From the category archives:

service dogs for vets

Size does not matter!

by Sue on August 10, 2016

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

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

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

But I’m getting off track again.

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

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

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

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Service dog and owner denied service at 2 local restaurants

by Sue on June 23, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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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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by Sue on March 15, 2016

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

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

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

(Courtesy: WATE)
(Courtesy: WATE)

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

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

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

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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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Paralyzed service dog recuperating in Homer Glen

by Sue on January 15, 2014

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By Taylor W. Anderson, Tribune reporterJanuary 15, 2014

Vietnam veteran Gary Jordan is missing one of his most important troops: she’s a 3-year-old Chihuahua mix named Belle who’s trained to help him deal with his severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

The 69-year-old is coping while Belle — a service dog trained through a Chicago non-profit that since 2010 has paired dogs with vets with post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related brain injuries — rehabilitates from a spine injury that paralyzed her on Thanksgiving Day.

“How am I doing without her? Not well,” Jordan said. “Because she’s my service dog, and we’ve been with each other since February.”

Jordan has been driving several times a week from his apartment in Markham to Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen to see Belle, who is learning to use her back legs again at the clinic after surgery. Typically, the two spend every moment of every day together.

Jordan and Belle are a team put together by War Dogs Making It Home, a charity that rescues dogs from animal shelters and matches them with veterans who need help.

“We save two lives at a time: one dog and one veteran,” said Eva Braverman, the agency’s president.

The dogs are trained to sense when its owner is stressed and comfort them.

Braverman said Jordan called her on Thanksgiving when she was cooking dinner for her family to tell her Belle wasn’t well. One of the dog’s spinal discs was extruding, and she became paralyzed. “I literally put $4,000 on two different credit cards to pay for the surgery,” she said.

Jordan is one of about 25 teams in the War Dogs program, where veterans bring their companions for training twice weekly for the first year and once a week the second. Veterans in the program have served in almost every major foreign combat since Vietnam, Braverman said. She said about half of the owners are Vietnam veterans.

The dogs learn the behavior of their veterans, moving into action when vets show signs of anger or stress. “I have to tell her, ‘Belle, I’m all right,’” Jordan said. “If it doesn’t look like it to her, she’ll just stay there (in my arms). She don’t leave.”

Dr. Amber Ihrke works at Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen, where Belle has been resting after her surgery. The site, which opened in 2013, is the third in the group, which also has locations in Chicago and Hanover Park.

“In three weeks, she’s gone from essentially paralyzed to walking around the room,” Ihrke said as Belle tried to stand on her hind legs in an IPC room in Homer Glen.

Jordan chokes back tears while getting ready to see Belle again. Doctors say they want Belle to get back to Jordan’s home so the two can help each other, but she still has a ways to go before being able to jump into Jordan’s arms.

“She helps me stay calm where I can actually deal with people better,” Jordan said. “It just helps me be more grounded.”

Integrative Pet Care is hosting an open house Feb. 8 to showcase the new partnership with War Dogs.

twanderson@tribune.com | Twitter: @TaylorWAnderson

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: I know EXACTLY what this guy is going through. My Service Dog “Gunny” went through one neck surgery and three back surgeries in the course of six months. ( He is OK now.) I could not see him every day because his surgery took place 175 miles northwest of me. But I called or got reports daily from them. He was only gone a couple of weeks each time,  but the time apart was excruciating.

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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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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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NEW PRODUCT! Service Dog Kit

by Sue on August 30, 2012

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This Kit has it all! If you bought all these items and upgrades separately you’d pay $153.55 but we’ve bundled them all together for an amazing value of just $119.95. You get:

Service Dog ID cards, For Large Dogs – one for your dog and one for you to carry in your wallet so you can easily show others what the law says

Or for Small Dogs – 3 Small tags and 1 Large tag for your wallet.

Choose from Service Dog, PTSD, Seizure Alert Dog, Service Dog In Training, Medical Alert, Search and Rescue Dog, Service Animal, Guide Dog, Hearing Assistance, Working Dog, Mobility Dog on your tags. These cards make it easy to educate the uninformed of your rights. Your Service Dog ID Tags clearly identify your companion as a Service Dog with his or her picture on the tag.

On the back is information from the Department of Justice (DOJ) that clearly answers common questions and provides a 1-800 number to the DOJ should business owners or employees have further questions.

You also get a set of tags Identifying you as the service dog handler personalized with your name and picture. You also get a Service Dog Handler Lanyard which you can use to display your Handler ID.

Each set has all our tag upgrades including a Security Hologram on the wallet card, Dual Polymer cards for extra strength and attachment hardware for the Service Dog Tags.

Along with all of this you will receive a digital copy of your dog’s ID for your computer and the ability to upload it to smart phone. Plus you get our tag extended warranty which protects your tags for a full 18 months should they break.

You also get a service dog collar and a service dog leash to help identify your dog as a service animal.

Included is a set of 50 ADA Information Cards. You can give these to people that don’t understand your rights and what the law says about what they can’t do.

And you get a Life’s Better With a Service Dog car magnet so you can let everyone know about how your dog helps improve the quality of life.

You can’t get more identification for your service dog than everything included in this special offer. If you act now you’ll also get FREE regular shipping on the entire order. Fill in all the information above now and place your order.

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