Archive for the ‘Service Dogs’ Category

Tyler, my Program Trained(?) Service Dog

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Tyler, my first service dog, I received from the Prison Pet Partnership Program. The program is located in the Women’s Correctional Center at Purdy, Washington. The program trains inmates that are lifers, meaning they are serving a life sentence. It makes NO sense to train an inmate that is going to be leaving prison in a few years, so they train those that are going to be in prison for the rest of their lives, or more probably, for 25 years or more.

I applied for a service dog through this program after I saw woman and her service dog. The dog was VERY well trained, and helped the woman in a variety of tasks. I was impressed, and the Program Director met me and said I was a good canidate for a service dog (or as they called them, Mobility Assistance dogs). Well, I signed up, and then sat and waited. And waited. Finally, Six years, later, I got the phone call. I was being matched with a young male Labrador Retriever, Tyler.

I was to report to the Women’s Correctional Center at Purdy for two weeks of training. Two weeks of half-day training, as they had found that many disabled couldn’t handle full-day training. I reported as requested and met Tyler’s inmate trainer, Trish, a young woman who’d assisted in a corner grocery store robbery (she waited out in the car), and the person with her had killed a man, but the way the Washington State law is written, because she was on the scene of the crime, she was charged with murder as well. Trish had already been at the Women’s Prison for at least 10 years when I met her. She was brash, rude, and loud. There is no privacy at the women’s prison.

I spent the first part of the day learning dog commands (there weren’t many), how to give a verbal commands and how to correct him. Once I was done with the training (only 3 days). I was left completely alone with him. With NO backup.

I called a friend of mine that trained her own service dog, with the help of a dog training place, Paws-Abilities, and she invited me there. Once there, I COMPLETELY retrained Tyler.

Four years later, we were out in public when he had jumped a guide dog on the bus. I decided right then and there to take him to the vet, but also to retire him immediately. The guide dog wasn’t harmed. But I was embarrassed, as I had trained Tyler from knowing the 3 commands he came with, and being dog and child aggressive, to knowing over 25 commands, and being safe around children and other dogs, although, I did, for my own piece of mind, keep an eye on him when he was around children and other dogs.

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The ADA has been changed for the worse!

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) has been modified so that the definition of service animal applies ONLY to dogs and miniature horses. Those with capachin monkeys (http://www.monkeyhelpers.org/, do not have a service animal, and while the monkeys are in home helpers only, this means the disabled person does not qualify for special breaks on taxes, as well as costs in caring for their animal.

Capachin monkeys are used by severely disabled (quadriplegic) persons to pick up items, wash the disabled person, as well as other tasks. The monkey is cared for by one of the disabled person’s attendants and becomes the primary caregiver for the animal, NOT the disabled person, although, the disabled person is the person that gives the commands and the praise/correction.

I just find it disheartening that the ADA has been changed to only allow dogs and miniature horses as service animals. Telling me that the Guide dog/Animal Schools were heavy in their lobby as miniature horses are used as guide animals only. Truth be told, if it were only guide dogs, the blind wold be very happy and wouldn’t care less about the rest of us… and no, I’m not kidding. When I worked on RCW 49.60 and 70.84, the blind lobby wanted it so that ONLY their dogs were allowed. Sorry, not gonna happen.

Good-bye 2010, Hello 2011!

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

[Something that I meant to post on New Years Eve and it never got posted]

It’s December 31st and as I sit here and contemplate the last year (or my navel), depending on your point of view, I find that I have some thoughts to put down from what happened over the last year.

First of all, I decided to go back to school and get my degree. I was pretty excited about the whole thing as it was going to be totally online and would give me some validity in the disabled and business community as I tried to get businesses to comply with the ADA as I’d have my Associates Degree. I gathered my paperwork and was set to start school on January 2nd. New year, new project, as I haven’t been in school for nearly 30 years. Then the brakes got applied. Keith, my husband of nearly 20 years, did NOT want me to go back to school. I could not talk him out of it. There was no reason for it he said, and so I’m not going back to school, for now. I fully plan to try again for next year, but with the budgets being cut, I doubt the financial aid will be there next year. We shall see. I tried to get Keith to see that after I got my degree I could make some serious money getting businesses to be ADA compliant, but he wouldn’t listen. He doesn’t think I’ll be able to recoup the costs of school, which would be a student loan to cover what Federal grants did not cover in my Financial Aid package. About $19,000.

