From the category archives:

Service Dogs and Airlines

Flight attendant forced to apologize to veteran with service dog

by Sue on January 2, 2015

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Sent to me by one of our customers. Thanks!

It was yet another case of someone not understanding what a service dog looks like. This time it happened to Eric Calley, a former Marine who served in Iraq, when he was traveling with his service dog, Sun, a Doberman Pincher. The pair were on a U.S. Airways flight from Florida to Detroit.

According to the Lansing State Journal, one of the flight attendants yelled at Calley because Sun had put her front paws on an empty seat next to him during some turbulence. Calley suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Witnesses on the flight noted that the attendant was so rude to Calley that a number of other passengers came to his defense.

Calley, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and now spends his time working as an advocate for veterans with PTSD, has Sun by his side all of the time. She monitors his heart rate, his breathing, and the tension in his muscles. If Sun notices a change, she immediately nuzzles Calley with her nose to calm him. She also jumps in his lap to put warm pressure on his chest.

The problem with PTSD is that people who have it look totally normal. They don’t have a cane, which is associated with someone who is blind, or a wheelchair, which shows a definite disability. Add that to the fact that Sun is a Doberman, not a typical looking service dog.

It used to be that service dogs were either Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, or Labrador Retrievers. Today, a variety of breeds can work as service dogs. Many service dogs are rescues from animal shelters.

A few weeks after the flight, Calley received an apology in the form of a letter from U.S. Airways. The letter says, “It appears our airport personnel didn’t handle the situation with the quality customer care we expect.”

Calley called the apology “insufficient” because he was mistreated by other airline personnel. He is speaking out about this to raise awareness on behalf of veterans and those with service animals. He tells Louise Knott Ahern at the Lansing State Journal, “We are going to continue to have this huge influx of new veterans coming back. And it can take a veteran four to five years after getting out to even attempt to get help. The thing I want U.S. Airways to understand is that this is going to be a growing problem.”

Calley is promoting Liberty’s Legacy — a program helping veterans from Michigan to get service dogs. His goal for the New Year is to bring “as many dogs as possible” to Michigan veterans.

{ 10 comments }

Something that could have an impact on Service Dogs

by Sue on October 30, 2014

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

While checking our sales on eBay today I noticed some ads at the bottom that presented other products from other sellers. What disturbed me is that some of these sellers were selling ID’s that are wrong. I am speaking of the ones for sale that say “Emotional Support Service Dog. Full Access Required”.

This is very very very wrong!

There is no such thing as an Emotional Support Service Dog. There are Emotional Support Animals and there are Service Dogs.

In the ADA rulings it clearly states…
—————————————
Effective March 15, 2011, “Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”

Key changes include the following:
1. Only dogs will be recognized as service animals.
2. Service animals are required to be leashed or harnessed except when performing work or tasks where such tethering would interfere with the dog’s ability to perform.
3. Service animals are exempt from breed bans as well as size and weight limitations.
4. Though not considered service animals, businesses are generally required to accommodate the use of miniature horses under specific conditions.

Until the effective date, existing service animals of all species will continue to be covered under the ADA regulations.

Existing policies that were clarified or formalized include the following:
1. Dogs whose sole function is “the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship” are not considered service dogs under the ADA.
2. The use of service dogs for psychiatric and neurological disabilities is explicitly protected under the ADA.
3. “The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence” do not qualify that animal as a service animal and “an animal individually trained to provide aggressive protection, such as an attack dog, is not appropriately considered a service animal.”
—————————————–

Take note of the section about Emotional Support Animals.

Emotional Support Animals are only recognized by the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. They do NOT have full access to any other places

There are a couple things that upset me about other sellers selling these “Emotional Support Service Dog. Full Access Required” tags.

#1 They are selling items that are misleading and allow people to break the law by taking their ESA into places posted Service Animals only. And because these tags look so official, the public will accept the ID and allow the ESA in.

#2 Because the law states that an ESA does NOT have to have any training, these ESA’s could have a great impact on how the public views Service Dogs in the event that an ESA bites someone or causes any other number of problems.

I have personally approached some of these sellers to try and advise them of the rules. Only one actually stopped selling the “Emotional Support Service Dog” tags. The rest simply did not care and were only interested in the money they were making off the tags.

To me, that is nothing but taking advantage of the misinformed and scamming the public.

Sussie and Service Dog “Gunny”

{ 8 comments }

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

by Sue on December 11, 2013

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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.

{ 18 comments }

Shelter dogs to service dogs

by Sue on December 27, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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.

{ 0 comments }

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

by Sue on September 5, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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.

