jump to navigation

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.]


National Service Dog Week 6 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in PAALS, Service Dogs, Support PAALS.
add a comment
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!!

= = = = =

[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.
add a comment

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.

What’s Happening to the Laundry?! 22 May 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Laundry, Support PAALS.
add a comment

Until recently, I thought maybe my Woof would be able to help me with the laundry like the service dog in this video:

BUT . . . I’ve had to change my mind. This week has been pretty exciting – not necessarily all in a “good” way. The washer went out – in a big, bad way – on Monday. So looking at the way the replacements are working out, and the heights they need to be for me right now, the Ol’ Curmudgeon will make the pedestal 19 inches high. If things change, maybe the Ol’ Curmudgeon will change the height of the pedestal.

Many things to consider.

But I’ll still need to keep open the option of canine assistance with taking laundry to and from the laundry nook!

Hard to Move About 11 May 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Disability, Service Dogs, Support PAALS.
1 comment so far

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.

Boy wants a dog’s help 22 April 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Mobility, PAALS, Service Dogs, Support PAALS.
add a comment

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.
add a comment

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.
add a comment

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.
add a comment

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!

Happy Note on Disability and Service Dogs! 14 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Ability, Equipment, Harness-Based, Mobility, Support PAALS, Tasks, Training, Tugging, Wheelchair.
add a comment

Check this out!

Ms. Wheelchair uses Title to Invite Conversation

Now, isn’t that refreshing! And isn’t her service dog gorgeous?! Notice in the pictures how she TUGS to open a door, and uses SPECIAL HARNESS-BASED TALENTS to pull her partner’s wheelchair! What a smart girl!!

My Woof will be just as smart when she gets here. Please remember to support PAALS!!

Brace Me, Baby 8 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Brace, Support PAALS, Tasks, Training.
add a comment

Some tasks don’t require tugging, nudging, pawing or retrieving! They just require bracing. The dog stands and “braces” while the partner uses the weight of the dog to pull against or to balance against. These are tasks that do not require a harness. Harness-based tasks will be considered separately later.


  • Transfer assistance from wheelchair to bed, toilet, bathtub or van seat – Hold, Stand, Stay, position, then brace on command, enabling partner to keep their balance during transfer. This is mostly for partners who are paras or quads.
  • Position self and brace to help partner catch balance after partner rises from a couch or other seats in a home or public setting. This is very much a “biggie” for me.
  • Prevent fall by bracing on command if the partner needs help recovering balance. Again, this is a biggie for me. I am not real steady on my feet on some days.
  • Steady partner getting in or out of the bathtub – yep, this is something I need, too!
  • Assist partner to turn over in bed; have appropriate backup plan. I do not need this, but many paras or quads need this.
  • Pull up partner with a strap [tug of war style] from floor to feet on command, then brace till partner catches balance. Again, this is not a service I need, but it is something needed by many paras and quads.

Bracing is the first task I identified that a service dog could do to change my life. My husband or one of my sons was constantly having to help me get out of chairs. If no one was around, either I was stuck, or I had to struggle and struggle to get up with my cane and the arms of chairs. Since my hands hurt much of the time, it is hard to put much pressure on them, to lean on them, to pull or push with them. So I rely on my forearms – except when my elbows and shoulders are painful. And my hips and knees are stiff and painful, too. My sons, daughter and husband know how to brace and offer an arm for me to hook my arm around to pull up without putting too much strain on them or on me. And this is what Woof will learn to do. Brace for me to hook my arm on to a lead and pull up without putting too much strain on Woof or on me!

So, Brace me, Baby! Help me up! Help me into and out of the tub! Help me out of bed! Keep me from falling! What a bright world it will be with my Woof Bracing me!

Please support PAALS!

He’s a Nudger! 4 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Nudging, Support PAALS, Training.

