submitted lots of paper work and Dr.’s prescription and letters from my Training School. At the time was a humiliating experience. But got approval. Paco and I have flown US Air direct Flight and United Airline. Just show papers and wear his vest.

41 Candy True 05.14.12 at 2:27 pm

I have a mini Austrailian Shepherd – Ozzy. He is a PTSD service dog. He also brings medicine, remind me to go to sleep at night and alerts to panic attacks.

I have always flown Delta without a problem but next month will be flying from SC to Seattle on United. Any advice on flying United?

42 Marsha 05.14.12 at 8:25 pm

I have 2 pit bulls… They are truely wonderful dogs…I have an electrolyte imbalance and severe cough variant asthma….
When they were pups my potassium dropped to a critical level … They jumped on me and kept pushing me until I took my potassium… They have done this several times when my potassium dropped low… They also have seen me have a couple of bad asthma attacks and learned to associate cigarettes and smoke with my asthma…. Whenever someone comes near me that smells like cigarettes or is smoking they start barking and growling at the person until they leave…
My apartment was trying to get rid of pit bulls but because I have let them know that they are service dogs in training and showed their Ida they are allowed to stay…… They are still training and it is expensive for me but they are tax deductible so it will work out for me… Even so it doesn’t matter cause they save my life anyways… So they are well worth it!!!!

43 Melinda 05.14.12 at 9:32 pm

My service dog is an Alaskan Malamute. Glacier is just over 2 yrs old and I have had him for almost a year. When I was looking at getting another Mal I knew I was also train him to be my service dog. I can walk for very short distances but have very bad balance when I do. All other times I use a wheelchair. Mal’s are extreemely close to a wolf and they are extremely smart. He picked up what I needed from day 1. I do let him go to a doggy day care for a few days a week so he will stay stronge but other than that he is with me 24/7. I am also a Social Worker for a DV shelter and he has become the shelters therapy dog of sort. Everyone there loves him and he loves the attention. Normally I don’t let people touch him but at the shelter they all can, the smiles he brings to them is priceless.

44 Nellie 05.15.12 at 3:11 am

From: 4 the LOVE of German Shepherds Rescue: *THIS IS UTTERLY SHOCKING TO ME” She is a trained serviced dog and guide dog for a blind person in Jackson, Ms. Tessie is to be retired but she is only 7 1/2 years old. The service dog agency that provided Tessie will not take her back and they have told the person that has Tessie to find her a new home or have her euthanized!!!! Wow!!! can you imagine this? If you have ANY CONTACTS in Jackson MS. PLEASE help save this girl! ???
Tessie, is a purebred German Shepherd Dog, guide dog for a blind person. She needs a new home.

45 Kathi 05.15.12 at 7:48 am

I have and Albino she is Papillon mix, she was my personal dog. I have a degenerate neurological condition and she can tell when my legs are going to collapse and I am going to fall. She will sit down and bark once. It is rather amazing.

46 Nikki 05.15.12 at 9:04 am

I have a 12 year old Portuguese Water dog that is my service dog. I’ve never flown with him—my issue I don’t like to fly. He is my second dog, his mother was my first dog who was put down last year. I’d not intended to have this dog be my service dog as he started life as a show dog and the plan was to show and breed him. The decision was made to neuter him at 5 because his hips were rated fair. He is very protective of me. I have a service dog because I was the victim of a violent crime and he helps me with anxiety attacks. I don’t do well with meds. I teach part time on a contract basis and he is quite popular in the classroom and I also am self employed as a long term care specialist. He comes to the office with me. I’ve had some difficulty with people in the elevators and it surprises me to have people actually scream and jump back. He is not an intimidating dog, he looks like a big teddy bear. I have had difficulty since selling my home in 2003 and living in apartments. The problem comes from ignorance on the part of property managers. I have had some issues in the current apartment which is why I’m moving, there are tons of children and they have not been instructed to not run up and grab an animal they don’t know. I’ve had him kicked, his tail pulled, ears pulled etc. I’ve had to learn enough Spanish to tell them to not touch my dog. He is such an angel, he has never responded to any of the abuse. The property manager has refused to act on behalf of protecting me and my dog. I filed a complaint with the police department and was told that nothing could be done as the children were under the age of 12. He is always on a leash right next to me and I feel as if these attacks on my dog are like attacking me. Because my dog is older, I feel he should be treated extra special. Has anyone else had problems with stranger’s children? How do you handle it?

