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Hospital Days 18 September 11

Posted by turtlemom3 in Disability, Dog, Exercise, Illness.
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Total Knee replacement : Lateral view (Xray).

Image via Wikipedia

Well, the day finally came – my right knee required replacement. RA often does that to people. It eats up joints, makes them hurt and go “krackel-krunch” off and on. So, the time came, and I was ready to have it done. It was a little scary.

When a service dog is involved, especially one as sensitive and bonded as Emmy is, plans have to include her. Well, I couldn’t take care of her by myself in the hospital. Himself and I worked out the plan. He would bring Emmy to see me on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Since he is still not recovered from his heart attack of July 14, he could not stay all day and all night with me. I asked him to come in about 10am and leave about 3pm – to avoid traffic and to keep him from getting too tired out. Well, the traffic part worked, but he did get much too tired.

Another part of “the plan” was for Emmy to adjust to me using a walker and not balancing well. That part did work on Friday and Saturday. Thursday I was too groggy to function well.

Emmy, of course, bonded a bit more strongly with Himself. But we aren’t worried about it. She and I will bond again, just as strongly, as she works with me on my rehab.

Everyone in the hospital who saw her fell in love with her. Since it is the same hospital Himself was in for his MI in July, there were many people who recognized her. She obeyed pretty well – EXCEPT – when she first came into my room in the mornings. She would come to my bed, and just go into ecstasy sniffing and licking my hand, dancing beside the bed with a goofy “Lab grin” on her face. I have to admit, I didn’t interfere. I let her do it for about 5 minutes, then cued her to “Settle!” It took a couple of times of telling her, but she did settle down. The rest of the day was great.

Total Knee Replacement. Hurts a good bit but the pain gets better each day. Percocets work.

The PT and OT people loved her, but thought she did too much for me. {WHAAAA??} Finally I told them that this was necessary for me – and had been for over 3 years. I don’t think they ever really understood, but I do know whereof I was speaking!

So – Emmy arrived each day, greeted me rather too boisterously (but I liked it!), and then lay on a pillowcase (as a “place”) over by Himself. When I was gotten up out of bed (twice a day), Himself kept her from greeting me too much (again). Then we went for a short walk – about 100 feet, and then back to bed. Emmy was the best, most obedient and helpful little service dog that ever was! She picked up what I dropped (except pills, of course),

Well, we are home, now, and Emmy is still very confused about what’s going on, but she comes to me for everything, wants me to feed her and let her out. I thought it would take a few days, but it hasn’t! Of course, one of the grandsons have to take her out and play with her, but I can feed her. I’m watching lots of TV and DVDs, reading a lot, but I can’t think very well, so it’s the mindless stuff that I need. I need lots of mindless stuff until my brain engages again!

And Emmy, of course. I need her desperately. She helps me exercise. I have to walk for 15 minutes every 2 hours. Emmy helps me walk. Tomorrow I’ll take her out on the patio and see how we do.

Thanks be to God for PAALS – and for Emmy!

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New breed of assistance dogs hone skills, including ‘scent-abilities’ 29 July 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Disability, Mobility, Partnership, Seizure-alert, Service Dogs, Tasks, Training.
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Posted by Kathleen Longcore | The Grand Rapids Press July 29, 2008 05:51AM

GRAND RAPIDS – Eight-year-old Cieran Boyle is about to get his first friend, a sturdy pointer assistance dog named Denver.

But Denver won’t be helping him cross streets, open doors or turn the lights off, as do many service dogs. He’ll be detecting subtle changes in Cieran’s body odor that predict he is about to have a seizure.

Denver’s training is an example of how today’s service dogs are being prepared in new ways to assist people.

Some organizations train dogs to help children who have autism. The dog can be tethered to a child, preventing the child from wandering or getting into harm’s way.

Other organizations train seizure response dogs, who get help when someone has had a seizure.

Some dogs, including some hounds and pointers, have very heightened “scent ability,” said Liz North, a master instructor at Pawsabilities Unleashed.

[– MORE –]

Actually, seizure-alert dogs are not new, but this method of training them is relatively new. There are also dogs (and cats!) which can detect when a diabetic is going into either INSULIN shock or diabetic coma (the two opposites that are so dangerous for diabetics).

