Service Animal Informative Informative - Service Animals

Review by Arlene on 2011-10-19
It's been about 3 1/2 years since we did anything about service animals, and its been requested that I start a new thread here. Some folks have questions....ask away, I'll answer what I can and research what I can't to get answers.

Bearbear and Munchkin are both doing well, Bearbear has slowed down a bit and is carried, or put in a stroller since the loss of his leg, but he's still on the ball as far as his service work goes. Munchkin, was also training as a hearing assist dog for Star and she's gone on to better things for him, she detects when his blood glucose is too high or too low and she's right every time. She's not a big one on hearing assist, she leaves that up to her brother. She's also turned into quite an ESD (Emotional Support Dog) for more than just Star. We have a couple friends who come over to sit and hold her and you can see the stress and tension slip away from them.

Feel free to ask questions and we'll get them answered for you, I'm sure Star will jump in there and help out as well.
Comments:19 Replies - Latest reply on 2011-10-21
Posted by V on 2011-10-19:
What a nice thing to do ^_^ Thank you!
Posted by D. on 2011-10-19:
Awwwww BearBear!
I hope you get a pic of Munchkin soon to post. It's been awhile since we've seen her.
Posted by Arlene on 2011-10-19:
Service animals are largely misunderstood, people feel that to be of service, the dog has to be large...as you can see, Bearbear is 5 1/2 pounds and he has the best ears...I'm deaf in one ear and have 75 - 80% hearing left in the other, I depend on him to alert for me. He tells me which phone is ringing, if someone is at the door, if the microwave goes off or the alarm clock....and if the smoke detector goes off....he's in "spaz mode"...he WILL get your attention!!
Posted by Arlene on 2011-10-19:
My intention was to post her picture and I'm having a problem getting it small enough. Maybe I'll work on that tonight and switch it out with Bearbear's picture.
Posted by At Your Service on 2011-10-19:
That's awesome.

IMHO, the world was created for the animals. We were only placed here to take care of them.
Posted by Arlene on 2011-10-19:
DB...I couldn't get it to change the picture here, but I did put one up of Munchie in the community section....
Posted by D. on 2011-10-19:
You should be able to 'edit' it and change pics. Not sure why it didn't work for you. But, I PM'd my Email address to you if you want me to resize the pic for you.
Posted by Alain on 2011-10-20:
Enjoyed your review, Crystal. It's a real help to have you and Starlord as 'go to' people when it comes to service animals!
Posted by Nohandle on 2011-10-20:
I'm glad you started a *fresh* informative on service animals. I don't think we can be educated enough on what they provide to their owners. Let me start off with a question that might sound negative but not intended that way.

With the changes in laws regarding service animals perhaps I've misunderstood but it's my understanding individuals are not required to show *proof* of a disability requiring the need of a service animal. I don't think vests are necessary for the animal anymore but so many people want to take their pets everywhere they go, and as a result some places look like zoos or the local dog pound. I'm thinking primarily of grocery stores, restaurants and the like.

Would it not be easier upon visiting a business for the first time to simply tell the manager you have a service animal? I think some almost dare a business owner question him. This is over and above an animal that obviously is a service animal.

Your and Starlord's thoughts on this.
Posted by Arlene on 2011-10-20:
No you don't need "proof" that you have a service animal, and I bulk at showing proof but sometimes it is necessary. And, you are right, vests are no longer needed, in some areas of the country its just too hot to expect a dog, or any animal to wear a vest, although our two love warm jackets in the colder climate of Washington. I've considered taking their patches off their vests (which are too big for them anyhow) and putting them on their jackets.

Many people are passing their pets off as service animals, and it makes it that much harder for those of us who need them. I see tiny puppies carried into stores and restaurants, and you KNOW they aren't old enough to have had all their shots, which puts any animal in danger of picking up a disease. Did you know that parvo is an air-borne virus? Its not something you bring home on your shoes from walking through someone's yard.

When we visit a restaurant for the first time, we go in without the dogs, if there are tables only we don't take them inside, unless we are downtown here close to home and they are riding on the scooter, then they will lay down between my feet and sleep while we eat, but they don't like tile floors, so they sit in a booth with us on the seat. Upon visiting Kit Carson the other night, we left them in the truck, it was parked where we could keep an eye on it, I knew our friend's cousin had a dog with her but didn't know it's status of pet versus service dog...turns out Winston was a pet and stayed in her vehicle. We've since been back and taken the dogs in with us and they didn't even ask! The waitress fawned over them like they were puppies!

