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Getting Ready to Go!! 4 September 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADI, PAALS, Service Dogs, Training.

I received several documents from PAALS yesterday. Instructions about getting ready to go and our schedule there!  I will need to “bring any poop scoopers, ADL devices, and items that dog will regularly retrieve, educational tools (ADA cards), and anything else that will regularly be used with dogs (ball throwers, etc).” OOPS! Didn’t know about the ADA cards!! Will have to print out and laminate ASAP!!) On top of everything else, I have lost my camera, and will have to borrow my oldest son’s camera to take pictures of the process! And that schedule! Talk about grueling!

Planned schedule (which will change as needed with added sessions if required – YIKES!)

Sat 9/13 and 9/14 start at 2 and end at 5pm at (training location)

Mon-Fri (15th – 19th) 9:30-4:30

*9/15 Lunch provided at (training location) by PAALS

*9/16 Dinner together at (training location) provided by PAALS from 5-6pm

* 9/18 Meet the Clients Event 5-7pm at (another location)

9/20 Sat Meet out in town – Publix (large grocery store) in downtown Columbia Time TBD

Individual sessions as needed 2-5pm (training location)

9/21 Sun Meet at (training location) at 2pm and travel to (another location) by 2:45-5pm . . . across bridge from Publix.

Mon-Fri (22nd – 26th) 9:30-4:30

*9/25 Lunch with Advisory Board member and PAALS at (another location) in Columbia

*9/27 Lunch with PAALS after ADI test


We will be scrutinized at each session. I feel like I used to going to new clinical locations when I was a “basic” student nurse!

Please keep us in your prayers! We leave on Friday, 9/12, and return on Monday 9/29. We are taking a day to recover before driving back.

Looking at that schedule, you can see that even if I have wi-fi, I probably won’t have the time (or energy!) to post blogs. So look for a 2-week gap in there. In addition, I will be letting this blog lapse and have already started a NEW blog here on WordPress about Living With the Woof. I’ll probably blog one or two last posts here after returning, and give the link to the new blog site again.

I know I will need to let Woof become acclimated to us at home for about a week before introducing her to other people – a FEW at a time. I had hoped to have her with me when I go to the Greek Festival on Oct 4th with my Red Hat buddies, but this will not be possible this year. I’ll have to leave her with the Ol’ Curmudgeon and go. I’ve been looking forward to going to the annual Greek Festival at the Cathedral of the Annunciation for 2 years, and don’t want to miss it – again!

[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 us at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]


The Time Has Come!!! 27 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in PAALS, Service Dogs, Support PAALS, Training.

I received an e-mail from PAALS. My Training Camp will be Sept 13 – 28!! Obviously I probably won’t be posting to this blog – or any of the other blogs – during that time. But I’ll be taking notes and will post after I get back. We will leave the afternoon of Sept 12, and return on Monday Sept 29. Our son and daughter-in-law and their kids will be house-sitting for us so Magnus the Magnifi-cat won’t be too lonely. The Ol’ Curmudgeon will be going with me to help me as necessary. Fortunately he has wi-fi on his work laptop, so he’ll be able to work throughout. Also, his work cellphone will go with us, so he’ll be working as usual, only from SC and not from home.

Am I excited? Excited isn’t the word! There are NO descriptors in the English language to express this mixture of anticipation, elation, ecstasy, anxiety, and, yes, terror I am feeling.

We have the book that we must read before getting there: Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor. When I saw the author’s name, I said, I KNOW that name! Turns out she authored one of the primary books about breastfeeding and I used it as a textbook for my nursing students as well as using it as my major reference when teaching Public Health Nurses how to counsel nursing women in their local clinics in GA! So she already has a good recommendation to me. As I’m getting into it, I would say this should become the primary training manual for anyone who wants to train an animal. It’s simple without being simplistic.

I’ve ordered my GoDogGo so I can take it to practice with my Woof. Fun exercise is absolutely necessary, and I’m too immobile to do decent walking. I hope that will change somewhat with the assistance of my Woof, but as I sit here with my knees red and swollen and barely able to weight bear, I’m a little discouraged about that aspect. However, I have a wheelchair, and Woof will learn to pull it for me. On level ground only. That will certainly give him exercise, but not the “off-duty” play he will need. I just regret that Woof won’t get the running and rougher playing with me that Labs and Lab mixes enjoy so much. But I have grandsons who will be delighted to do that in my place. I’m also going to train him to walk on our treadmill. In seriously hot and humid weather (which we have here in GA!) and in seriously cold weather (infrequent) and in rainy weather (frequent), he’ll be able to exercise there without either of us getting overheated, overly chilled or soaked!