It looks to me as if some of the assistance dog organizations are beginning to “specialize” in certain types of dogs – mobility, seizure-alert, hearing, seeing, autism, etc. Some lean more toward children, others toward adults. Most are still very general, however, and may offer several different kinds of assistance animals. They may offer both therapy and assistance animals, and may offer both in-home assistance animals and therapy sessions on their site with, perhaps, larger animals, such as horses or even dolphins.

There are also cancer-detection dogs which are offering a different kind of service. They are not “personal” assistance dogs, however. I perceive them eventually being in many oncologist’s (cancer specialist’s) offices, working in conjunction with them to detect cancer in it’s earliest stages.

My “Woof” will be a mobility assistance dog, and will assist me with getting up and down from chairs and the toilet, as well as helping me with balance. He will help me by picking up things (especially my cane, which I seem to drop frequently), and to carry some of the things I need to carry to my client’s offices (a few files). He will help drag the laundry basket to the laundry room, help remove laundry from the washer and then from the dryer, and then drag eht laundry basket back to the bedroom. He will be able to pick up bits of paper from the floor and put them in the trash. He will be able to use a “tug” to open doors at the store for me. This will be more and more important as I will need to move to a wheelchair more in the future. He will be able to bring me my cellphone which I am constantly leaving all over the house, and go get my beloved Ol’ Curmudgeon. Most importantly, should I fall getting in or out of the tub or fall in the house, the dog will be able to go to a special 911 phone and push a big button which will alert the 911 service in our county. They will know that I have a service dog and that he is trained to do this, so they will know where to come and how to access the house. They will know my daughter’s phone number and my son’s phone number and my husband’s phone number at work so the closest one can come over to let them in and take care of “Woof.”

So I’m looking forward to my “Woof,” and I’m very happy that Cieran Boyle is going to get his friend. Sounds like he’s a little boy who really needs one – and his family could use the relief, too! A win-win situation all the way around.

= = = = =

[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]

Some Firms “Get It” 26 June 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Disability, Funding, Independence, Need Funds, PAALS, Raising, Service Dogs, Support PAALS, Training.
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Volpe and Koenig Lets the Dogs Out

— Einstein may be the cutest dog on the planet, but don’t let his good looks fool you. This two-month-old Yellow Lab is putting his namesake to the test, channeling his intellect to become a certified service dog. Today, he visited the intellectual property law firm, Volpe and Koenig, to receive a $10,000 check, the second of two grants which will be used by the non-profit organization — Canine Partners for Life — training the dog to perform a multitude of tasks such as answering the phone, opening and closing doors, and putting clothes in the wash. After nearly a year of training, dogs like Einstein will be placed in permanent homes of people with physical disabilities.

“We are so grateful for the $20,000, because it takes so many resources to train 25 service dogs a year like Einstein,” said Jennifer Kriesel, director of development for Canine Partners for Life. “These dogs really do provide our clients with specialized tasks that they cannot do because of their physical limitations. And, they also provide comfort and love to people who often find themselves isolated and alone.”

[– MORE –]

Raising and training service dogs is a lengthy and expensive process. Those of us waiting for one are well aware of that! and are deeply grateful to the people who help us and others by contributing to the organizations that raise and train. People like those at Volpe and Koenig.

On a smaller level there are other organizations and places of business that will allow a collection jar, or will pledge the profits of one day or evening of business to a service dog organization. And there are the individuals who will donate small amounts – and those small amounts will combine to become a much larger amount.

Somehow, teeteringly, with workers donating much of their time, and with the salaries much less than they should be, the organizations which raise and train these dogs continue to provide the canine partners for disabled people all over the country. We who wait, and those who live with their canine partners are everlastingly grateful to the people who work so hard to provide us with the means for us be more independent. For many, it is the opportunity to become completely independent. For others, it means our caregivers can take some time to rest.

For me and my family, it will mean I will be able to be more independent longer and my darlin’ Ol’ Curmudgeon will not wear himself out trying to take care of me so much. The adult children will not have to worry about “what do we do about Mother” if something happens to the Ol’ Curmudgeon.