People are getting better about asking first if they can pet them....if they just approach and start handling them, they are told to stop, that they are service dogs, and most get the hint and back off.

Often times you can tell if a person has a service dog or if they just have Rover along doe an outing, its all in how the dog behaves. Munchie draws back from strange hands reaching for her, but she has never growled or offered to bite. Bearbear on the other hand, is our social butterfly and likes everyone, but if I tell him to sit, he will...and people back off.
Posted by Kris10 on 2011-10-20:
Thank you for posting this! I do have a question. I have a friend that has a severe Anxiety disorder and sometimes, his meds aren't enough. I thought at one point I heard of Service dogs that can help with this? Am I mistaken? Also, what would they do?
Posted by Arlene on 2011-10-20:
This is usually listed as an ESD or Emotion Support Dog, and their sole job is to help calm the person they service. These dogs work well for children and adults with Autism, anxiety, emotional problems, the dog provides a calming effect. With a larger ESD, if their person is in a wheelchair or are seated, they may lay their head down on their lap and "snuggle" as best as a large dog can....smaller dogs are ideal for this because they can be held close.
Posted by Kris10 on 2011-10-20:
Thank you Crystal! That's so helpful! I really need to look into this further for him.
Posted by D. on 2011-10-20:
Great info Crystal, regarding the ESD. I never knew they had service dogs that help those with Autism. I am going to pass that info onto my Niece, her little boy has Autism. My Sister just started to homeschool him this year and he's doing so much better than he was while in school with the so called, 'special programs' which by the way, they never really used it to the best of his interest.
Posted by Arlene on 2011-10-20:
next door boy has Autism and he has a Chihuahua, he's well behaved as long as the dog is with him, but the dog can NOT go to school with him, SHE isn't so well behaved, they can't take her out in public so he doesn't go many places...but he's NEVER left alone in the house, his mom even has him "help" her take the trash can out and simple stuff cause he gets into too much trouble given even 1/2 a minute alone.
Posted by Nohandle on 2011-10-20:
I know there are animals trained to detect oncoming seizures, as an example. By the appearance of the owner there would be no indication of a disability. I guess that's why I asked my first question. Thank goodness I don't require a service animal but I believe I'd just explain upon entering an establishment for the first time my animal was for service purposes and spare myself from being questioned.

I saw a few years ago a program on seizure animals. It was fascinating. The animal could detect an upcoming seizure so the owner could prepare himself. I wish I could find that program now. It opened my eyes to the various assist animals.

There are organizations that provide assist/therapy animals to nursing homes for an example. They only come a day or so a week but there is an immediate response from some residents. It's truly amazing.
Posted by raven2010 on 2011-10-20:
Thank you, Crystal for taking the time to do this. Many folks do not understand how service animals are an "extension" of the human they are assisting.
Posted by Arlene on 2011-10-21:
It's always my pleasure to help educate people about service animals. Our's give us freedom, and they aren't left at home....if they HAVE to be left in a vehicle, I cover their crate because it would be in cooler weather or at night and it helps hold in body heat, plus they are crated together. Only an emergency would force us to do that. Small dogs are at a premium here and readily stolen from cars parked at grocery stores and the like. We had ours microchipped and informed the company that holds their information that we would NEVER sell or give them away...that they need to act normally, get the "new owners" information and address so we can have our dogs picked up by the local police or sheriff's dept.
Posted by Starlord on 2011-10-21:
I heard about a gentleman whose dog started poking him in the chest with his muzzle. On a whim, he saw a doctor, and tests revealed he had a tumor right under where the dog was poking. some things I don't pretend to understand, but with Munchie, I believe she, and maybe other dogs, can smell the metabolites of glucose in the breath. I do know she has never been wrong. There is no national body that certifies service animals. We have ID cards that give the dog's names, pictures, and chip number. Under the law, the only thing a business person can ask is , "Are they service animals?" They are not allowed to inquire as to your disability or what the dog does for you. I have no problem letting people know, because I want them to understand that they are not pets, and there is a huge difference. Service dogs allow the disabled the same access to places and situations the abled enjoy, but would be difficult, and in some cases, impossible without the aid of their four, or sometimes, three-legged friends.

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