Nudging is a nose task. Aubrey, one of PAALS’ pups-in-training, is learning to nudge to turn on a light switch:

Aubrey Learns to Nudge
Aubry is NOT going to be my Woof, but is one
of the puppies-in-training at PAALS

This is an important task. Not only is it important to turning light switches on and off but think about all the other things nudging can be involved with:

  • Nudging cupboard door or drawers shut
  • A hard nudge to shut the dryer door
  • A hard nudge to push shut a stove drawer closed
  • Put muzzle under the open dishwasher door and flip it shut; hard nudge to close it
  • Close the refrigerator & freezer doors with a nudge
  • Call 911 on K-9 rescue phone by pushing the button with a nudge
A K-9 Emergency Phone
  • Operate the button or push plate on electric commercial doors
  • Turn on light switches – as Aubrey is learning to do in the photo at the top of the page!
  • Push floor pedal device to turn on lamp
  • Turn on metal based lamps with touch-lamp device installed – nudge base of lamp
  • Assist wheelchair user to regain sitting position if slumped over by putting muzzle under the partner’s shoulder or chest and pressing upward
  • Help put paralyzed arm back onto the armrest of wheelchair by putting muzzle under the partner’s arm and moving it back onto the armrest
  • Return paralyzed foot to the foot board of a wheelchair if it is dislodged

These are only a few of the many tasks that may involve nudging. Obviously, I won’t require all of these! The ones I’m interested in are in bold blue.

For me, when that alarm goes off in the mornings, I don’t need a nudge to get up, but after I’ve made coffee and taken Himself’s first cup back to him, it would be good for Woof to learn to go back and nudge him on command for me to help me get him up! That sleep disorder of his has been simply a fact of life for us for 30+ years, but a bit of help in the mornings would be wonderful!! Send the Woof back to nudge him, then wait about 10 minutes, then send Woof back to nudge him again!! Boy! think of all the trips that would save me! And my back and my knees and my voice from yelling across the house when my back and knees don’t work!

How about nudging the track of the stair lift? The stair lift is a piece of equipment without which I cannot live in this house! This is an “upside-down ranch.” The garage is below, we live above. To enter the house, people climb a beautiful curved brick stair with a wrought-iron railing. I don’t. I have to go in through the garage and the basement and up the stairlift. Now, in order to get all the way to the floor, the track has to fold down. It takes up space on the floor, so it folds back up. But if I’m on the chair, trying to go up, I can’t lift the dratted track up, can I? There isn’t a method for doing that. Himself and I have had many conversations about ropes and chains and other B&S equipment {wicked, wicked grin} for making it possible for me to raise the track on my way back up the stairs. Nothing has come of these discussions, so far, except a bunch of muttered imprecations as Himself trips over the track. Perhaps Woof nudging the track up will provide The Answer to this problem which is becoming more and more Major.

Chair comes down and touches track
Stairlift has come down the track and now
rests against the bottom part of the
track which is in the “up” position.
I can push it down with my cane with
no problem at this point in time.
The track is down
The track is in the “down” position.
From sitting in the chair, however,
I cannot raise it back up.
As you can see, it is a tripping
hazard for the Ol’ Curmudgeon!
From the other side
From this side, you can see the
Woof could put his muzzle under
the track and nudge it upward.
There is a “spring load” in it that
makes it very easy to raise –
it just doesn’t spring up

Then there is the medicine chest. Not the little mirrored cabinet over the sink in the bathroom. A 4-drawer plastic wheeled Iris chest I bought from Office Depot that barely contains all the medications we have to take now that we have to get them 3 months at a time from “Don’t-Caremark” (plus all the vitamins and supplements). I keep it in the living room. Himself wheels it to my chair twice a day, and I push it back with my cane when I’m through dispensing our 18 pills apiece. It would nice if Woof learns to nudge that little wheeled chest back into place!Lots of nudging will be going on here at Haus von Riggs! Please support PAALS so my Woof can come soon!!

My Bodacious Babes Approve! 27 January 08

Posted by mtriggs in Service Dogs, Sponsorship, Support PAALS.
add a comment

Went to my Red Hat chapter meeting yesterday! We had a blast, as usual. Several potential new members were there – really neat people! I’m looking forward to the new year. We’ll be having a great time doing some really fun things!