Hmmmm – I wonder if I can train the Woof to retrieve Magnus when he gets out of the house, as he does infrequently, but which scares the pants off me. Labs are not herding dogs, but maybe I can train him to herd Magnus… BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Also – I need people and organizations to contribute to PAALS for me! {When you go to this page, scroll down to “Windy” – that’s my nickname, and that’s my picture!} I still don’t have my full amount in hand. And that will be due over the next 3 – 4 months. Please mention PAALS to your friends and acquaintances. Fund-raising ideas also will be gratefully accepted!

If you know of any charitable or religious organizations that might help, please let me know. I’m approaching all the organizations in my county that are listed on the Chamber of Commerce website. They include organizations like Lions, Kiwanas, and VFW as well as many of the larger businesses, including the one for which the Ol’ Curmudgeon works. But I need ideas for other businesses or charitable organizations. Thanks for your help.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers during those last 2 weeks in September!! Only 2 weeks and 2 days to go!!

[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.]

Service Dog Etiquette 12 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, ADI, Delta Society, Dept of Justice, Federal Law, Guidelines, IAADP, PAALS, Service Dogs.

I recently read some  information about service dog etiquette that makes a lot of sense.

Since not everyone knows about service dogs, not everyone knows about service dog etiquette.

First – a service dog is not a pet! A service dog has at least 2 years of intensive socialization and training behind him and is an expert in what he does. Most have been bred from working dog stock and not only thoroughly enjoy, but need to work.

A person who has a service dog has a very well-trained working dog. When you meet them, remember that the dog is working. Don’t interrupt it.

Always speak to the dog’s partner first, and always ask before beginning to interact with the dog.

Don’t pet the dog or make noises at the dog without permission of the dog’s partner.

If the partner says, “No,” then the answer is, “No,” and simply agree with it and go with it. It has nothing to do with you, it has to do with the service dog and his duties.

Never offer food to a service dog! This will distract him from his job. It can even cause injury to the disabled partner.

If you encounter a service dog in training or a puppy in training, ignore it! At this stage of training, they are easily distractible and can have a whole day’s training lost if interfered with.

It is impolite to ask the partner about his disability. If you are intrusive enough to ask such an invasive question, do not be surprised if the partner refuses to discuss it. The partner is not being offensive – he just doesn’t want his privacy invaded any more than you would.

Business Owners

If you are a business person, you may not prevent a person from bringing his service dog in with him. Both Federal and State laws specify that service dogs are to be permitted into any business or location. Even clinics or hospitals.

If you don’t like dogs, or are afraid of them, simply put yourself on the other side of the person from the dog.

If the dog “forgets” his manners and barks or growls at something or someone, you may inquire as to what the problem is. If someone has been teasing, poking or otherwise alarming the dog, they should be reprimanded. On the other hand, some service dogs alert their partners to impending seizures or crashing blood sugars  by barking once or twice, and that may be the source of a bark or two.

You may ask the person to remove their service dog from the premises if the dog’s behavior is disruptive or destructive.

If another customer has a severe allergy to dogs, you might ask the person with the service dog  if you can help them outside or if they can wait outside until the person with the allergy is through. This problem has not been defined by law, however. Balancing the health needs of the allergic against the rights of the disabled with service animals will probably be worked out in courts of law in the future.

If other customers complain about the presence of the service dog, explain that the service dog is medically necessary, and that Federal law AND State law protect the rights of the person to have their service dog with them in public places.

Many disabled people with service dogs carry pamphlets or cards that explain Federal ADA laws about service dogs. Some carry information about the training their dog has gone through and any certifications it has. You might politely ask the disabled person if they have such information with them if another customer is confused and you feel you don’t have enough information yourself to help the situation.

Places To Go For More Information

Delta Society

Assistance Dogs International

International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP)


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[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.]