47 Webe Webowitz 05.15.12 at 2:13 pm

My service dog is a lab mix mutt that was “thrown away” in the desert. I found and resecued him. I am an avid hiker and was happy to have company. There were times he would get weird and sit..refusing to go on. I’d take a break and thought I was coaxing him with a snack and after a few months I began to wonder about him.
I became sick and long story short, discovered my diabetis. After further testing and investigation, DRs, vet and we determined Spike was scenting on my blood sugar and sensed my need to eat and take quick rest.
Spike has been tagged and badged, traveled with me into Mexico and flown several times on Delta airlines with no problems.

48 Jewl 05.15.12 at 2:51 pm

My first SD was a Black Lab and my SD now is a Blond German Sheppard.

I love labs and the second was picked for me. Mine we both trained for me.

Since marrying my husband 13 years ago our the first and third apartment was hard but once I showed the laws they gave up. All others were fine.

I have flowed many of times with both my dogs. I have flown delta man y of times. I had trouble 6 out of 10 times. The ticket clerks always gave us trouble. A couple of times the flight crew needed a nice attitude adjustment. I had wonderful times on southwest always.
Very accommodating even giving us an upgrade to first class when they could and always gave us bulk seating. Honestly the passengers were the worst. I had one guy give a fit because he should not be made to sit next to a filthy dog. He was freshly bathed. the dog that is.

I tell kids that they have to ask first before petting a dog and to make sure they put their fist out and let the dog smell them or they may get bit by the wrong dog. I always do this in front of the parents when I can and try to drive the point home. (Hint Hint you should be watching your child)

49 James 05.15.12 at 3:44 pm

Jake the Dog:
Having handled and trained dogs for over twenty years and specifically Service Dog for 4… I am totally convinced… that there are those special animals who are born to service. It is a bit hard to explain but when you see it you can’t miss it.

Jake passed this last December… Jake was 15 y.o. Jake had been of service to the Disabled community for 7.5 of his 15 years.
Jake was a Flat Coated Retriever and he loved his people as much as he loved his work. He sat next to me every morning, waiting for me to wake up and every time we would get ready to work he would light up like a kid with candy. He never complained or showed a disagreeable attitude about anything… in good weather and bad weather he was always there for me.
Currently I am working with a new dog, “Serenity” a Female/Shepard Mix. Even though she is completely different from Jake she is a really great dog with special skills and will make a great Service Dog, when she is ready.

50 LynBeurrier 05.15.12 at 5:25 pm

I have a naked Chinese Crested, she is 3 years old. She came in to the shelter where I work. I have severe panic/anxiety with little or no warning. I also suffer from PTSD. Shasta alerted when she came into my office and would not quit yipping at me until I picked her up. She nuzzled her muzzle into my neck and if to say “It will be okay,” I realized I was at the beginning of a panic attack but her attention helped me focus and stop the panic. She and I have flown on US Air with no problems. I have had problems with one grocery store assist manager, but the corporate office let her go because of a series of complaints.

51 Linda 05.15.12 at 8:06 pm

I had a malamute that I discovered could keep me from falling during regular doggy class. Worked on SD training with him and he worked about 14 months. Due to being attacked by other dogs he got really skittish. People just won’t let him work without approaching him, even reaching for him as I try to shop etc (he vest and neck scarf both say do not pet). It just freaks him out now. I had to retire him (we are trying some retraining and it is helping him, but not hopeful to work again).