Palmetto Animal Assisted Living Services

All of this brings me to the main point of this post – supporting PAALS, the service dog organization that we are working with. It is very important!! Not just for me, but for all of the people who are waiting for service dogs through PAALS.

Hard to Move About 11 May 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Disability, Service Dogs, Support PAALS.
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Thursday I didn’t post to any of the blogs – I didn’t even post any of the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s Rants to his blog (he doesn’t know how to do it, he just rants to MS Word, and I put it on his blog – more on that another time, another place). On Thursday I was out and about in Downtown Hotlanna trying to get paperwork to help me get more paperwork so I can get my SS and Medicare (such as they are). My daughter (herein referred to as DD) and her 6 year old home-schooled son (herein referred to as GS) took me and DD pushed me the equivalent of about 10 major city blocks in a wheelchair (I’d have never made it trying to walk, I assure you)!! I now have all but 1 of the certified copies of the historical documents I need, and that one is being mailed to me – to arrive on Monday or Tuesday (I hope).

Even with a Woof, I could not have made this trip without DD (unless I had an electric scooter). Woof could never have pulled me up some of those so-called “handicap-accessible” ramps. Too steep! So it’s a good thing I’m getting this done before Woof comes to live with me and help me out!

But even using the wheelchair, my back is wrecked and I am in pain and exhausted. I slept all Thursday evening – didn’t even eat supper. Slept all night. Slept most of the day Friday – except when I went to the bank and to the grocery for a couple of forgotten but critical items – and I’m probably going to doze most of the day today. I’m totally exhausted, and my back hurts soooo much!

Each time I try to pull myself out of my chair, I wish for the Woof. Each time I mislay my cellphone, I wish for the Woof. Each time I drop my cane, I wish for the Woof. Each time I drop a handkerchief, a piece of clothing, a pill bottle, a CD or DVD cover – nearly anything that would not be harmed by a Woof’s mouth – I wish for the Woof. I recognize, more with each passing day, how much I need the Woof. Each day I learn of more things the Woof could help me with.

I know there are “down” sides to having a service dogs, but in my case the “up” sides will, I believe, far outweigh any “down” sides!

Please remember to support PAALS! It is a 501(3)c charitable organization (donations are tax-deductible) and it is the organization that is working to match me with my Woof. The cost is high. I need to come up with an enormous amount of money (for us). We need help, and are calling upon our friends and relatives to help us with this.

ADA – The Federal Law! 7 May 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Disability, Law.
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Just what does the ADA have to say about service animals?? I have referred to the ADA numerous times, and have pt in URL links to the place to find the laws and guidelines about service animals.

Well, for those of you who haven’t “gone there,” or who procrastinate about clicking links, here is the information right here:

This is from http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
SERVICE ANIMALS IN PLACES OF BUSINESS

1. Q: What are the laws that apply to my business?

A: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.

2. Q: What is a service animal?

A: The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. Guide dogs are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:

_ Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.

_ Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments.

_ Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.

A service animal is not a pet.

3. Q: How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?

A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.

4. Q: What must I do when an individual with a service animal comes to my business?

A: The service animal must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disability to all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. An individual with a service animal may not be segregated from other customers.

5. Q: I have always had a clearly posted “no pets” policy at my establishment. Do I still have to allow service animals in?

A: Yes. A service animal is not a pet. The ADA requires you to modify your “no pets” policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. This does not mean you must abandon your “no pets” policy altogether but simply that you must make an exception to your general rule for service animals.

6. Q: My county health department has told me that only a guide dog has to be admitted. If I follow those regulations, am I violating the ADA?

A: Yes, if you refuse to admit any other type of service animal on the basis of local health department regulations or other state or local laws. The ADA provides greater protection for individuals with disabilities and so it takes priority over the local or state laws or regulations.

7. Q: Can I charge a maintenance or cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals into my business?

A: No. Neither a deposit nor a surcharge may be imposed on an individual with a disability as a condition to allowing a service animal to accompany the individual with a disability, even if deposits are routinely required for pets. However, a public accommodation may charge its customers with disabilities if a service animal causes damage so long as it is the regular practice of the entity to charge non-disabled customers for the same types of damages. For example, a hotel can charge a guest with a disability for the cost of repairing or cleaning furniture damaged by a service animal if it is the hotel’s policy to charge when non-disabled guests cause such damage.

