From the category archives:

Psychiatric Service Dogs

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

by Sue on April 28, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Brusha Brusha Brusha

by Sue on March 30, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Things to keep in mind:

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

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

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

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

 

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It’s shedding season again!

by Sue on March 2, 2016

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

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

 

REGULAR BRUSHING!

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

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OIL!

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

NUTRITION!

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

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

 

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Disabled Houston veteran booted from restaurant over service dog

by Sue on March 6, 2014

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Published February 27, 2014 FoxNews.com

A disabled U.S. veteran says he was booted from a Thai restaurant in Houston because his service dog was not allowed to join him in the establishment.

Aryeh Ohayon, who served in the Army and Navy for a combined 23 years and suffers PTSD, said his service dog Bandit helps when he has flashbacks or becomes depressed, the KHOU 11 reported. But he claims that the restaurant would not allow him to stay with the dog.

The report points out that Texas passed a law that protects veterans with service dogs from being refused entry into public places. Ohayon says he was told the restaurant is considered a private entity and does not have to abide by the law.

Thai Spice Buffett II, the restaurant, said it is looking into the incident, the station reported. The manager told the station that he believes the entire incident was a misunderstanding.

Ohayon said he was also bothered by a police officer who responded to the call. The officer asked why he needed to have the dog in the first place since he isn’t blind. Police, however, say Ohayon denied any disabilities during the conversation.

“It feels like your service and experience that you’ve done to defend and uphold the Constitution and protect this country have been belittled,” Ohayon said.

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: The Cop was totally out of line. And the Thai place IS open to the public. Therefore the “private” statement does not fly.

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Couple booted from bar after dispute over service dog

by Sue on December 13, 2013

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PANAMA CITY BEACH — A woman and her husband were booted from a Halloween party after a dispute with the management over whether her service dog could be inside, according to a police report.

Bennie and Mary Gray were attending a Halloween costume party at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge at Pier Park. Police were called there about 9 p.m., according to the report, after a bouncer told the couple they weren’t allowed to have the dog inside the bar. Bennie Gray, 56, explained to the bouncer it was a service dog, and the bouncer asked to see the dog’s papers.

Bennie Gray told the bouncer the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not allow such paperwork to be requested, and the bouncer told them to leave, according to the report.

The manager of Tootsie’s, Melissia Pennington, intervened at some point during the dispute, according to the report. She told officers she spoke to the Grays and told them the dog could stay. But she also alleged Bennie Gray became very aggressive toward her during the dispute, and she ultimately decided to tell the couple to leave.

In a brief phone interview, Bennie Gray said his wife has multiple sclerosis and that her service dog, which she has had for eight years, alerts her to oncoming seizures. Mary Gray, 36, spent days making a Halloween costume for the dog, he said. They also were celebrating Bennie Gray’s birthday at the party.

“She cried all night long,” Bennie Gray said this week. “They ruined her night.”

Bennie Gray said the dog was wearing service badges during the incident and that he asked a Tootsie’s bouncer to look up ADA on a computer, but the bouncer refused. Bennie Gray said he has reported the incident to the U.S. Department of Justice.

 

Pennington said the Grays were kicked out because they were “unruly and difficult patrons.” She said the couple was getting in the face of security staffers during the dispute.

“The people were not kicked out, obviously, because they have a service dog. We wait on people all the time with service dogs,” she said.

Pennington said a security staffer did try to verify the dog was a service animal, but she wouldn’t say how.

According to the ADA, businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal and what tasks it has been trained to perform. However, businesses may not require special identification for the animal or ask about the person’s disability. If an animal has been trained to assist a person with a disability, the ADS says it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by state or local government.

Violators of the ADA may be required to pay monetary damages and penalties.

Bennie Gray said he and his wife have lived in the Panama City area for 12 years, and that Tootsie’s allowed the service dog inside on previous visits to the bar.

 

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: This situation is the reason I never get in anyone’s face if they deny my Service Dog. I just call the Cops. That way they can never use the excuse that I was being confrontational. Most business do not like to have the Cops show up.

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Pets posing as service dogs make life tough for people who really need animals’ help

by Sue on December 11, 2013

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From the time they’re puppies, service dogs are rigorously trained to help those who need them most. They can get into places where no pets are allowed.

The dogs are identified by the vest they wear. But since it’s not illegal to buy these vets, it’s easy for anyone to go online and obtain a vest for their animal.

Susan Lee Vick, director of Canine Companions for Independence, demonstrated how easy it is to obtain one. “There’s a real faux official quality to this, you know?” she said, showing a photo of a tiny dog wearing a service vest. “This is Bambi; Bambi’s new service dog vest!”

She said it never occurred to advocates for the disabled that the vests would be misused.

“There was never any vision of this outcome, this just sort of explosion of the ‘have a vest, wear a vest, go anywhere you want with your pet,’ no one saw that,” Vick said.

Peter Morgan has a spinal disorder that makes it nearly impossible for him to bend. He teaches kids with special needs, with his service dog Echuka constantly at the ready. His disability isn’t very obvious to strangers. Morgan says no one had ever doubted his need for a service dog — until recently.

“The last two years, it’s become very prevalent. The questioning, the looks. It’s been a radical shift,” he said.

And now he sees fake service dogs in places where pets aren’t normally allowed. At a recent dinner out, Morgan said, there was another dog in the restaurant.

“Even to the casual observer you could tell it was not a service dog,” Morgan said. “It had a vest. It was eating off the floor, licking people, lunging at people.”

Then, Morgan said, the dog’s owner pulled him aside.