I had a retired theapy dog that is a sheltie, and I put him to work. Doubted he would be big enough to keep me from falling, but he has been. In the last 3 months he has really figured out the job and is doing wonderful! He is so smart. I started to fall in stairs and he threw himself on his belly to keep us from falling! What a great dog.

He is 7.5 and has some other health issues, but is acting much younger after going back to work than he had been during “retirment”. I plan to work him about 1-1.5 more years and then start the training of another dog (a 2 year process from puppyhood). At that point he will be able to retire a second time and will be over 10 years old.

I am looking at a collie. A bit bigger but simular personalites to my sheltie.

No we have not flown, but probably will one of these days.

52 Linda 05.15.12 at 8:19 pm

Mentioned earlier in the post was the request for seeing “papers”. We went into a restarant in a different town a few weeks ago and while hubby was paying I went to get our table (seat yourself). I had my sheltie SD and a manager started to comment about the “dog”. My hubby said he was a serivce dog and the reply was I have to see the proof. My hubby is pretty quick with replies and said: You know that is not legal to ask, don’t you?”. That was the end of it.

53 wendy 05.15.12 at 9:07 pm

my sd name is spirit. sheis a akita cattle dog mix. she has flown from ca to colo twice for disabled veterans winter clinic and once to pittsburg pa for vet wheelchair games. i rescued her as a puppy bout eight weeks from desert. at a year old sd trainer temperment tested her and worked with kathy higgins sd trainer. she is my ptsd. and mobility companion sd. without her i wouldnt be as active as i am. she loves swim. snow. n outdoors. when i go va for appts everyone knows her. i visit with her . i love her n she loves to go as soon as rattle vest. she truly is my sd partner. my trnr kathy n i have grown best friends thru trng. i thank her as does spirit.

54 diana russell 05.16.12 at 12:24 am

i have a 2 yr old Pit Bull named Samantha that is my service dog. She alerts me just before i get ready to go into an anxiety attack. I suffer from Tourette Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder with severe anxiety and depression. She just knows when i’m getting ready to have an attack and will start to nudge me and stay very very close to me when i’m getting ready to have an attack. i can then take my medication or sometimes i can get rid of the anxiety just by petting and holding her. She does go everywhere with me because i really have a hard time in public die to my tourettes.
I have always loved the pit bull breed so when i lost my first service dog to cancer i decided to go looking for another dog. While looking i decided to register my boyfriends dog who is a 5 yr old pug as my service dog. He too seemed to know exactly when i was going to go have an anxiety attack, his signal to me is that he will sit right next to me and uncurl his tail. So yes i do have two service dogs. I needed Elvis(the pug) to help me while looking for my new dog. The beauty is i am never without the assistance of one of my service dogs. They truly are my saving grace.

55 Lydia Mancini 05.16.12 at 2:25 am

I have three most wonderful Standard poodles

Evan is the one I use the most I have trained all three as I have balance issue and of need of total knees bad all my boys help on this matter I take them everywhere and have never had a problem
I have all teh ID and also a letter from my doctor
My boys are so well behaved that Ihave never had a issue. I also do agility but because of my knees I have to cut that back it is too painful
Standard poodles are very smart and loving they want to please and love going all the differnt places that I do

I have never flown with them as I hate flying myself so I really don’t do it but I’m sure that they would be fine


56 Mariska 05.16.12 at 10:50 am

I have a purebred German Shepherd. I got him because I have loved the breed since I was in grammar school, and I also needed a large dog that was trainable and smart. As he pretty much learned on-the-job and did not need a rigorous training program (mobility/balance assistance), I did the training myself. But I also joined a training club and got help from a professional trainer. People say he must be a or a responsibility I can do without. Just the opposite! I needed to have something in my life that got me out into the world and I have made friends I would not have met without him. Even if your service dog is not a psychiatric service dog, I bet his or her presence in your life is comforting and supportive of your emotional health – like my dog is for me.
I have never flown with him but it is possible I might go overseas.