Got me thinking that maybe he doesn’t want me independent, that he wants me as helpless as possible. Even though he complains every day when he helps me get dressed (pants and shoes only) and has to help me with other daily living things.

Our house is a mess (think the TV show Hoarders), and he won’t help clean it up. I do have a plan to clean it up this next year. Check back here for more on that.

I have sleep apnea, and I went through one night of a sleep study and within the first 2 hours I was put on C-PAP, and I need to do the 2nd night and see if I need to go on B-PAP, which is for Bi-Level. We’ll see how it goes. I hope to get it done soon, as I do not sleep well at all, since I do stop breathing. While on CPAP during that test, I guess I basically passed out, since I could BREATHE. The machine is noisy, tho. And expensive, and we waited too long, and my insurance isn’t as good next year as it was this year. Instead of 100%, it’s 20% co-insurance… nothing I can do about that… stupid insurance companies.

I’m not sure how this is going to work, but we’ll have to pay for it… or *I* will have to pay for it I’m sure it’s pretty expensive. I haven’t done that much research on it… I plan to correct that oversight in the next few days.

Going to the Inlaws

Friday, December 24th, 2010

It’s that time of the year again… and for the 2nd time, I’m going to my Father-in-laws for the holidays, and leaving Chewbacca, my service dog, in our van. His wife, Cheri, is deathly afraid of dogs, and will not have my service dog in her house. This all started when Kent married Cheri, and we bought Gillis over to their house – he was a puppy. Smaller than their dog. Gillis was well behaved, but I guess Cheri freaked out after I left and I couldn’t bring my dog over there anymore. So I didn’t go over there at all – Keith went alone, because I refused to leave my service dog at home. No way was I going to leave Gillis at home. Keith’s father refused to get Cheri medical help for her fear and I just can’t take it… it’s been 19 years, and frankly, it’s like a festering wound. untreated. How can you ignore such a thing?

And then last year, I relented, and took Chewie over there, and left him in the van while I spent a few hours with the family. There were a few comments. I almost left. If there are comments this year, I will leave. They just don’t understand. Chewie doesn’t do anything for me all the time. same with Gillis. You have to live with me to see what my service dog does for me.

Now, in a few hours, I’m going over there, and leaving Chewbacca in our van. Chewie won’t mind… he’ll sleep. He’s not like Gillis. He will just sleep in the back of the van and enjoy it, once he gets over the fact that he’s not coming in with me. He is attached to me, and does know what his job is, but once I leave him in the van, he’s okay with that. Gillis I couldn’t do that. Gillis was so attached, he’d go nuts being left in the van alone. Chewie is fine with it.

I still believe it’s wrong, but I guess I’ve mellowed in 19 years of marriage, I just wish Cheri would get help for her fear… why do *I* have to be the one to give on this? What does she do when she meets a dog in public? Scream and the dog goes away? I haven’t ever had the courage to ask.

It’s only a few hours… I’ll survive. I just wish it wasn’t a problem that is ignored, though. I wish she would get help… it’s like it’s shoved under the table. The inlaws have a dog, but it’s not the same. It’s not a BIG dog… so it’s okay. Yeah, sure it is. And the dog is uncontrollable. No discipline at all. But the family ignores that, but MY dog has to be perfect… at least when around the FIL and around Keith. *sigh* Double standard, that’s what it is.

Service Dogs go everywhere with you!

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Or “Service Dogs and Family”

Just got a phone call from my Mother In Law (MIL), who is taking me to my appointment at the University of Washington Center for Pain Relief. She called to ask if Chewie was coming with us. Chewie being Chewbacca, my Bovier/GSD Service Dog. I told her yes, Chewie was coming with us.

