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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.]

Who Can Service Dogs Help?? 15 July 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Partnership, Service Dogs, Tasks.
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For months now, I’ve been blithely writing about service dogs and how my Woof will help me when it gets here. But a friend asked me (in person, rather than commenting on this site) what service dogs really can do for people.

Wow! I was stumped for a minute – not to explain to her what a service dog CAN do, but to not “over do” my enthusiasm!

According to the Delta Society “Service dogs are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.”

We tend to think in terms of service dogs doing specific tasks – in my case, picking up my cane when I drop it, providing balance, dragging the laundry basket through the house. But there is this to consider, also – will taking care of the service dog use up too much of my all-too-minimal energy stores? OR, will the service dog actually help conserve my energy by performing some of the tasks that take a lot of my energy to do?

A service dog may help a person who is quite immobile to get more physical exercise and thereby increase their stamina. For some people, the service dog would provide a distraction from focusing on their pain and disability – they may find it easier to be more social. The service dog also can reduce the concerns of his partner’s family members and close friends in terms of worrying about safety issues and the well-being of his partner. After all, his partner may be eating better because the service dog is carrying the food from the refrigerator for him!

So it isn’t “just” the business of leading a visually impaired person around objects, or alerting someone with hearing deficits to the sounds of the telephone ringing or the doorbell ringing, or someone coming up behind her or calling her name. It isn’t “just” pulling a laundry basket from room to room or picking up objects and putting them in drawers or in the trash. It is a relationship, companionship, friendship.

Any person with a physical or mention problem that limits their life activities in a major way might be a candidate for a service dog. But some people might not be candidates. If caring for the service dog will be too strenuous, and there is no one to help, then a service dog may not be a good choice. A pet cat or other small animal that requires less grooming for maintaining command proficiency and for going out into the community may be a better choice.

For me, a service dog is the best answer, and I’m working very hard to find ways to raise funds without wiping out my stamina!

So that’s what I told my friend. And now I’ve told you! Any questions??

Having a Hard Time 27 May 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Partnership, Service Dogs, Tasks.
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But I’m working on my attitude as much as I can.

Woof, I need you! Let’s go for a walk! Outside, Out the side door, arond the drive way, 3 or 4 times. Then send you down to the mail box to get the mail, put it in a little wheeled cart and drag it back up the hill to me. Then around the drive way a few more times, and then back inside.

I think I’ll do that now (without the mail aspect) so I can start getting ready for you!

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!!

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.
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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!!

Special Harness-Based Tasks for Mobility Assistance – – 11 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Behavior, Harness-Based, Tasks, Training.
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(These are only appropriate for large, sturdy, adult dogs with sound joints, and proper training)

  •  Assist moving wheelchair on flat [partner holds onto harness pull strap] avoiding obstacles – fortunately, I will not need this one! I’m not in a wheelchair!
  • Work cooperatively with partner to get the wheelchair up a curb cut or mild incline; handler does as much of the work as possible, never asking the dog to attempt an incline unaided – again, I’m not in a wheelchair, so I won’t need this one.
  • Haul open heavy door, holding it ajar using six foot lead attached to back of harness, other end of lead attached to door handle or to a suction cup device on a glass door – this one I probably will need either now or at least eventually. My hands are getting weaker and more sore.
  • Tow ambulatory partner up inclines [harness with rigid handle or pull strap may be used] – I don’t think this will be necessary anytime soon, but it will be needed at some point in the future.
  • Brace on command to prevent ambulatory partner from stumbling [rigid handle] – this may be needed sooner rather than later, although I was hoping to avoid a rigid handle for a while!
  • Help ambulatory partner to climb stairs, pulling then bracing on each step [rigid handle or harness with pull strap may be used to assist partner to mount a step or catch balance] – Yup – this is a yepper. I need help with this already.
  • Pull partner out of aisle seat on plane, then brace until partner catches balance [harness with a rigid handle and a pull strap, or pull strap only] – not on a plane, so much, but in restaurants and from my chair here at the house, too.
  • Brace, counter balance work too, assisting ambulatory partner to walk; the partner pushes down on the rigid handle as if it were a cane, after giving warning command, when needed – I don’t know about this one. I think my cane is sufficient, and a walker, when the time come.
  • Help ambulatory partner to walk short distance, brace between each step [rigid handle] – again, my cane and a walker when the time comes. But it’s good to know that the Woof can help me with this.
  • Transport textbooks, business supplies or other items up to 50 lbs in a wagon or collapsible cart, weight limit depends on dog’s size, physical fitness, type of cart, kind of terrain – This may be important. I don’t usually carry large amounts of materials with me, but there are rare occasions when I do carry up to 30 lbs of materials for presentations – my computer for Powerpoint presentations, handouts, etc. – not great for someone with RA and fibromyalgia! I usually go into flares of both diseases the day after one of those. The Woof pulling a cart with my materials in it would make a B-I-G difference!
  • Backpacking – customary weight limit is 15% of the dog’s total body weight;10% if a dog performing another task, such as wheelchair pulling in addition to backpacking; total weight includes harness (average 3 – 4 lbs.). Load must be evenly distributed to prevent chafing. This would be perfect for an average visit to a client’s office.