8. Q: I operate a private taxicab and I don’t want animals in my taxi; they smell, shed hair and sometimes have “accidents.” Am I violating the ADA if I refuse to pick up someone with a service animal?

A: Yes. Taxicab companies may not refuse to provide services to individuals with disabilities. Private taxicab companies are also prohibited from charging higher fares or fees for transporting individuals with disabilities and their service animals than they charge to other persons for the same or equivalent service.

9. Q: Am I responsible for the animal while the person with a disability is in my business?

A: No. The care or supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of his or her owner. You are not required to provide care or food or a special location for the animal.

10. Q: What if a service animal barks or growls at other people, or otherwise acts out of control?

A: You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded. You may not make assumptions, however, about how a particular animal is likely to behave based on your past experience with other animals. Each situation must be considered individually.

Although a public accommodation may exclude any service animal that is out of control, it should give the individual with a disability who uses the service animal the option of continuing to enjoy its goods and services without having the service animal on the premises.

11. Q: Can I exclude an animal that doesn’t really seem dangerous but is disruptive to my business?

A: There may be a few circumstances when a public accommodation is not required to accommodate a service animal–that is, when doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the business. Generally, this is not likely to occur in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities. But when it does, for example, when a dog barks during a movie, the animal can be excluded.

If you have further questions about service animals or other requirements of the ADA, you may call the U.S. Department of Justice’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

July 1996, updated January 14, 2008 Reproduction of this document is encouraged.

= = = =

So – there you go! I didn’t go back and reproduce the law, it’s soooooo dull and bor-ring for non-lawyers and non-lawmakers I figured that lawyers and lawmakers can just dig the law out for themselves and read those soporific passages to their hearts’ content!

Is this Japan? or Europe? NO! It’s the USA! 3 May 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Autism, Disability, Guidelines, Service Dogs, Working Dogs.
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I posted about this before, but I just discovered this video on YouTube that was added on April 11, 2008

“A Washington County family said they plan to sue their school district, alleging school leaders are breaking a federal law by banning their son’s certified service dog from the building.”

This is bizarre! How many steps backward are we going to have to go before we realize that our service animals are essential???

Pell City Resident Training Her Own Service Dog 24 April 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Disability, Service Dogs, Training.
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There is a great article in the Daily Home Online about a women with mobility problems who is training her own service dog. I personally would not attempt it – I’m not of the right temperament and don’t have the right background. But this gal has both. She has worked with dogs – training police dogs in the past – and other animals in the past. She has the knowledge and the temperament needed.

This is a great story. And I recommend it to all of you. If you are interested in training your own service dog, I urge you to go slowly!! Study, read up on it, learn about dog training in general. Be honest with yourself. Are you patient enough? Do you understand the ways dogs learn? Can you train without becoming angry and physically retaliating against the dog? Are there good resources reasonably near you to help you with the training if you hit a snag?

These are just a few of the many questions you should investigate and answer before you get started training your own service dog. We thought about this very seriously before deciding that it was beyond us at this point  in our lives.

Resources? I knew you’d ask! And you just knew I’d have some, didn’t you?

  1. Train Your Own Dog
  2. International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP)
  3. Stuff You Might Need to Train a Handler-Trained Service Dog
  4. Assistance Dogs International, Inc

Those 4 references, plus all the links you can reach from them should be more than enough to get started!!

Crisis and Medical Assistance Tasks 22 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Crisis, Disability, Dog, Emergency, Medical Assistance, Service Dogs.
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Some of the very important tasks a service dog performs are in crisis situations. By the very fact that a person needs an assistance dog, the disabled partner can die in a crisis situation! A fire, a medical emergency is even more of an emergency for the disabled than for the “abled. ”

