From the category archives:

service dogs for vets

Service Dog, Emotional Support Animal or Therapy dog…

by Sue on June 21, 2012

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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


Rescued Dog Eases Burden of Marine Combat Veteran

by Sue on May 15, 2012

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Here is a wonderful article submitted by one of our blog readers…

Thank you Terri D.

Gunny, Rainy, Lucy and Squeaky
(AKA The Fearsome Foursome)


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


A nice short documentary about mobility dogs.

by Sue on February 1, 2012

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Reminder of the new law changes by ADA as of March 15th, 2011

by Sue on December 28, 2011

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I do customer service for Service Dog Tags. Today I spoke with someone who was not aware of the changes in rules about service dogs. The new one that took affect March 15th of this year. The one that includes anxiety and PTSD as a disability and any dog that is used to control that is now a service dog.

I actually kinda felt sorry for this man as he was under the impression that, even though his dog helped him, since he could hold down a job, he was not disabled even though he was formally diagnosed with PTSD. I politely told him that he was wrong.

There are many many disabled people that can hold down a job. The presence of the service dog makes them able to do so. I am one of those. I work full time for Service Dog Tags. However I honestly feel that if I did not have my service dogs (my retired one, my current one, and my one in training) that I probably would not be able to work. Or, even worse, not even be able to function or maybe not even be in existence.

This gentleman that I spoke with had pretty much limited his lifestyle due to the fact that he felt he was not disabled. This was due to misinformation on his part. Since speaking with me he now understands and will probably be doing a few more enjoyable things in his life now that he can take his “service dog” with him.

Please be aware of the new ruling change. Be aware that anxiety and PTSD, correctly diagnosed by someone in the medical field, IS a disability. And any dog that is used to prevent or control the symptoms of such IS a Service Dog according to ADA.

Sussie and the Y Team
(Gunny, Rainy and Lucy)


Service dog gets a leg up

by Sue on November 30, 2011

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Service dog gets fitted with a prosthetic leg.

Note from Sussie: I think the main reason the dog started to complain is that the constant taking off and putting on of the leg was starting to irritate it.

At first I thought “Well if the dog was born without it, why bother?” I have had two three legged dogs in my life and they lived long healthy lives (one Akita-Border Collie lived to be 16 and one Border Collie until cancer got her at the age of 15). But then I had to remember to take into consideration the breed here. Labs are known to develop hip problems. This would help the one good leg from going bad too soon.

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy and Lucy


Announcing a new tag from Service Dog

by Sue on November 9, 2011

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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
Guide Dog
Hearing Assistance
Search and Rescue
Cadaver Dog
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


Casual Friday at the Service Dog Blog

by Sue on October 7, 2011

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Here is a little Friday fun. It’s “brag about your dog” day!

Answer as many of the following questions as you wish.

What breed of service dog do you have?

Did you train your service dog? Or was your service dog trained by someone else?

If you did not train your service dog yourself, do you think you could now having worked with yours?

Where did you obtain your service dog?

What is the most amazing thing your service dog has ever done?

Do you allow people to pet your service dog (this includes dogs that are trained to only be petted when they have been given a command to allow it)?

Have you ever felt that your service dog gave you a chance to educate the public about service dogs?

Have you ever had anyone complain about the breed of your dog being a service dog?

Anything else you want to say about your dog, feel free too!

Sussie, Gunny and Rainy.


Aurora ponders permitting pit bulls as service dogs

by Sue on October 1, 2011

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The Aurora Sentinel | 0 comments

AURORA | City officials could discuss the possibility of amending an ordinance to allow pit bulls as service dogs in the city at an executive session as early as Oct. 11, according to a city attorney.

The announcement of the meeting comes after officials from the U.S. Department of Justice said earlier this summer that any dog that is trained to do work or perform tasks for disabled people should be classified as a service animal, under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“The Department of Justice expressed an opinion that breed-specific legislation, or breed bans, should not be applied on a blanket level to service animals,” said Charlie Richardson, the city’s attorney.