But I was even more encouraged by the responses of the members to my overtures about my Woof. They were 100% supportive! Several had great ideas for how to make some money for the Woof. They are all looking forward to meeting my Woof.

Before I went to the meeting, I stopped off at a fast food place (which will remain nameless for now). After I finished my favorite fast-food meal (yummm) I spoke to the very, very nice manager, who assured me that he would be delighted to send the corporate package forward and see if the local owner would be willing to support my efforts!!

I feel like I’m really on my way!

Woof, come home!

= = = = =

The following is from:


Maggie - Pic #1 Maggie - Pic #1

Maggie - Pic #3

Maggie - Pic #4 Maggie - Pic #5

This seven-year old Labrador Retriever Service Animal serves as a Mobility Assistant Canine for a man who is attending a university. Without Maggie, her Handler would not be able to function independently in society due to his disabilities, but the university is insisting his Service Canine is a “pet”, and is threatening to dismiss the student from school, if he returns with Maggie because they were not presented with written documentation proving Maggie was indeed a Service Animal. (While school authorities consistently referred to Maggie as a “pet”).

“Despite the fact that Maggie’s Handler presented the school authorities with a prescription from his physician, the officials at the university decided that was not sufficient information. In truth, Maggie’s Handler did not need to provide ANY certification, prescription, or other documentation to prove his requirement for a Service Animal and in fact, this university is breaking the Federal Law by insisting for documentation. The only information the school system may request is knowledge of the task Maggie provides her Handler.

“This is a rather appalling situation Wheel Me On… learned about regarding a member of our organization who must have his Service Canine with him at all times. The fact of the matter is educators or persons who work in an environment of “teaching” should certainly be aware of the Federal Law. How much more obvious does Maggie need to be as a Service Animal?

“Maggie is registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) and weighs 56-pounds. She was already trained with public access and obedience when her present Handler/Owner received her, who complimented her earlier training with mobility needs for himself, and used Top Dog Training books, Team Work and Team Work 2, to help with her training. Her tasks include helping her Handler get off the floor and raising him from the floor. Additionally, Maggie provides her Handler with mobility assistance and relieves related anxiety pain by providing a stable platform for her Handler to lean on, for balance difficulties.

“Maggie wears a harness and her Vest has been ordered for replacement, because her old one was shredded to pieces, by eight Beagle and four Coon Hound puppies. Maggie’s Handler is presently training four Beagle canines as Therapy Service Animals that will soon be ready to go to a good home for healing assistance.

A. Michleski, Handler/Owner

“Editors Note: All schools, whether universities, colleges, public or private schools should be aware of the Federal Law under the ADA and the United States Department of Justice, especially with as many other government facilitators and ADA mediators who are available to assist. There is NO excuse for any school to discriminate against a person who requires a Service Animal for his or her health or safety.”

How to Become a Service Dog – Part II 24 January 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Bond, Partnership, Puppy, Raising, Sponsorship, Support PAALS, Tasks, Training.
add a comment

Once a Puppy has been Sponsored and Raised, trained in basic obedience, it must learn all the special things it will need to do as a Service Dog. By this time, the Pup-o-lescent’s personality is pretty well formed, and the dog can be matched with a potential partner. The needs of that partner are determined, and the training of the dog begins in earnest.

Opening and closing drawers, doors, and cabinets. Pushing big buttons on command or in certain situations (emergency 911 button). Bracing to help someone get up out of or down into a chair. Retrieving objects from the floor, or another room. Picking up dropped objects. Going and getting someone. These tasks and more may be needed by the partner. Once the basic tasks are learned, it’s time to meet the partner!!

What a day! I look forward to that day with greatly suppressed excitement!! The day I actually meet my Woof!! When we begin to train together! When we begin bonding together! When I actually feel him or her lick my face and hands and nudge my arms and sides! When we walk together and I drop my cane and he picks it up for me for the first time! Oh what a joyful day that will be!! The first time he helps me get up from a chair. The first time he opens a heavy door for me, or retrieves a dropped can at the grocery store, or carries files in a little saddle bag into an attorney’s office for me! What a day!