CRISIS

  • Bark for help on command – I will need this.  The way our house is constructed, if the Ol’ Curmudgeon is at one end of the house and I’m at the other end, there is no way we can hear each other! A bark is more piercing and louder than I can shout.
  • Find the care-giver on command, lead back to location of disabled partner. Again, this is going to be important – especially when the Ol’ Curmudgeon is at work. My son and daughter-in-law live next door. We will train Woof to go next door to get my daughter-in-law or one of the grandsons if I need help. It may not be a 9-1-1 kind of emergency that I need them, but it will be very good to know that Woof can go get them in crisis or emergency situations.
  • Put forepaws in lap of wheelchair user, hold that upright position so wheelchair user can access medication or cell phone or other items in the backpack. This is not a particular task I will need, but it can be a very important task for those who do.
  • Wake up partner if smoke alarm or fire alarm goes off, assist to nearest exit. This is one that will make my children rest  more easily! So we will definitely train Woof to do this! There are three exits that are close, and Woof will have to decide which will be the best one given the circumstances. That judgement cannot be trained – it has to come from within.

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE TASKS (Samples)

  • Operate push button device to call 911, an ambulance service or another person to help in a crisis; let emergency personnel into home and lead to partner’s location. This is a definite YES on the list of medical assistance tasks! In an earlier post, I showed a picture of the special crisis telephone made for assistance dogs to use and gave the link to the company that makes them. This task was among the top 5 tasks we listed for Woof to learn to do.  As it is not something he will have to do on a reglar basis, I will have to train him to do this on a regular basis so he will not lose the skill.
  • Fetch insulin kit, respiratory assist device or medication from customary place during a medical crisis – not a task for us!! For some one with respiratory problems or with diabetes, this is a major task, however. For me, the major task is going to be finding and retrieving my cane, or the “Golden Retriever” – my reacher device without which I cannot function.
  • Lie down on partner’s chest to produce a cough, enabling patient to breath, when suction machine and/or care-giver unavailable – nope, not a need for me! But, again, for someone with paralysis or breathing problems, this is a biggie. Isn’t it amazing what dogs can be trained to do?!

All of these things are among the amazing – yet basic – things that a service dog can do for a person. Why is it that they are so “unknown?!”

A win/win/win idea 18 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Behavior, Cats, Disability, Going Places, Mobility, PAALS, Partnership, Puppy, Raising, Service Dogs, Sponsorship, Support PAALS, Team, Training.
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Therapist’s network uses inmates and dogs to help people with disabilities

By Abe Aamidor

After earning her Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Purdue University in 1990, Sally Irvin took a job at an in-patient youth psychiatric facility in Memphis, Tenn.
That lasted a year.

Later, she trained physicians at Community Health Network in the art of grief counseling.

In the back of her mind, though, were always the dogs. Irvin, 48, had loved dogs, and had always owned dogs, since her childhood in Albany, N.Y.

That led Irvin to start ICAN, the Indiana Canine Assistant Network, in 2001. The nonprofit organization teaches prison inmates to train service dogs, which in turn are provided to people with disabilities.

Irvin is a baby boomer making a difference, even though she resists that title.

“I’ve always thought of baby boomers as someone who’s 10 years older than me,” she said.

ICAN is a pee-wee among giants in the animal welfare as well as disability communities. The group employs three full-time staffers, including Irvin, and operates on a shoestring budget of $267,000. Offices are in donated space on the second floor of the Little Red Door Cancer Agency on North Meridian Street.

But its impact is real. To date, ICAN has trained 18 offenders at three Indiana facilities who have since been released from prison. Six of them have gone on to work with dogs or other animals. The group also has placed 46 service dogs with people who have disabilities. [–MORE–]

This is a fabulous article about service dogs. I was familiar with ICAN from watching Animal Planet. They broadcast a program about it fairly regularly. ICAN is almost as small as PAALS.

At PAALS February was a great month. New volunteers, new events scheduled. And some of the dogs had some wonderful experiences.

Saying Hello -

These Two PAALS pups are
learning to say “hello” properly.

Gypsy at a Valentine Store

“Gypsy” visits a store for the Valentines
Day sale

You see, service dogs need to learn how to behave in as many different situations as possible. They will be exposed to hundreds of different places, situations, and people. Traffic, stores, offices, homes, bars, shops, malls, even, perhaps, jails and morgues and police stations. Hospitals, doctors offices, disasters, parks, funerals, weddings – you name it, service dogs will be exposed to them. Of course, each dog cannot be exposed to each possibility before being paired with their working partner, but they can learn “good manners” in as many new situations as possible so they will know to exhibit “good manners” no matter what.

