Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: service dogs making a difference

Service

Please accept my apologies. This was scheduled to go live Wednesday, 12/5/18. It failed to publish for reasons I don’t understand.

Like many people around the world, I was touched by this photo of President George H. W. Bush’s service dog Sully by his casket this weekend.

The late President George H.W. Bush’s service dog Sully helped him with “a list that’s two pages long” of tasks, after his wife Barbara passed away earlier this year. Photo by Evan Sisley.

I’ve written about service animals repeatedly on this blog, including in a series of Images of Interest in January 2017, the first of which is here. Several species can be taught to perform a variety of helpful tasks, including monkeys and miniature horses, but the vast majority of service animals (as opposed to emotional support animals or ESAs), and the ones most clearly identified as such in the ADA language, are dogs.

Regulatory language established under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, says “service animals must be individually trained to do work or carry out tasks” on behalf of the disabled person. The original language did not specify acceptable species, but currently only dogs are recognized as service animals under Title II and Title III, but an exception is made for miniature horses in some cases.

What are they “individually trained” to do? Here’s a video that offers a sampling of three major kinds of service training, as guide dogshearing dogs, and mobility dogs:



However, those three specialty areas are only the beginning. They can be trained to do all sorts of things.

There has, of course, been controversy recently about emotional support animals traveling and having access to facilities from which pets are banned, particularly in the wake of an incident when a woman attempted to bring a “comfort peacock” on a United flightIn October 2018, Southwest Airlines limited acceptable species to dogs, cats, and miniature horses

Miniature horses mostly appear to be used as guide animals for the blindHere’s an overview with several good pictures, including a situation that occurred in a devout Muslim family. Their culture considers dogs to be unclean animals, and therefore not acceptable in the home–but horses are okay. I also found a rather fuzzy 2009 video from The Rachael Ray Show (they’re worrying about ADA regulations that ultimately did include guide horses) but Ann Edie and Panda, the guide horse Rachael Ray featured, are also featured in a much clearer video from 2017.

No, cats can’t be service animals under ADA regulations (after all cats have staff. They aren’t servants themselves! That would be a perversion of nature. Right?). But apparently they can be ESAs, according to Southwest. Currently banned are all other animals, including ferrets, pigs, parrotsmonkeys, and, yes, peacocks.

If you’re wondering what will become of Sully, who was trained by America’s VetDogsthe family and American VetDogs has announced that “Sully will be joining the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Facility Dog Program.” As Kathleen Curthoys put it in her Military Times article, “Sully will work with other dogs assisting with physical and occupational therapy to wounded soldiers and active-duty personnel during their recovery at Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland.” 

IMAGES: Many thanks to Military Times, for Evan Sisley‘s photo of Sully by his late master’s casket, to Omni Military Loans for the video about service dogs, and to All 4 for the video about Panda the guide horse.

A “pawsitive” difference for Hospice patients

The Artdog Image(s) of Interest

This week’s “making a positive difference” (perhaps I should say a “Pawsitive” difference) Image of Interest is drawn from a video. Anyone who has followed this blog for a while has undoubtedly picked up on my love and respect for service animals of all types, but this week’s image is important to me for several reasons.

First, I have a family member whose certified Emotional Support dog has recently become a crucial part of winning her battle with addiction. Second, this week has been especially tough for several of my friends as a mutual acquaintance has gone into Hospice care for the final stage of her life.

I have long been an advocate of animal therapy for a variety of situations. this includes supporting children’s reading with dogs, therapy animals in hospitals and hospice settings, and service animals that assist the disabled, or help those with health issues (diabetes and seizure disorders to name just two) stay on top of their conditions.

Does your pet have the makings of a good therapy animal? Purebred or rescue, critters with the right temperament can make an incredible difference. I hope you’ll find inspiration in this video, which features the work of several different therapy dogs, including Lanie, who’s featured in our photo above.

IMAGE and VIDEO: Both the still photo and the video about San Diego Hospice therapy dog program demonstrate their well-deserved reputation as a “pioneering organization in end-of-life care.” Unfortunately, this program closed in 2016. I’ve chosen to post the images anyway, because they still demonstrate some of the best positive aspects of therapy animal work.

Yet more evidence that dogs are wonderful

The other day I came upon what I think is a wonderful story from the Denver, Colorado area. I’ve shared stories about a variety of service dogs on this blog, but this is the first “facility dog” I’ve encountered. 

This is one way that Pella helps comfort child witnesses, out of sight of the jury.

This program in Colorado was born of the persistent vision and efforts of criminal investigator Amber Urban, who got the idea from the Courthouse Dogs program in Seattle, WA. Over time, the Arapahoe County Courthouse has become one of several courthouses and child-services facilties where Pella and others like her are now accepted.

Pella helps children feel more empowered during what can be an extremely stressful interview or turn on the witness stand. The interviewers make a point of letting the child decide if Pella should be there or not (giving him or her a bit of control, in what is almost guaranteed to be a frightening, out-of-control experience).

IMAGES: Many thanks to the Denver Post’s excellent 8/18/2016 article about Pella and the “facility dogs” program in Colorado, by John Wenzel, from which some of the background material for this post was drawn, for the photo of Pella in “stealth mode” on the witness stand, and to YouTube, OakwoodNS, and KUSA for the 2012 video clip about Pella.

A dog who gives new hope (and sleep) to the whole family

The Artdog Image of Interest 
Dogs can be trained to do all kinds of things to help their deaf or hearing-impaired owners. Meet Klara and her Hearing Dog Jasper, who’s made a world of difference for the whole family.

VIDEO: Many thanks to NDCS (National Deaf Children’s Services) of the UK, and to YouTube for this video.

A dog who has this veteran’s back

The Artdog Image of Interest 
Here’s another service dog video. This one tells the story of a Canadian Afghanistan War vet whose PTSD was ruining his life. Now his service dog Norman “has my back.” Man and dog demonstrate some of the ways that Norman helps.

VIDEO: Many thanks to CBC News, and YouTube for this video.

A dog who gave a girl a more active life

The Artdog Image of interest

Here’s another service dog video. This time it’s George, a Great Dane who’s making an amazing difference in the life of a little girl named Bella.

VIDEO: Many thanks to The Doctors, and YouTube for this video.

A dog who made a difference

The Artdog Image of Interest 
This week’s image of interest is a video about a little boy with autism, and the dog who made all the difference in his world. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

VIDEO: Many thanks to Talent Hounds and YouTube for this video.

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