Becoming a Service Dog is a series of joys – the joy of puppyhood, the joy of learning new things, the joy of meeting new people and the joy of bonding with a lifetime partner the joy of having jobs to do and playtimes with the partner.

Working dog breeds MUST have jobs to do in order to be happy. So Service Dogs, being working dogs, are happiest when doing jobs and playing. We are going to have a wonderful time. We will have the jobs that have been identified ahead of time, and then we will identify jobs for the dog to do that we didn’t realize I needed done. I’m also looking forward to playing get the ball and get the frisbee with the dog. Since PAALS uses Labrador Retrievers, they are obsessive about chasing balls and frisbees and truly enjoy playing chase and retrieve – after all, they are “Retrievers!” I can sit on the back porch and toss the frisbee or the ball. If I get to the point I can’t throw anymore, we can get a ball thrower machine, or the grandchildren can throw balls for me.

Another fun thing for Service Dogs is to go to the Dog Park and play with other dogs! I will have to be sure that the Woof’s immunizations for EVERYTHING are up-to-date, though. Don’t want him to catch anything that’s preventable!

And that’s how to become a Service Dog! Only very fortunate puppies can become Service Dogs. It takes a lot of people and a lot of money. It takes vet visits, behavioral assessments, x-rays, genetic testing, blood tests, the right diet, loving puppy raisers, talented trainers and a willing partner. It also takes people who are willing to contribute to the program. Either a lot of money from a few people, or a little money from a lot of people. PAALS subsists on tax-deductible contributions from individuals and businesses. Please help bring a lucky puppy and a lucky partner together by your contribution! No contribution too large or too small! If you wish to support my getting together with my “Woof,” please put my name on the check or on the credit card invoice. I’m shameless when it comes to getting my “Woof!” I need him and he needs me!

Lancelot picks up a fork!

This is a beautiful Service Dog from the Lancelot Foundation – she is not going to be my dog, and does not come from PAALS. She just picked up the fork her partner dropped! Look at her eyes – she is waiting for that “thank you” response from her partner. When she gets it, she will immediately have “happy eyes” and “happy ears” and her tail will wag all over the place! It takes little to make a Service Dog happy – just a “Good girl!” and a pat on the head. Love is what it’s all about – the love of the Service Dog for his partner, and the love of the partner for his Service Dog.

More About Different Kinds of Service Dogs . . . 17 January 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Psychiatric, Service Dogs, Support PAALS.
add a comment

“Psychiatric Service Dogs…

…are service dogs individually trained to perform tasks which mitigate the psychiatric disabilities of their disabled partners.

There has been some confusion and some heated debate about psychiatric service dogs (PSDs). First let’s clarify the difference between a therapy dog and a psychiatric service dog. A therapy dog is an individual’s pet which has been trained, tested, certified and insured to work in hospital, nursing home, school, and other institutional settings.” [MORE HERE]

There are many other kinds of service dogs, and I’ll be posting information here about each of them from time to time.

In the meantime – Please support PAALS!

Trapped in a Box — 15 January 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Ability, Here Fido!, Mobility, Partnership, Service Dogs, Support PAALS.
add a comment

“I felt like I was trapped in a box … “

One recipient of an assistance dog said that he felt that way until he received his dog.

Until PAALS gets their videos made, I’m posting the videos from other, older, organizations. This one is from Dogs for the Disabled. But I’m still promoting support for PAALS!!

This is about 9 minutes and worth every second!! Enjoy!!

I’m still waiting!!

Service Dogs At Work 10 January 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Service Dogs, Support PAALS.
add a comment

This little video shows a Golden Retriever as a service dog for a mobility disabled person. It can help her take off her jacket, take off her socks, empty the dryer and take the laundry basket to the proper place, open drawers, close drawers, open doors, close doors, herd the pack of other dogs in the house and help train puppies (!) to be service dogs. It’s quite a doggie!

Isn’t this just a wonderful dog! Mine will be able to do most of these things, and some other things, too.

Mine will be from PAALS.

SHAMELESS PROMOTION: Please support PAALS with a donation – no donation too large or too small!! 🙂 They take all credit cards and PayPal.