My Woof will go to Red Hat Society functions where there is loud talking and lots of laughter. And will also have lots of time at home in my office being very quiet. There there is grocery day – when I do all the shopping for the week. There are family gatherings with an aunt with Parkinson’s and an uncle with mild dementia, and a sister-in-law who also has rheumatoid arthritis (only more severe than I have). Visits with grandsons from far away, one of whom is bi-polar/ADHD and another who is Autistic. Then there is the twice monthly Woodturning Club Meeting in our workshop – 30+ people devoted to woodturning. Visits to attorney offices, other professional offices.

Although I am mostly restricted to my home, Woof and I will go to a number of places together. Some places will not have had any experiences with service dogs before. It will be our responsibility to be “ambassadors” for service dogs in those locations. We will show that service dogs are very well behaved, have “good manners,” and we will demonstrate how helpful they can be – how helpful my Woof is for me. I will give out little “packets” with PAALS cards, brouchures, a copy of the ADA law and the GA ADA regulations. These will go a long way to help educate people. I hope we can help people accept service dogs and their partners.

Speaking of Assistance Animals, Magnus the Magnifi-Cat has entered the service animal arena. I’m having some mild incontinence problems (as do about 68% of the older female population “out there”). I had gone to the usual “Serenity” solution. But in the last couple of months Magnus has started pestering me – a lot. After a few days I figured I needed to pay attention to him. So I bestirred myself out of my chair and followed him – down the hall to the bathroom, where he rubbed against the toilet. OK, I used it. He shut up and left me along for another 5 hours! I started paying more attention. he would lead me to the bathroom. I’d use it. He’d shut up. I haven’t had incontinence in over a month. So I now have a service cat! It may not be a “spectacular” thing, but he knows and he lets me know when I don’t know. Mine not to reason why . . .

Please remember to tell your about PAALS and ask them to sponsor a dog or otherwise support us! Think of the specific good PAALS is doing for specific individuals. Do you know someone with mobility problems? Hearing problems? Vision problems? Communication problems? Autism? Cerebral Palsy? Did you know that service dogs help people with all of these problems and more? Please support PAALS!

Where Were You? 16 February 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Aids, Disability, Here Fido!, Illness, Partnership, Tasks, Team, Training.
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I’ve been pretty sick for the last week – had to have emergency oral surgery after several days of major pain from a spreading abscess.

As I was on pain pills, I was even more teetery on my feet than usual, so I mainly stayed my chair except to visit “the little house behind the house to meditate.”

While Magnus the Magnifi-cat was a wonderful Purr-motor for me, but I felt really loopy from the pain meds. Wasn’t up to getting up to the kitchen to making meals for myself. I fed the cat, but couldn’t figure out much of anything I wanted to eat.

“What,” you might ask, “could an assistance dog do for you when you have an acute illness? An assistance dog is for mobility, or for psychological or therapeutic purposes.” Well, that defines what I needed last week! Mobility! Help walking from room to room, from house to daughter’s car, to dental office, to car, to house.

Help with my functioning even if I didn’t feel good. Help with making me move – there is something really therapeutic to knowing you HAVE to take the Woof out to poop and either work to exercise the doggie or get the grandkids over to exercise him and what not.

I’ve researched ways to exercise my Woof without my having to be very active – for those days I’m crashing. Found THIS

It’s called a Go Dog Go, and it’s an automatic (or as we say around here, an “automagic”) ball-thrower! Wonderful for the obsessive ball chasing/retrieving breeds (the retrievers! – go figure).

Go Dog Go

You fill up the bucket with tennis balls, set the electronic control for the frequency (7 or 15 seconds) you want it to throw a ball and how far (15 feet to 30 feet) and sit back and watch your dog have a “ball” chasing balls! You can even train your dog to refill the bucket for continuous, obsessive fun!

Go Dog Go   Go Dog Go Control

For those of us with energy and mobility problems, exercising the dog is no problem! And we can train the dog to refill the bucket. Do I want one when the Woof comes? O yeah! But I want neon pink tennis balls!