City officials have drafted an ordinance that would accommodate all types of service dogs, but Aurora City Council members must first be briefed on the issue, and then the potential ordinance change must be sent to a committee for public and employee input, Richardson said.

At the Oct. 11 meeting, council members will be briefed on the ongoing litigation that originated when Aurora resident Allen Grider filed a lawsuit against the city in March. Grider, a Vietnam War Veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, said the city can’t mandate how his service dog is maintained, even if the dog is a banned breed. Grider and two Denver residents filed a class-action lawsuit against Aurora and Denver in March and are seeking damages of more than $75,000.

A social worker suggested that Grider acquire a therapy pet to alleviate his symptoms, and he got his pit bull in 2003.

“She’s my protector,” Grider said during an interview earlier this year. “I can’t sleep if she’s not here. If I’m tense, she’ll bother me until I calm down.”

But in November 2009, the city’s animal control officers seized the dog because it was a banned breed.

The city eventually determined that the dog was a service dog, and after about five months the dog was released to Grider, on the condition that she wear a muzzle in public, among other restrictions.

The lawsuit was filed by the Wheat Ridge-based Animal Law Center shortly after the dog, Precious, was back with Grider.

“We believe there are an number of damages that occurred because of what Aurora did in this situation, by taking his dog away from him,” said Grider’s attorney, Jennifer Reba Edwards. “As long as these pit bull ordinances have been in place, they have been in violation of the ADA.”

City officials from Denver are set to review a proposal Monday that would allow pit bulls as service dogs within the city.


A personal note from Sussie:

I personally love Pit Bulls. They are terriers and terriers make great Service Dogs.


Bill approved to make VA service-dog friendly

by Sue on September 19, 2011

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I find the below article quite interesting. Only because my husband and myself have been taking our Service Dogs in to the VA for a long time and no one ever questioned us. We both have PTSD.


Bill approved to make VA service-dog friendly

By Rick Maze – Staff writer
Posted : Monday Sep 12, 2011 16:55:07 EDT

The House of Representatives could vote as early as next week on sweeping legislation that makes the Veterans Affairs Department more dog-friendly.

A House committee has approved legislation that would allow service dogs to be used on any VA property or in any VA facility, including any facility or property receiving VA funding.

“I’m really pleased this legislation is moving, just for the sheer fact we have been trying to do this for so long,” said Christina Roof, deputy national legislative director for the veterans’ service organization AmVets. “VA could have done this itself, by regulation, a long time ago if they wanted, but they haven’t done anything so it looks like Congress will.”

Under current law and regulation, VA is required only to allow guide dogs for the blind onto its property and into facilities because those are the only type of assistance animals specifically covered in federal law. Individual facilities directors can be more flexible, if they wish.

VA officials have been working since March on trying to come up with a new service dog policy but discussions have been bogged down, in part, over the question of whether the policy should specifically list the types of service dogs that should be allowed or to leave that open to interpretation.

Language included in HR 2074, a veterans’ health care bill passed Sept. 28 by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, would end the discussion. The provision is very direct, saying the VA secretary “may not prohibit the use of service dogs in any facility or on any property.” The bill makes no effort to define what constitutes a service dog.

Roof said she expects common sense would be used, with eligible dogs having received some specialized training in order to be considered a service dog and with facilities still able to have restrictions on where dogs could go on the premises. For example, a service dog would not be allowed into an operating room but might be allowed in the waiting room of a medical clinic, she said.

In addition to opening the buildings and grounds to service dogs, the bill would create a three-year pilot program in which veterans with post-traumatic stress or other post-deployment mental disorders would be involved in training service dogs for other veterans. The idea of the test is to see if being a dog trainer has any rehabilitation benefits for veterans.

Veterans who have service dogs would have priority in being hired as trainers under the pilot program.