{ 9 comments }

Service Dog, Emotional Support Animal or Therapy dog…

by Sue on June 21, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

People tend to get these three confused at times so I will sum it up in a nut shell.

Service Dog: A dog that is trained (either by the owner or someone else. Or in some cases the dog just does it naturally) to help that disabled individual with day to day tasks, helps alert an individual when its time for medication or if they are about to have a seizure, or helps calm a person with PTSD, Anxiety, Bi-Polar, Aspergers, Autism, etc.

Emotional Support Animal: Any animal that gives a person the will to live. In other words, gives them something to live for. This is very key for those suffering from depression, etc.

Therapy Dog: Any dog that has been tested for temperament (usually with a Canine Good Citizen test, commonly known as a CGC test). Then used for many purposes such as visiting people in a hospital, visiting nursing homes, calming a frightened or traumatized child, calming a child while being interviewed as a witness, and many many other way that just in general make people feel good.

Places each dog can go:

Service Dog: Open access except in private homes. If a home owner states that they do not want the dog in their home, they do have the right to say no. Basically, any place which is open to the public is to allow a service dog( with the exception of churches and Indian reservations as they are considered sovereign nations).

Emotional Support Animal: On Airlines and in housing (that the owner is renting or leasing) with a policy against pets or restrictions on pets. No place else. Public places that are posted “Service Dogs Only” or “Service Animals Only” are not open to Emotional Support Animals or Therapy Dogs.

Therapy Dogs: Allowed into areas with allow Therapy Dogs. Not allowed into places only Service Dogs or Emotional Support Animals are allowed unless given special permission (In other words. The dog needs to do the job that he is trained for in that particular area).

Sussie and the Friendly Foursome
Gunny, Rainy, Lucy, Squeaky

{ 11 comments }

A little interaction…

by Sue on May 9, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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?

Thanks!

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy and Lucy

{ 81 comments }

Announcing a new tag from Service Dog Tags.com

by Sue on November 9, 2011

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

We are pleased to announce that we have added another disability specific tag to our line of Service Dog and Emotional Support Animal tags.

We have always had the following…

Service Dog
Service Animal
Seizure Alert
Medical Alert
Working
Guide Dog
Hearing Assistance
Search and Rescue
Cadaver Dog
and
Emotional Support Animal

We have now added PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to our list of tags.

I have PTSD and understand that it is a disorder that, though now recognized by ADA as a disability, does not fall under the category of a medical alert dog.

Though Service Dog can be used for a PTSD dog, we feel that this new tag will serve the needs of those who wish to be more disability specific.

Sussie, Gunny and Rainy

{ 23 comments }

What type of equipment do you use on your service dog?

by Sue on October 14, 2011

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Vest? Tags? Doctor’s note? Nothing?

What has worked best for you and your dog? Any recommendations? Pros? Cons?

The ADA states that a service dog does not need to be identified as a service dog. However they suggest it as it reduces conflicts.

I for one use both a vest and a tag on Gunny and Rainy.

Sussie, Gunny and Rainy.

{ 49 comments }

A word from your Service Dog Blog Moderator

by Sue on May 11, 2011

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Yesterday I received yet another call from someone distraught. It was over the fact that they had sent money in to a Service Dog registry and received nothing in return. I really feel sorry for people that get “roped” into that situation. I am also angered by the so called “registries” that dupe people of their money like that.

ADA does not require a Service Dog to be registered. ADA does not require that a dog be trained by a professional. ADA’s only requirement is that the dog is well behaved in public, be identified in some way (either by vest or tags) that it is a Service Dog, and be on a leash unless the service that the animal performs requires it to be off leash.

Other things to keep in mind.

ADA rules override all state and local laws (In other words, if a city passed a rule stating that no animals were allowed in a certain area. ADA laws override that for service dogs). Business owners cannot post a sign stating “Guide Dogs Only”. Though it is not illegal for them to have the sign, they must allow ALL Service Dogs entry into their establishment.

Places open to the public (were anyone can just walk in or pay an entrance fee and walk in) cannot ask you what the Service Dog is for. However they can ask if it’s a Service Dog. Private places that are not open to the public or require a membership to enter, can ask you what duties the dog performs for you, but cannot stop you from entering. (The only exception to the rule is Costco, as they were giving special permission by the Courts as to whether they will allow you to enter their store with your Service Dog no matter what type of Service Dog it is, this was stated to me by a Costco rep. This is happened due to the case of Susan Grill vs. Costco in 2004).

Sussie and Gunny
http://thegunnyfund.chipin.com/the-gunny-fund

{ 25 comments }