57 Mary 05.16.12 at 11:37 am

I have a lab mix, Belle. I trained her myself with the help of good dog trainers in my community. She helps me with virtigo, anda sense of space around me. I look like I am a drunk or on drugs when I am walking. She has been a wonderful assistance to me. I have traveled all over the country visiting our kids and grandkids. The airlines have been wonderful, Delta and Southwest the easiest. She has ridden in a bus, train, and one of the DUCK car/boat things. She loves to travel. I teach school so she comes to school with me. It has beena great educational opportunity for our students ( and the school district).
Thank you so much for your blog. It has really givem me confidience to go out and about.

58 Nashi 05.16.12 at 6:23 pm

I have a great pyrenees. He was originally trained for seizure response (he now also does diabetic alert). His breed is part of the Livestock Guarding Dog group which are large enough to catch/drag/position a person/block without being injured by the person falling and strong/stubborn enough to prevent sleep walking/walking into traffic. This group also is protective without being aggressive (if trained early on, if not just really protective). This breed, in particular, used to pull carts so a day pack is not too much for them to carry.

I think its kinda funny since the above breeds are considered very difficult to train…but with what I have, I need a dog that can act on its own when I can’t so I believe that this group are a perfect fit for those who need a seizure response dog. Great pyrenees were bred to watch sheep without the shepherd being present so they do what they want to do (hence not so easy to train), but what they want to do is perfect for those of us who occaisionally need someone to care for us like we’re sheep :)

He was a breed rescue that I was socializing for the possibility of being a seizure alert dog for someone with epilepsy, and then given to a private dog trainer for this specific training. The family that received him (had him for 18 months) no longer needed him, and I developed a neurological condition during this time so they kindly gave me the furry guy that I had rescued. I’ve continued his training using the Top Dog publications/DVDs.

Live in my home.

Haven’t flown yet, but when I do I will use Delta as they seem to have been the most accomodating for people that I know who have physical disabilities.

I think this was a good idea. I really enjoyed reading about other peoples’ pups.

59 d wright downs 05.17.12 at 4:53 pm

My guy is Eroll, from the Slovak Republic. My girl, Jullie died and I can not drive w/o assistance…I am an Army veteran of 2 tours of the Cold War assigned to units that attracted terrorists and during the time of Terrorist activity. We had armed guards on school buses at different times of the year…Manythings went on that were not broadcast to the people in CONUS because we had this thing called SECURITY. I have PTSD and a head injury. I have a GSD because I love them. They have traveled with me when I was in the military and they are just part of my life. Julie knew I had a problem prior to my diagnosis of PTSD. My guy picked right up on it. He is high drive but I love him. I needed a dog in a hurry and he was available. He is small but at my age, a bit small is ok. I can not inagine another dog. I have had assistance from Kevin Behan, an expert in Natural training. I never had a high drive dog before and Kevin has taught me a lot about high drive vs chilled out but ready on the spot. Of course, being a veteran, I have purchased my dogs. I have a letter from my therapist regarding my need for my dog. My comfort zone of drivinf is 30 miles or so.

60 Diane 05.18.12 at 1:37 pm

Murphy is a German Shepherd–our third one. Because of their loyalty, intelligence and protective nature, it is the only breed of Service Dog we will ever get. I trained him myself using Leerburg.com training DVD’s among others. Murphy has flown with us 8 times and Delta has been extremely good to us all but once. They made up for it on the next trip by putting us up in First Class both to and from our destination–no added charges. He is well behaved on the plane and gets a ton of attention from the crew.

61 Al 05.18.12 at 5:43 pm

Sammy is a full standard poodle. He started black but is turning silver. He was 4 this past January and is a “hearing” service dog. He was donated to me through My Service Dog, Inc. I am not sure if pictures are allowed but if so, let me know where and I will post one.


62 Sarah 05.19.12 at 5:54 pm

My son’s SD is a black lab. Riley is a calm “British type”. Very easily trained. She rides the trains in Chicago and has flown on Delta 3 times.
No problems at all. People have mostly been respectful. One trick we learned from the TSA – Bring a nylon leash with no metal on it and put it on her before going through the scanner. Her regular leash, collar go through the x-ray. Her vest has no metal so it stays on. I appreciate your blog and enjoy reading about others.