So, while I won’t need many harness-based assistance tasks, there are some that will be very important to me.  I’ll have to be careful to not exhaust the Woof! My needs could overpower the Woof’s ability to fulfill them!!

Brace Me, Baby 8 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Brace, Support PAALS, Tasks, Training.
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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.

BRACING BASED TASKS (no harness)

  • 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!

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!

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!

Is it just me – – 7 February 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Behavior, Discipline, Needs, Tasks.
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– – or are there more undisciplined dogs “out there?” Dogs that don’t come when called, that jump all over people, that run away. How do people STAND having dogs like this??

The Ol’ Curmudgeon had dogs as a child and teen and young adult. They were well-disciplined, well-trained. They all would come when called and sit, stay, and do other “basic” commands. I will admit that our Zoar was not particularly well disciplined, but she wasn’t “ours,” she belonged to our youngest son. When he went into the Navy, we did not try to start training – she was 3 years old, and was pretty stubborn and “sot in her ways.” We did not have the energy or the methods available to address the high exercise needed for her breed. (We now have methods to address the high exercise needs.)

There is a person we know who thinks being “the alpha wolf in the pack” is “cruel.” The dog in that household is an untrustworthy cringer. I worry about that dog with children. It barks when anyone comes to the door – even people who are family members. Even the husband or wife or child. It does not respond when told to be quiet, and has to be restrained and put in a separate room.

I’m so looking forward to my Woof – a well trained, well disciplined dog. A dog who has jobs to do and whose greatest joy is to do his jobs and be praised for them.

Oh, Woof, I’m waiting for you so eagerly – – –

Toothaches and Woofs – – 5 February 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Here Fido!, Needs, Tasks.
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I don’t think there’s much the Woof would be able to do for my nasty toothache – an old root canal has cracked and abscessed (eeeeeeeeewwwwww!). I’m on antibiotics and painkillers – which put me into “woozyland.” When I’m not in “woozyland” I’m in “miseryland,” so I’m NOT good company.

The nice thing about the Woof (and Magnus, the Magnifi-cat) is that he won’t care that I’m not “good” company. He will love me anyway! He will be patient and loving. Magnus snuggles up against me and purrs. The Woof will sit by me, put his head in my lap and look into my eyes with his. He will thump his tail on the floor. When I’m up to walking around, he would help me get up, walk with me, and help me keep my balance. Magnus can’t do that. (And, since he’s a cat, I don’t think he would if he could!)

It is when things like this happen that I realize how much help the Woof will be for things other than pure mobility. As the Ol’ Curmudgeon is on a business trip, I would feel much better if Woof were here to go next door to get help for me – for instance if I just collapse from the “woozy-meds” (as I almost have a couple of times). It’s just maddening – I have to plan to be in pain to be up to prepare meals, then take the “woozy-meds” so I can eat them. Even soup is painful. Next week, after surgery, I will be on soups and puddings – period. For now, I’m not even up to fixing soup. Just tossing something in the microzap.

Come, Woof – get the bag out of the Microzap and bring it to me! O Gosh, I have to make another trip into the kitchen to get the dratted bag out of the microzap. Come on, Woof!!

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

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

Pick Up the Track, Jack — 13 January 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Service Dogs, Tasks.
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I have a stair lift. It is essential to my going up and down the stairs so I can go in and out of the house. The bottom part of the track folds up and down to access the floor. Because it takes up floor space, I had not been folding it down until recently. My hips haven’t been cooperating as well or as consistently in the past few weeks, however, so, I’ve been folding down the bottom part of the track. I push it down with my cane as the chair descends. But once folded down, I can’t bring it back up when I ride up the stairs. My cane can’t catch under the edge of it. I was thinking that Woof could be taught to lift the track back up. Wouldn’t that be a good idea?

Pick up the track, Woof!

Kewl!

Service dog picks up a fork
This is a yellow lab from the Lancelot Foundation picking up a fork for her partner. Isn’t she wonderful?!