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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!!

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Assistance Dogs Get Travel Boost 29 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Airplane, Bus, Going Places, Handicap-Accessible, Public Transportation, Train, Travel, Wheelchair.
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It would seem that in Great Britain there is an ongoing upgrading of the train system to make the carriages and stations more accessible to the handicapped! Good for them!

Endal gets on a train

Endal gets on a newly-designed
British train carriage!

Now wouldn’t it be nice if all our transportation systems were this accessible to the handicapped and to service dogs?! The British are using the model of a wheelchair user with a service dog to improve their system nation wide. This is very encouraging.

Any person requiring a service dog, whether seeing-eye, hearing-ear, mobility, or psychotherapeutic, deserves accessibility of travel systems. All travel systems: auto, bus, train, airlines, and, eventually, space travel, should be handicap-accessible in all ways.

Lest I be accused of omitting the handicapped who do not have or do not require a service dog, I want to iterate that this blog is about service dogs. But handicap-accessible should mean handicap-accessible with or without a service dog.

I do not require accessibility on most public transportation – I don’t use public transportation. The bus-train system is much too fatiguing for me to use. I very rarely have to fly anywhere. But when I do, I have found it to be quite awkward and difficult. I can’t imagine trying to manage it with my Woof.

Autos can be made more accessible by retrofitting them with more accessible doors, specialized steering and control devices. I’m not suggesting that service dogs drive! The doors could be made so that the dogs could open and close them, though, just as the British train carriage cars are being made so that service dogs can open and close them. Will it require some thinking and re-engineering? Yup! Can it be done? Of course!

As my grandchildren say – “Let’s gopher it!”

And please don’t forget to 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.
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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!!