63 Kate 05.19.12 at 6:56 pm

Jack is a yorkie/silkie mix. I did not get him with the intent of having him be a service dog, but he fills that roll effortlessly. He has flown – like he’d been doing it all his life. Since he is a small dog, some people don’t take him seriously. But he is an ambassador that quickly wins them over. I couldn’t travel without him. Luckily, my landlord allows pets.

64 melissa 05.20.12 at 8:44 am

I have 4 children, 1 is bipolar and 3 have ASD and other mulitiple disabilities. I have a blue pit bull 7 months old – Kashmire. I am in the process of getting her obedience trained / service dog training. I am not sure where to begin. I have read the above blogs and dogs are great for the family and for me my sanity. My children are attached to her and she acts just like a kid and is spoiled like one.
If no one minds could you please give me an idea how to or where to train her . I have tried the sources from my area and of course they are not much help. I apologize if a put this information in the wrong spot but as you can tell I am lost.

65 Deborah Russell 05.22.12 at 6:30 am

I’m a little late getting this response in, but here goes anyway….. I have a Lhasa Apso. He is 5 years old this August and I have been training him myself for the last 8 months to assist me with my hearing impairment. He is doing quite well in all areas, however I’m still working on getting him to “touch” me , bark and lead me to a ringing phone. Right now he’s a bit inconsistent in that assist.
I have not flown with him and don’t foresee ever doing so. As we own our home, we don’t have that housing issue. I have had a few incidents (at Wal Mart in particular) of being told “No Pets”. But once I “educated” the clerk and showed her that he was wearing the Spot ID tag. The ADA information on the back of the tag was what seemed to convince her.
I chose this breed because I had read they were extremely intelligent and very good at alerting when visitors or unexpected sounds occur.
This Spot Blog has been very, very useful to me and I appreciate its
existence. Thanks. Deborah

66 Carol D 05.29.12 at 11:16 pm

I just found your website/blog while doing research online. I’m a travel agent and a client asked about taking his service dog into Mexico (Playa del Carmen) while on a vacation. He’ll be flying into Cancun. Does anyone know what the requirements are, or if he’ll have any problem with hotels when he’s in Mexico? I’d appreciate any info you or your readers can supply.

Thank you.


(P.S., I noticed that one of your readers commented that they are considering a cruise. I have been told there is no problem taking a service dog on a ship!)

67 Dave and Gracie 06.03.12 at 3:17 pm

Hi Suzzy,

I’m a little bit late to the discussion. Gracie and I were at Daemon College in Williamsville, N.Y., near Buffalo. We were working with the Physical Therapy Grad. students. Find us at USServiceDogRegistry.org, ID Code 1334591167. Gracie’s working on her D.P.T. (-;

68 Jackie 06.07.12 at 5:19 pm

My service dog is a 15 week old rough (long haired) collie. The service dog agency usually only pair with smooth (short haired) collies, but I wanted a rough. This agency breeds collies among other dogs, such as labs. I have maybe two years until he’s ready. He will be a mobility SD.

69 Linda 08.04.12 at 7:10 am

Hi who are you

70 Pat Sorensen 08.08.12 at 2:20 am

My second and current PTSD dog is a Cavalier King Charlels Spaniel. He was purchased from a responsible breeder after I was hosptialized by a bad flare-up with the intent of training him as my SD. I researched the dog breeds and I live in a studio apartment in the city so I need a dog that is small, mellow energy level, and very affectionate caring temperament. The King Charles Spaniel fit all of my needs. Charley has been a wonderful dog. He interrupts panic attacks, knows when my anxiety level is starting to get out of hand and I am disociating more frequently. He watches me and curls up next to me at night and wakes me up from night terrors. He also doesn’t allow me to stay in bed past 7am. He will lick me if i don’t get out of bed! He also keeps me calm when inside a grocery store. I carry him in his dog tote where he can get my attention, and he won’t get stepped on. My condion has stabilized, I do not isolate as much as I did before, and my feeling of emptiness is filled by the love and affection of my devoted little companion. I live alone so this is very important to me. I don’t know where i would be right now without him.