National Service Dog Week 6 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in PAALS, Service Dogs, Support PAALS.
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Last update: 11:24 a.m. EDT Aug. 6, 2008
CRAWFORD, Colo., Aug 06, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — August 10-16 has been officially designated as National Assistance Dog Week to honor the more than 20,000 dogs that assist people with disabilities. Their work ranges from guide to hearing dogs: from assisting those with mobility problems to alerting for sudden onset diseases like seizures or diabetes. Literally and figuratively, assistance dogs have been opening doors for their partners since the early 1920s. With a service dog helper, people who were unable to leave their home can travel, go shopping, attend classes, or pursue employment. Federal laws assure that their dog is allowed access on public transportation and in public places. A service dog recipient is even guaranteed equal housing accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. Therefore, it is important for anyone working in the public sector to be informed about these valuable canines and the laws regarding their use.
Three-time service dog recipient Marcie Davis of New Mexico states that, with her dog, “All of a sudden the impossible seems possible. Virtually every area in your personal and professional life can be expanded and explored … Whatever you dreamed of accomplishing can be realized with the assistance of a service dog.” The dogs are specially trained for the needs of each recipient. They perform tasks such as opening doors, picking up dropped objects, helping a person with mobility issues, retrieving keys or even taking clothes out of the dryer. Success stories of service dog recipients abound. Her dog enabled Ms. Davis to pursue a career as president of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm specializing in health and human services.
More information about these amazing canines — their work, training, laws governing their use, and where and how to apply for a service dog — can be found in “Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook” by Marcie Davis and Melissa Bunnell (Alpine Publications, 2007) at http://www.workinglikedogs.com or http://www.alpinepub.com.

Tammy Hayes, Assistant to the Publisher
Alpine Publications, Inc.
38262 Linman Rd.
Crawford, CO 81415
Fax: 970-921-5081

This is really important stuff!! It means assistance dogs are being recognized for what they do for their partners – and that they are making a needed and appreciated contribution to society at large!!

And don’t forget that the organization closest to my heart is PAALS!! Now that time is drawing close for my Woof to come to me, I’m even more excited and donations are needed even more urgently (designate for Elizabeth (or Windy) Riggs!! So please put your nickels and dimes together and see if you can help to get us to the top!!

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[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.

Your State’s Service Dog Laws 13 May 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Law, PAALS, State Laws.

Wanna know what your own state’s legal system has to say about service dogs? Here’s a neato link!


On the left hand column, you simply select your state. All the references to animals in the legal system of that state will be listed. You can then scroll down and find “assistance” or “guide” animals and click on that reference. You can read these references in eye-straining and lid-drooping detail.

If you have or are going to have a service dog, however, you had best learn these laws. Memorize the legal references. You will need them – if not now, tomorrow or next week or next month or next year. At some point in time, I assure you, you WILL need them!! And you WILL need them for your certification tests each year!

Find a friendly attorney, and get her to help you understand the laws of your state. Print out a copy of the laws and laminate the copy at your local Office Depot or Office Max. Keep it with your Woof’s vest and always take it with you. It will be your friend when you are “interfered with” in a store or other place of business or public or private place.

Your service dog organization will help guide you in all this, but be sure to learn all the laws that pertain to you in your state. And if you move, or go visiting with your Woof, learn the new state’s Woof laws. That way you won’t get in trouble citing the wrong law in the wrong place!

Here’s to PAALS, who will be keeping me “up” on all that stuff! All donations gratefully – and graciously accepted!! 🙂

Boy wants a dog’s help 22 April 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Mobility, PAALS, Service Dogs, Support PAALS.
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Dog would help Tucker Griggs, 10, with tasks he cannot do on his own


This is the kind of story I was talking about when I said I would be blogging  more news items. Please let me know when the link goes dead!

And remember, we are working to raise money for my “Woof,” too! We are, in particular, seeking corporate sponsorships for PAALS, the organization that is providing my “Woof.” My “portion” is approximately 1/3 of the total cost and is $7000. The costs of specific items are broken out HERE.

Maybe you can’t afford a large amount, but you could contribute a few toys (which are very important in socializing the puppies and in keeping the dogs interested during training) every so often. Every little bit will help!

And when you do contribute to PAALS, please remember to tell them your contribution is in support of my dog and me. [elizabeth riggs]. Thank you for any tiny bit of support you can give!

Lending a Helping Paw 15 April 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Behavior, Mobility, PAALS, Retrieving, Service Dogs, Support PAALS, Tasks, Team, Training, Wheelchair, Working Dogs.
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This is the kind of article I like to see. An article that emphasizes the kinds of things service dogs DO for their partners!!

The Milford Daily News published a lovely story, Lending a helping paw, by Paul Crocetti of the daily news staff.

When a dog goes to fetch something, it’s usually a toy or newspaper.

Michelle Romiglio-Mathieu’s service dog, though, is all business when she gets something for her owner.

Amanda can grab anything from a phone to a cane for Romiglio-Mathieu, who has multiple sclerosis. The dog, a 2-year-old standard poodle, also stands by Romiglio-Mathieu’s side when she needs it – helping her to walk, stand up and climb stairs.