Back to my acute illness – This is the reason there is a “team” approach to assistance dogs. There must be a team at home. We have a team – my ol’ curmudgeon and me are the primary team members. But we have extended team members, too. Son #1 lives next door and his wife and sons are part of our extended team. They help with everything already, and are more than willing to help with the Woof. Daughter lives a few miles away, and she and her husband and son are involved and will help. Son #2 lives a bit too far away to be be involved on a daily basis, but will be involved in crises as needed. So that’s my “team.” And a great team it is!

How did it work for my acute problems with the tooth? Well, daughter (DD – dear daughter) took me to the dental surgeon for my surgery and stayed with me the rest of the day, bringing me little comfort things, and ensuring I did not fall when going to the bathroom and back. DIL (daughter-in-law) was in and out several times.

Woof would have helped. First, DD would not have had to stay with me. Second, DIL would not have had to come in and out. If “something had happened,” Woof could either have gone next door to get DIL, OR pressed the 911 button on the K-9 Rescue Phone we will have installed when Woof gets here.

K-9 Rescue Phone

It may not be cute or pretty – but it’s utilitarian! It’s also kinda expensive, so knowing the Ol’ Curmudgeon, we’ll probably have a home-made variety!! We are also in an area with weird 911 service. It’s available for medical but not for police services. We’ll have to work with the various services on how this will work in reality!

Where were you, Woof? I was sick and I needed you! Pass time, grow and develop Woof, learn Woof! Soon we’ll be together!

Deaf for a day – – 29 January 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Ability, Bond, Disability, Hearing Ear, Mobility, Service Dogs.
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One of the blogs I read regularly, Hearing Elmo, is by a teacher who lost most of her hearing as an adult. She has a wonderful mixed-breed hearing assistance dog named Chloe. One of the exercises she puts her hearing students through is “Deaf for a Day,” wherein they block their hearing as much as possible in order to experience deafness. Today she described a recent class experience and the frustrations it brought.

“. . . Many think that becoming deaf means that voices are no longer heard. Certainly communication is one of the more frustrating things a late-deafened person experiences. And yet, so much in our world makes sound! Learning to live in an environment where everything is silent can be painful.”

Certainly, as the rheumatoid arthritis slowly and stealthily takes more of my mobility from me, there are times when, as others look at me with unveiled impatience, and even disbelief, I wish they could experience just a day of the pain, stiffness and difficulty with mobility that I do.

Just as Denise Portis, of Hearing Elmo, finds freedom through Chloe, I hope to find freedom through my “Woof.”

With eye upraised his master’s look to scan,
The joy, the solace, and the aid of man:
The rich man’s guardian and the poor man’s friend,
The only creature faithful to the end.

George Crabbe

Faith 19 January 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Ability, Disability, Partnership.
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This is a service dog with a young, emotionally disabled partner. What a wonderful story!

Service dogs are not just for the visual, hearing or mobility-impaired!

Yea for the ADA! 29 December 07

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Disability, Guidelines.
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A friend asked me about where I can take the Woof when I get him. “Anywhere,” I replied. “O surely not!” she exclaimed. “Sure – anywhere.” “Even to a restaurant?” “Sure.”

She shook her head. “How can you be so sure about that?”

I’m sure about it because the Americans with Disabilities Act says so! And each individual state has confirmed it in their own disabilities acts.

Some web places that provide authoritative and reliable information about service animals and the ADA will be found on the page dedicated to the ADA and Service Dogs.

Even restaurants, hospitals, medical offices and health clubs must permit a service animal on premises as long as the animal is not behaving in a disruptive manner (barking, growling, etc).

Yea for the ADA!!

Grateful for Donations! 27 December 07

Posted by turtlemom3 in Ability, Disability, Service Dogs.
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There is a wonderful person who will get jewels in her crown in heaven! She is sending a substantial donation to PAALS in my name! What a wonderful person! We are closer to “our” share of the cost, now.

Another person has also sent in a donation that I know about – again bringing us even closer to our goal.

PAALS is worthy of sponsorship – of ongoing support and assistance. Even if you are states away, you can help. If you want to purchase toys or collars or harnesses directly, they will gladly accept them – if they don’t have a dog in that “size” at the moment, there will be one soon. Or, perhaps you would like to provide vet support for one or more dogs for a year. PAALS has a wish list HERE, that shows how you can give support for specific items.