71 Richie 08.22.12 at 6:03 pm

my sevice dog is a 2 year old german rottweiler that ive have since a puppy. he is for gereralized anxiety disorder and i always have had rotties and they are the best. he was trained bye me with alittle help on the outside. he has been the best thing for my anxiety and i can always count on him…

72 Abigail 08.27.12 at 2:01 pm

I’m in the process of getting tags for my SD. I have a chihuahua/jack russel mix. I didn’t pick her, she picked me after I rescued her off a hwy. I am still working on training with her, but she seems to be a natural. :) I am finding it difficult to get an apartment or a house due to having a SD. People seem to consider them pets, not SD. What should I do? I’m feeling hopeless about housing. Thank you!

73 Keikilani Rose 12.19.12 at 3:04 am

I need a lawyer in Sacramento California. The neighbor kicked my service dog on our own front porch steps. He has refused to party the Vet bills & now tools us to talk to his attorney. Help. Please.
Schnauzer-Yorkie mix, because they don’t shed & she is stringer that my first service dog who was all Yorkie. Yes, we fly, all three time…USA, west of the Rockies, Hawaii & Mexico.

74 Lori 04.03.13 at 7:50 am

Hi all. My husband and I recently purchased a Labradoodle and I’m training her to to be my SD. She is almost 4 months old and is very smart.I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. My balance is getting worse and I live with chronic pain in my feet and back. My feet are always cold, and Abbey has come over and warmed them up. She is 75% poodle and 25% lab which gives her the best traits according to my vet. Her coat is curly, but she is non-shedding, which is also a plus. I have trained her to do the basic commands – sit, lay, speak, … and we are now getting into ‘stay’. I am using books to train her. They are a series called “Team Work: A Dog Training Manual for People with Disabilities”. Book One is for basic obedience, while Book Two covers service exercises. The authors are Stewart Nordensson and Lydia Kelley. Easy to read and follow! Once trained, I will get whatever necessary papers needed to take her everywhere with me . As of last Thursday my doctor has me using a walker. Next step is a wheelchair. While working with Abbey, I now need to have her train with this equipment so she gets used to it.

I loved reading about others’ SDs. This blog is awesome. I wish we could post pics and see them though. I also noticed no other Labradoodles. They are very good SDs … I did research … And train easily.

Good health and happiness to all.
Lori ????

75 Morgan 11.12.13 at 7:30 am

I am 14 years old and I got a puppy over the summer that I have been training myself to be a medical alert dog for my asthma and chronic bronchitis, its very challenging and definitely not for everyone but with some work we can get there :)

76 Kim 12.30.13 at 3:42 pm

Hello I was wondering if anyone can help me with some info. I have major problems with hypoglycemia and would like to see if I can find someone to help me get one of my Boxers trained as a service dog for my problem. The both are just one year old and I think either on would be a great service dog with the right training I just dont have a clue where to start. It would help my life out a great deal if they could warn me when my blood sugar was dropping or wake me in the night when it was low. It could save my life. My husband and children would work hard training them we just all need help or direction. So if anyone out there can point us in the right direction we would be very grateful. We live in Skowhegan, Maine so anything around this area would be wonderful. Thanks again for your help

77 Alyssa Magnuson 05.10.14 at 6:36 pm

My service dog is a black labrador retriever named Charlotte.

I decided on this breed because they have the biggest hearts and they love to learn.

I got Charlotte as a puppy and after my doctor saw how much she was already helping me at just a few months old. (I have PTSD, anxiety and depression from being raped in high school. I also have fibromyalgia.) She wrote a letter for me to have her as a service dog and an organization called freedom paws assistance dogs trained her.

I do live in Apartments that have a no pet policy and they were extremely understanding and helpful and Charlotte and I have had no issues living here. They didn’t even try to make us pay a fee.