“And he started saying, ‘It’s really neat that we can bring these dogs in here and get away with it because, you know, my dog’s not a service dog and neither is yours.’ And I just turned to him and I said, ‘You have absolutely no idea what you’re doing,’ ” Morgan said.

There’s a growing call to penalize people who try to pass off their pets as service dogs. But few agree on how it should be enforced.

Advocates for the disabled say the problem may just be ignorance.

“They don’t realize the harm that they are doing,” Vick said of the impostors. “Bringing your pet dog out into a public place harms that person with a disability’s right to live a free and independent life.”

Morgan says he’s been kicked out of restaurants when other dogs act up because people suspect his service dog is a fake.

“The people that are actually doing this should really take a long deep breath and think about how they’re affecting less abled people than themselves,” he said.

That, he said, would provide the most valuable service.

 

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: How can they enforce it? For the ADA/DOJ to allow companies like ourselves to ask for a Doctor’s note before we sell them a product. Until that happens, our hands are tied.

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Shelter dogs to service dogs

by Sue on December 27, 2012

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Dogs give their partners independence

Updated: Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 11:03 PM CST
Published : Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 7:24 PM CST

Leslie Rhode

Dripping Springs (KXAN) – Out in the rolling hills of Dripping Springs west of Austin, there is a new beginning happening at the Texas Hearing and Service Dogs organization. Dogs that once were in animal shelters across the state are getting a fresh start. Each year the group trains service and hearing dogs to be paired up with people who need them for independence. The class of 2013 is the group’s largest class to date in its nearly twenty-five year history. Fifteen dogs do not spend much time in kennels, but in training to ultimately change lives.

A service dog helps a person with everyday tasks to provide a greater sense of independence and dignity. The dog may help a person in a wheel chair pick up something that was dropped, open a door or fetch a bottle of water from the refrigerator. The Texas Hearing and Service Dogs group professionally trains the dogs and matches them up with their human friends, offering the dog and the training free of charge. The group relies on donations to make the partnerships happen.

“Animals are the kind of technology that you can hug, and I think there’s a lot of value in that,” said Sheri Soltes the Founder and President of Texas Hearing and Service Dogs.”

All of the dogs are hand picked by the trainers from shelters. To get the class of 2013 together, trainers went to 21 different shelters across the state and looked at more than 4,000 dogs to find the 15 dogs.

“The goal is to find a dog that is pretty gregarious, laid back and relaxed,” said Director of Training Al Kordowski. “The thing that’s going to distinguish them is their energy level, their attentiveness to us and being able to be calm. On the other hand with a hearing dog, we want them to be a little more extroverted and quite aware of everything in their environment.”

Director of Training Al Kordowski and others have that knack of finding shelter dogs with the perfect qualities to be service dogs. Watson is a black lab-mastiff mix from Williamson County who was sick in the shelter when they found him and still has a bullet in his front leg. Mocha is also a mixed breed who is naturally so alert to sounds, she will likely work with a hearing impaired person.

“There’s a place for all of these dogs,” said Kordowski. “There’s a home for all these dogs. You can find a place for these dogs looking for homes. We can go and we can save these dogs.”

“We invest $20,000 in a year into training each dog,” said Sheri Soltes, the Founder and President of Texas Hearing and Service Dogs. “We custom train it for its disabled partner, and we give the dog away to the person free of charge. So donations are what sponsor all of the training and things you’re seeing here — making these miracles happen.”

The miracles Soltes is referring to happen with each new class of service dogs. It is a miracle opening a new world for a person in need and a once unwanted dog.

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Access to Public Places for Service and Assistance Dogs under the ADA

by Sue on September 5, 2012

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This is an EXCELLENT video that I think everyone should watch. However it does need to be updated a bit (being created in 2010) because as of March 15, 2011 only dogs and miniature horses can be Service Animals.

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy, Lucy and Squeaky.

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Goodwill Discrimnates against Service Animals.

by Sue on June 13, 2012

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Service Dog Owner Claims Discrimination
By Megan Brantley
POSTED: 5:48 am EDT June 12, 2012

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — A Johnson City woman claims that she was discriminated against for bringing her service dog inside a store.

According to the Americans with Disability Act, state and local governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations that serve the public must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go.

One woman she was not allowed to do so when she was shopping at the Goodwill. Rose Holowka is dealing with a disability. “I was in a car wreck back in 1992 which caused seizures that developed into epilepsy and have partial complex seizures,” she explained.

Her service dog Honey makes things a little easier, but we learned that the law makes it a little harder. “About a month ago my husband and I went to the Goodwill, and we were approached by their supervisor. We were told that we had to leave or show certification or documentation for the dog,” said Holowka.

Unlike being blind, Holowka doesn’t have a visible disability and she says that makes it harder to convince people.

Federal law does not require folks to show proof an animal is a service dog. State representative Jon Lundberg says places are not allowed to ask. “You can’t ask to see that,” says Lundberg, “This is not like ‘let’s see you driver’s license, let’s see your dog credentials.’ It doesn’t work that way, it wasn’t designed to work that way.”

Although it wasn’t designed that way, it’s put places like Goodwill in a very tough position. With the animals not being required by law to wear a vest or dog tag, it makes it hard to tell which dog is a service dog and which isn’t.

We spoke with a representative from Goodwill who said that with the right paperwork they’d be happy to allow them in, but until then, their policy says no pets allowed.

NOTE FROM ME: They need to read the rules. They are, by law, not allowed to asked to see written proof. The only thing they are allowed to ask is “Is that a service dog?” and “What does that service dog do for you?”

On a personal note: I go in Goodwills all the time and never have an issue. Maybe Oregon is different. I don’t know.

Sussie and the Fearsome Foursome.

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