From the category archives:

Traveling with a service dog

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


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


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

by Sue on October 14, 2011

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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.


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.


Safety for dogs during the winter

by Sue on October 5, 2011

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Yes. We are going into the cold season. “Don’t remind me!” That’s what I say. LOL!

Anyway. The main concern that I have is with the ice melt or the de-icer that they use on sidewalks and steps. People rarely use rock salt anymore. Which is a shame because it is actually the safest of all to use, for dogs anyway. Though allot of salt is bad for dogs, a little is not going to hurt them. Plus it toughens the pads up. And if they do crack, a little Bag Balm does wonders. (Did you know that Bag Balm is safe for dogs now? They quit adding the Mercury to it some time ago).

The “salt” used on roads, driveways and paths should not be confused with harmless table salt or rock salt. The snow-melters and de-icers commonly used are chemical compounds, many of which cause painful burns to dogs’ feet, as well as to their tongues and mouths as they lick their paws clean.

The sand put on icy roads also contains chemicals to melt ice and snow. If you want to sand your own pathway, buy the sand sold for kids’ sandboxes. Kitty litter or wood ash will also provide safe footing.

When you come in after a walk on chemically treated streets or sidewalks, wash your dog’s feet and brush out the underside of a long-haired dog. If the hair is wet or feels gritty, it has picked up the salt or sand and should be washed in warm, soapy water. Follow the washing and rinsing with a brisk towel rub. Another tip is to keep a damp washcloth in a ziplock bag. You can use this to wipe your dog’s paws while you are away from home if your dog has walked through the de-icer.

Another option is to buy boots for your dog. Though some do not take kindly to it at first, the can adjust to it quickly if the boots are of a proper fit.

An added note about cold weather.

A waterproof jacket is a good thing. Many people think that their dog has a good enough coat to withstand the weather. But keep in mind that a dog that lives indoors does not have the right coat to withstand several hours outside. If your dog does have a thick coat, just a nice lightweight waterproof cover will work perfect for them. Dogs that get soaked or chilled on a regular basis stand a good chance of developing an early onset of arthritis.

Sussie, Gunny and Rainy


Ammunition to fight harassment of you and your Service Dog

by Sue on August 26, 2011

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One of the things to remember is to always be prepared to stand up for your rights to have your service dog. This includes “ammunition”. Not the real kind. Just documentation. Its always a good thing to have.

Case in point.

Last summer I was stopped by the manager of Costco who told me that I could not have my service dog near a shopping cart. That I was welcome to shop, just not with a cart. I fought that and they finally allowed me in. Their claim was that the Oregon state laws stated that a service dog could not be anywhere near a shopping cart (yet its OK for babies with dirty nappies and people who are less than hygienic to be all over them?). Feeling that this was something made up, I contacted the Dept of Agriculture and talked to the man that in in charge of the “food rules” He told me that there was no such law. What the law stated was that there had to be a barrier between the dog and the shopping cart SEAT if the dog was placed in there. I told him that I use a floppy seat. That was perfectly OK. He then stated that I should write down his name and direct number and if I ran into that problem again to have the store call and talk to him direct. I kept that number.

I was prepared to confront Costco again on my next trip there. But no one bothered me. However, I kept the information I was given.

Just this Monday (yes. Almost a year later) I was stopped by Costco and thrown that same rule in my face again. I pulled out the paper that had that man’s name and number from the Department of Agriculture. Yes I had kept it all this time. I said “The last time you harassed me about this I went home and called the Dept. of Agriculture. I talked to the head guy there Mr. *********. He stated to me that what I am doing is perfectly legal and that if you ever stopped me again to tell you to call him and he would set you straight” She backed down and then proceeded to attack me another way “Where is his collar? There is a law about collars!” I replied “He just got over a $6000 operation for his back and neck. The Vet says NO more collars ever for him. I have his number in my phone here if you care to call him and verify this. He is wearing his service dog vest and I have his tags and ID in my pocket. That’s all he needs at this point” She backed down stating that she did not know Dr. ******* and did not know Mr.********** and for me to not get upset. I stated that I would not have gotten upset had she not thrown made-up rules in my face. She snapped back “Well why doesn’t the state let us know about these things?????” I smiled and said “Because I have a service dog, I make it a habit to keep abreast of the rules, even if I have to call someone. Maybe you ought to do the same” and walked on in.

Ammunition. Make sure you have yours and keep yours. Each time you stand up for your service dog, you are standing up for ALL service dogs.


Traveling with your Service Dog

by Sue on May 17, 2011

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Just recently I had a reader ask me how she could allow her dog to relieve itself while on a 30 hour non stop train ride cross country. I suggested that she train the dog to use a potty pad and make sure the dog is consistent before even attempting the trip.

But this led me to a question for the readers. Would you take your dog on that long of a non stop trip?


A word from your Service Dog Blog Moderator

by Sue on May 11, 2011

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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


Service dogs provide comfort for veterans back from war

by Sue on April 13, 2011

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I like the fact that more and more Vets are getting PTSD dogs. My husband used to suffer from terrible nightmares until he got his Service Dog. Years ago they used to tell Veterans just to deal with it. Or lock them up when they went completely over the edge. It’s nice that society is starting to take PTSD seriously.

Sussie and Gunny