“That’s when she’s happy – when she’s working,” Romiglio-Mathieu said. |–MORE–|

And that’s when all working dogs are happy – when they are working. But they think they are playing! To them, work is play. That’s something too many people don’t understand. Helping a dog to understand his “position” in his pack (the household) is not cruel, it is generous and makes the dog happy. He knows his limits, he knows his place. Giving him things to do makes him happy – he loves to do things. A working breed (especially like retrievers or herders) will “make up” things to do, jobs to have, if we don’t give them things to do. They can get into trouble, even become trouble-makers if we don’t give them the “right” things to do.

Service dogs are among the happiest dogs around. They know their “place in the pack,” and they have jobs to do. They can play, they can retrieve objects, the herders can herd and lead. They love their “work.” The breeds are chosen for their work type. Great Danes are frequently used for Parkinson’s patients. They can help them walk, can brace them, and will place their foot on the right place on their partner’s foot when they “freeze” when they are trying to walk. German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers are used as guidedogs for the blind. Labradors are used as mobility service dogs, as are standard poodles and some other medium and medium-large breeds. Mixed breeds are frequently used, also, but they don’t have the “pure” instincts for retrieving or herding or leading you find in the pure breds. They can be trained to it, but it frequently takes more time.

Beagles are great for smelling out drugs, explosives and other contraband. And German Shepherds, Rottweilers and other large breeds have been bred for and used as guard dogs.

Usually, a medium-large breed is used for autism service dogs because they must have the strength and mass to stop the autistic person from going places or running away.

So this article is a really great example of the kinds of things service dogs can do and the process the dogs go through before being placed.

OK – it’s begging time! Happy Dollar Eyes!Please don’t forget to support the organization supplying my service dog: PAALS is working to find the puppy that will “match” me, and will grow up to become my “Woof.” This is time-consuming and expensive. We are working to get our share together, and need some help. Any help you can give us will be greatly appreciated! And PAALS will appreciate it tremendously. PAALS needs all the help they can get because they are a new and struggling organization. They have experienced people organizing, administering and working there, but the organization itself is new. New organizations need extra support, so I’m asking you, within your ability, of course, to give PAALS that extra support. Thanks!!

Letter to an Editor – – 1 April 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Behavior, Going Places, Law, PAALS, Partnership, Responsibility, Service Dogs, Support PAALS.

I saw an interesting letter to the editor in the Pottsville PA newspaper, the Republican & Herald yesterday. (I have a Google search widget set to scan for service dog news and this came up.) A 4th grade class invited a blind man to come to school and show how his guide dog helps him. In response to a very positive experience, the man wrote a glowing  letter to the editor.

This gave me another great idea to add to my list of orientations. When my Woof gets here, I’ll write a letter to the various teachers in the Elementary and Middle Schools in our County, offering to come to their class and talk about service dogs and show how my Woof helps me. Of especial importance will be to explain that one must always ask before talking to or petting a working service dog. I will show the difference in my service dog’s personality with and without his vest. When he is working, he must not be played with, or he could become confused and not help me when I need to be helped.

People who have a service dog have responsibilities to their community – to educate people in their community about service dogs, and to help raise awareness and money for the organization that provided their dogs.

Oh, I will be a busy beaver!! But it will be well worth it! I will have a great purpose in life again! How wonderful! I can support PAALS and still be working with Woof!

Iraq Vet Gets Dog, New Chance at Life 20 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in PAALS, PTSD, Service Dogs, Support PAALS, TBI.
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Yellow Labrador Helps His Owner to Recover Following Injuries in Iraq

March 19, 2008 ABC News

Until recently, Sgt. Bill Campbell’s horrifying memories from his tour of duty in Iraq left him unable to leave his house.

Constantly fearing he would be attacked from behind — a paranoia stemming from his violent tour of duty — Campbell says his post traumatic stress disorder symptoms made everyday life virtually unbearable.

That is, until he met Pax, a now 17-month-old yellow Labrador, specially trained to help him cope with PTSD, doing everything from reminding him to take his medication to coaxing him out of his house.

“Pax forces me to go out,” Campbell told ABCNEWS.com. “He has to go for walks.”

Pax was donated to Campbell by the N.Y.-based non-profit organization Puppies Behind Bars, an organization that has provided service dogs to individuals with disabilities since 1997, but just recently expanded their program to include war veterans, too.


Turtlemom Sez: Just wow!! When you read the whole article, be sure you click on the photo gallery and look at all those wonderful pics of Pax helping Sgt. Campbell get out in the community and out in the out-of-doors! These are things that only a few weeks ago were impossible for him to do! I’m so happy for this guy I started crying as I read the article!! Puppies Behind Bars is a great program, but so is PAALS! So please don’t forget to support PAALS for me!!

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!