I still have yet to fly with Charlotte but I intend to in the near future.

78 Hope 08.27.14 at 11:55 am

I have been doing a lot of research on a service dog. I have a rare condition effecting my blood, digestive system, and often my way of thinking. I often have unexpected attacks. These can include but are not limited to throwing up, going into shock because of pain, passing out, becoming immobilized with pain, having severe panic attacks, and a variety of other things that are very capable of disrupting everyday life. It has also had a toll on me mentally. It has thrown me into a deep depression because, face it, who wouldn’t be depressed if they were in pain all of the time?? I’m seriously considering a service dog. Can I please ask for second opinions? Thank you for your time.

79 Sue 09.02.14 at 11:14 am

If the dog can stop or drastically reduce your symptoms then it would work.

80 Kerrie-Ann 09.05.14 at 2:35 pm

I have a 6 year old husky mix. I am told it might be a wolamute. It took him 4-5 years to settle down. He ALWAYS helped me with my TBI symptoms- naturally. He is now helping me remember to take medications, and calm down when my BP spikes from AFIB, or just being overwhelmed. I am working with him myself to finish training as a Service Dog. I have enough sense to know that he doesn’t need to be in a restaurant with me, but will be needing him other places. He will be getting every step of training he needs to comply with the quality standards held by REAL Service Dogs, and until then he is staying in training mode until he succeeds every step. Anyone have any experience with this particular loyal breed type? He leashes excellent, stops, sits and alerts of situations- so he’s got a bit of SD under his belt so far.

81 elizabeth 04.23.15 at 9:49 pm

for western flights we are entirely loyal to Alaska and Virgin, have heard endless horror stories about pretty much all the other major carriers. Having a less visible disability causes unending public hassles, just dealing with other travelers (and their children) amicably is hard enough. These 2 airlines are totally on point as were the TSA in LAX & SEA-just ask are you traveling with an ESA or SD, and if it is an SD you proceed without the uniformed confusion over paperwork and bogus certification (i would imagine they are equally efficient with the ESA & PSD process, and Alaska has a wonderful reputation for their cargo transport program if you need to kennel your dog, perhaps a younger SDIT that is not ready to go on board) As long as you are acting as a team, know the laws and exhibiting your years of training & respect for the laws well, the proof is in the pudding, they are more than happy to accommodate.

Always arrive early and pre-board (they will bump you to bulkhead seating whenever available) nothing as uncomfortable as having to go down the aisle of a full plane (ever had a few hundred people loudly talking about u at once?). If you pre-board and you’ve gone thru your SD and public access training well no one even knows you’re there, i’ve had a stewardess ask me to stow my carry-on for landing not even realizing that the silent brown ‘suitcase’ was a actually a shepherd (much to the amusement of my row). Ive also had stewards tell me i had the best behaved dog they’d ever seen at work, just adhering to basic PA/ADI standards so it makes you wonder about all the awful interactions they’ve had before you. Its just a reminder that when you are in public you are representing the entire SD community & you shouldn’t rush into situations your partner isn’t ready for.

Before flying you want to make sure you’re solid on walking over different surfaces and gaps, elevators, long periods without food/water or potty breaks, immense crowds of strangers especially out of control children and dogs (esa’s are not required to have the same level of training but still share the space, and tired traveling parents could care less what their toddler is doing) loud noises and off leash work (i leave her in line & we go thru the security scanners separately to save trouble, or you may be in a situation where you need a very reliable down stay to fit into a tiny bathroom etc). Bus travel is a good step in adjusting to long down-stays on a shaky surface, and you can often find a similar environment to train in at your local mall- variable surfaces, large crowds, elevators etc.

Just remember to maintain a clean & polite outward image and try handle people’s occasional ignorance with a dash of humor, the goal is go mostly unnoticed but its not a bad thing to engage with polite queries & help people understand a little more about real working SD’s, as often the only ones they’ve been made aware of were the ones that should not have been working in public in the first place.

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