They take all donations, large and small. And are grateful for every one.

Donations may be made via the web using PayPal or via all major credit cards. They also take checks and cash!

Want to know why these dogs take a while and $$$ to breed, raise and train?? Here’s why (sound may be a bit loud – but fun!):


Good for you, Henry, you good dog, you!

Thank you, my fabulous friends, for helping me get closer to my wonderful Woof!!

Go Get Himself! 20 December 07

Posted by turtlemom3 in Disability, Go Get, Service Dogs, Woof.
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The last couple of weeks have been interesting. Himself is on vacation and is in CLEANING mode! So he has been in other areas of the house – mainly where he can’t hear me when I call him – most of the time. From time to time, he comes to get me, I go to wherever he has been working and make decisions: “toss, keep, trade in/donate.”

That’s great. But. There was someone at the door – for him – on a day I was really feeling horrid. I called him, but he couldn’t hear me. He didn’t have his cellphone on, so I couldn’t call on that. I had to ride the stairlift (90 endless seconds) downstairs, go into the garage, locate him, and send him on his way to meet the man at the front door. Then ride the 90 endless seconds upstairs and settle back down, only to be disturbed by a package delivery a few minutes later – when all I wanted to do was sleep and rest!

Woof will be trained to go get Himself when needed! I will have to be careful to not overuse Woof – and underuse me – to ask Woof to do things I can and should do for myself! But going and getting Himself is going to be a biggie!! I can tell already.

A service dog

photo from: http://www.theteacherspetdogtraining.com/homepage/

The Wait Begins! 13 December 07

Posted by turtlemom3 in Ability, Disability, Service Dogs, Sponsorship.
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I’ll be waiting for a looooooong time! What am I waiting for? A Service Dog!

I’ve been accepted as a client by PAALS (Palmetto Animal Assisted Living Services)!!!

What, you ask, can a Service dog do for a half-crippled old woman who isn’t blind? Well, that will be an ongoing story. With fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, I don’t get around as well as I used to. Don’t do “normal” things as well as I used to.

The Woof could pick things up off the floor for me — especially my cane, which I must drop 4 or 5 times a day. I have fallen several times just trying to bend over to pick it up. This is obviously a BIGGIE.

The next thing is to “brace and hold” when I am trying to get up from my chair – or off the smaller “chair” in the “little room down the hall,” – or out of bed. I’ve “hit the floor” a couple of times getting up in the mornings.

Since the Ol’ Curmudgeon frequently leaves me alone during the day when he must go to a job site, we both worry about me being here alone. We will get a “Big-Button” phone for the dog to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. We will have to register our phone with the 9-1-1 utility noting that the dog may be the one making the call.

We have a long, two story house. When the Ol’ Curmudgeon is downstairs or at the other end of the house, I could send the dog to go get him. Or send the dog with a note pad!!

So, we are Waiting for the Woof! In the meantime, there are many things to do.

Raising money for the organization is now one of my prime activities in life. It costs over $22,000.00 to breed, raise, give vet care, socialize, do preliminary training, and get the various “hardware” needed (collars, leashes, toys, harnesses, capes, etc). Vet care includes the expensive X-rays needed to verify that the dog does NOT have hip dysplasia. There are other problems that Labrador Retrievers can carry genetically that must be tested for and the dog certified free from. There are shots to be given and dental treatments, and growth to be followed – just like a baby’s! There is spay/neutering to be performed, and flea/tick/heartworm preventatives along with annual innoculations to be given. All this costs dollar$$$$.

As a “token” of our commitment, we agreed to raise 1/3 of that amount. Now, that doesn’t all come out of our own pockets – what we really need to do is find sponsors who will make a long-term commitment to support the organization over time. This is so important – not just for me, for us as a family, but for all of the other people with ability problems who need service dogs.

So I will, from time to time, write entries here detailing our progress in our wait for my Woof!

A student service dog - yellow labrador retriever

This is A service dog in training – not MY service dog. But mine will be much like this – a Labrador Retriever (either yellow or black).

Wish for me that God’s Will will be done.