The Retriever Retrieves – – 26 February 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in PAALS, Retrieving.
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As if one needed to teach a retriever to retrieve! Well, yes, we do! They have to learn to retrieve what we need when we need it. They need to learn to recognize objects by command, to locate and bring them to us. Objects like:

  • the portable phone
  • my cell phone (I leave it all over the house!)
  • my palm pilot (ditto)!!
  • my dropped cane – about 20 times a day!!
  • a forgotten cane in the other room – about 13 times a day!
  • a dropped or left set of keys
  • dropped coin(s)
  • take money from a cashier or teller and give it to me (or vice versa)
  • use a target stick or a laser pointer to target an item to retrieve off a shelf or off the floor (like shoes from the floor or a can at the store for instance)
  • bring in groceries (in canvas bags)
  • unload suitable groceries from canvas bags
  • fetch food bowl / water bowl

PAALS Pup Learns Money Retrieval

Pals Pup Learns Money Retrieval*

These are only a few of the many retrieving tasks an assistance dog might need to do. Actually I can see needing many if not most of these tasks! I won’t have grandsons around to help with grocery unloading forever. They do grow up and leave home for college, military and marriage. Even the Ol’ Curmudgeon will grow more decrepit, and his back will become less reliable. So I need to plan on relying on my wonderful Woof for many of the tasks my grandsons and the Ol’ Curmudgeon do for me now.

So, Woof, you little ol’ retriever you! You will be able to retrieve to your heart’s content! Between your tasks for me and your GoDogGo, and the frisbees, you should be a happy camper, honey!

*Note – this darling PAALS pup will NOT be my Woof, but demonstrates just one of the MANY training tasks these pups learn!

Tugging – Essential to Helping! 23 February 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Behavior, PAALS, Service Dogs, Tasks, Tugging.
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My Woof will need to do a lot of tugging! Why? you say, Why?

Tugging is basic to a huge list of tasks for any service dog! Paals trains their pups to tug properly early on in their training.

Learning to Tug

A PAALS pup learns proper
tugging techniques*

OK — tugging is important. What is it that tugging is important for?? IAADP (the International Association of Assistance Dog Programs) lists a whole bunch of tasks that are based on tugging – things like tugging socks off without biting down on foot. Remember my blog post a while earlier when I was bemoaning having to have the Ol’ Curmudgeon help me dress and undress? Well, tugging my socks off surely would help!!

How about tugging my slacks, sweater, or coat off? Many times I struggle to get a jacket or sweater off. Or on. Trying to get that other side around to where I can get my hand and arm into the armhole is so hard sometimes – and painful!

Tugging doors that open outward so I can go through them – especially at some of the office buildings I have to go to. We’ll have to develop a device, or set of devices to attach to the door handles and levers that the Woof can hang onto to tug. But we’ll get it right! This is a major task. I have problems getting in and out of the office buildings with their big, heavy doors that always seem designed to keep the disabled out.

How about tugging items out of the dryer and into the laundry basket, then tugging / pulling the laundry basket down the hall into the bedroom for me on bad days? And tugging that same laundry basket down the hall to the washer full of dirty clothes? That will be a biggie!

Drag a heavy coat to the closet. Can’t hang it up for me, but getting it to the closet will be a huge help!

Close or drapes by tugging the cord. Well, we don’t have many drapes to pull the cord on, and we don’t open and close them much, so this particular tugging task won’t be needed at this time. But wrestling objects from the van into the house, now that’s a tugging task I do need!!

Opening cupboard doors, opening drawers, opening the refrigerator door – all can be accomplished by tugging on a strap attached to the door or drawer. This is very helpful to retrieving things from the cupboard or drawer or refrigerator. Even opening the front door for me when the doorbell rings!

Or . . . Hmmmmm! How about tugging the covers off of the Ol’ Curmudgeon to help him wake up in the mornings {very sly, smile}!!

While there are other tasks that tugging is intrinsic for, these are the ones that are going to be most helpful here at the moment.

We’ll get into retrieving, nose-nudging, pawing, carrying, bracing, and some other, specialty, tasks, later.

Woof, I’m thinking of many things for you to do!! I’m waiting for you, honey! And I’m preparing, but I’m sooooo impatient!! So eager!! I can hardly wait to see you and to hug you and to feel your soft ears. There is nothing like the soft ears of a Lab! Hurry and come home, Woof! We are waiting!!

*This beautiful PAALS pup will NOT be my Woof, but is demonstrating just one of the many tasks taught the dogs before they are partnered.  Notice that it is time for her to move to a larger harness! Pups go through 5 or more harnesses as they grow!