I just have to shake my head when I think about this question coming from my MIL. I have been married for 19 years. I have been using service dogs for EIGHTEEN years. In all those years, the only time that my dog has never gone with me is if me is if my dog is ill, or if I’m going into a facility where it’s a bad idea to have a service dog (hospital (and Chewie has gone with me but gone home with Keith) (MRI (and again gone there with me, but not gone into the actual procedure room)) and I can’t think of any others off the top of my head. And if Chewie has been with me, but can’t be actually WITH me during the procedure, then Keith has been the one that has taken care of him, not my inlaws.

It’s not that my inlaws don’t understand the law, they DO, but they actually, have never seen Chewie do anything for me. He helps me get up off the floor and I tend to only fall at home, and he helps me transfer to/from my wheelchair to another chair and the bed, and transfer to the car. Since we pretty much use our lift-equipped van 99% of the time, and Chewie can’t help me get up into that, he isn’t used for that.

I guess today, when I get into my MIL’s car, I will make sure and ‘use’ Chewie to get into and out of her car.

There’s also the issue of no backpack on Chewie right now. I need to get one of the clips replaced. One of the clips that hooks on the belly straps is missing, and until it is replaced, I can’t use the backpack. Chewie carries things for me, but he can’t do that, unless he’s wearing a backpack. I will have to make sure and get his backpack fixed in the next few days, and get Chewie used to being ‘dressed’ again.

Being ‘undressed’ has also screwed up what Chewie perceives as work. He doesn’t behave as well for Keith as he does for me because Keith lets him get away with things and his behavior in public places has suffered.

Chewie is NOT retired… Yet

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Jsut got off the phone with my dog trainer, and after talking to her for about an hour, I’ve decided that retiring Chewie is the wrong thing to do. In talking to Dana Babb, who used to run Paws-Abilities with her husband, Larry, she made mention that Chewie may have just been startled by something at Norwescon so that’s the reason he was resistant to getting out from under the club tables there.

I trust Dana. She’s been my dog trainer since I’ve had Tyler, almost 18 years ago, is when I first met her and her husband. She picked out Gillis, my previous service dog, which I call my ‘wonder dog’ and she’s helped me out with all sorts of problems.

If she says that my dog isn’t ready to be retired, then Chewie isn’t ready to be retired. This means I won’t be getting a puppy right away. I will probably wait another two years, before I get a Doberman Pinscher puppy to replace Chewie.

I’m actually very happy and relieved by this… I hated to have Chewie here at home, alone. Dana based her decision on the fact that Chewie was peeing in the house in big puddles. Not little (get back at you), piddles, but big (I have to go), puddles that were as close to the kitchen, or in the kitchen so that they weren’t causing much damage.

I hated leaving Chewie home alone, so my stress level is already dropping… maybe I’ll be able to get some sleep now. I haven’t really slept all that well since I picked Chewie up from my friend, Mike’s house about a month ago.

2010.07.29

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Looks like a Stardate doesn’t it? Well, I really couldn’t think of a title, and I haven’t really kept up the blog, something I’m having to train myself to do, as I know people ARE reading it. Things have been a little crazy around here since Chewie is home. He’s a mess. He’s licked himself hairless behind the tail and on his hind legs. He’s going to the vet on Saturday, and I hope the hair will grow back. I’m pretty sure it was nerves. He had to be put in a muzzle 24/7 except for when he was eating and drinking. He doesn’t do that here. He spends all his time in the bathroom sleeping, or laying behind my wheelchair.

Now there’s a difference since he’s come home. Usually when he went outside. He’d spend HOURS outside, barking at the other dogs and such. Now he just goes outside, does his business and wants back in. He is also sleeping in MY bathroom quite a bit. He still spends time in Keith’s bathroom, but I’ve noticed he spends most of his time in my bathroom, which is different. I think he’s happy to be home. He doesn’t really bark when someone comes to the door, but we’re working on that. I WANT him to bark. I don’t know if Mike told him not to bark, but he hasn’t barked since he’s been here.

I hope his hair loss isn’t permanent. I liked his coat. I know it’s just nervious llicking and he’s not doing much of it here. A ‘leave it’ and he stops, if he’s doing it at all. And he’s only doing a tiny bit. I guess I now know that I can’t get rid of him. Keith wants to take him to the pound. But I doubt anyone will want to adopt him. He couldn’t handle Mike’s house, and he was a friend. How is he going to handle a total stranger? Mike bent over backwards to deal with Chewie’s quirks, a stranger won’t do that.

I just hope Chewie can accept a new dog and that I can teach him that he can stay at home and not pee and poop in the house. He’s done that twice now… we were home both times, but it was nerves. Luckily, he chose to do the ‘dirty deed’ on the kitchen floor so it was easy to clean up. I just don’t know what I’m going to do when I want to go somewhere as Chewie isn’t a service dog anymore. By my choice.

Chewie is coming home!

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

It’s just not working out at our friend’s house. Chewie is having to wear a muzzle 24/7, except when he’s eating and drinking. He’s licking himself hairless and is visibly deteriorating, and Mike, the friend that wanted Chewie when I retired him, sent me a message on Facebook in response that Keith and I would be driving past his house because we are going to a play and we would stop in to see Chewie. He said to be prepared to take Chewie with us. Keith’s response to this was to suggest we take Chewie to the Animal Shelter. I won’t do that. And Keith’s comment was that I would have to watch Chewie grow old and die then. How insensitive can you get?

Anyway, so Chewie is coming home tomorrow. I’ve got my dog back, but I’m still going to get a new dog. Chewie will just have to learn to live with a 2nd dog in the house.

You do NOT need to REGISTER your Service Dog!!!!

Monday, July 5th, 2010

I was surfing the web, and I came across this blog… The United States Service Dog Registry. They register Service Dogs, and that’s not required under the Americans With Disabilities Act. I have spent nearly 18 years working against those that think service dogs need to be ‘certified’. Anyway. here’s what I posted.

This registry makes it harder when someone who does not register their dog tries to go into a public place! PLEASE PLEASE disaband your group! I am one of the top service dog experts in the US, and I have the #1 rated service dog web page on Google, Service Dogs and More! My dogs are NEVER registered, or certified! You only make it harder for those that follow a ‘registered’ service dog! While there DOES need to be standards, registered service dogs sends the wrong messages to businesses and the public!

I do not expect this comment to appear… Heh. Since this is a moderated blog… well, I’ve had my say… it made me feel better, and I know it’ll only be seen by one person. Too bad you won’t be confident enough to show this reply to your readers. Check out my blog as well. I will be posting this there.

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July 4th and Inlaws

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Here it is July 4th, and we’re heading to the Father In Laws. I am NOT looking forward to the visit. For the last 18 years, I have had to stay home because his WIFE, has ISSUES with big dogs. WEll, my 2nd Service Dog, Gillis, a Doberman, was smaller than their mini poodle when we went over there while Gillis was a puppy and she freaked out… and this was after she said she had “issues” with BIG dogs. Yeah, right.

So, now, no dog, and my husband says I now can go over there…he goes every year without me (with my blessing), so we’ll see how it goes, and see how long it takes before someone comments on how nice it is to see me with no dog, or I should have come and left the dog, etc, etc. Any anti dog comments and I am out of there. I know they will come… having dealt with her family for 18 years… yep, they will come.

We’ll just have to see how I’m feeling, whether I am nice or not when the comments come. I may decide to just say, “To hell with it” and tell Sheri what she can do with her “phobia”. I’ve had to “deal” with my CP, and she can deal with her dog phobia by getting over it. I will not be segregated from the family because she can’t deal with my dog… it’s like telling me I can’t bring my wheelchair. And it’s wrong.