Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Working Service Dog would like to introduce our new Ready To Wear Service Dog Vest.
By popular demand we have combined the requests made by our customers into one ready to wear vest.
This vest will be offered with FREE SHIPPING for the holidays.
Large exclusive "Service Dog - Full Access" shield shaped Patch
Reflective Stripes on both sides
ID Badge Holder
Includes Service Dog PVC ID Badge
5 beautiful colors to choose from
Adjustable girth and chest strap
Saturday, November 6, 2010
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Disabled veterans with sight, hearing and mobility limitations who might benefit from having a service dog at their side are being encouraged by a major veterans service organization to apply for government reimbursement of some dog-related expenses.
While veterans will need help from a Veterans Affairs Department caseworker to complete the form to request a service-dog benefit, VA officials are promising to respond to every request within 10 days of receipt, said Christina Roof, national deputy legislative director of AmVets' a group with more than two decades of experience with service dog policies.
"If you were ever turned down for a service dog or if you filed a request before February and haven't heard anything, you should apply or reapply," Roof said, because new guidelines make it easier to qualify.
Veterans will need help from a VA caseworker because the form to request the benefit is an internal document that can only be used by an employee, Roof said. It's not even available to veterans service officers who often help with disability and compensation claims, she said. A form sample is available at the AmVets' website.
Service dogs, which are different from guide dogs, are helpful for people with sight, hearing or physical disabilities that make it difficult to do everyday tasks. A service dog might be appropriate, for example, for someone with spinal cord injuries, severe brain injuries, diseases of the joints or other mobility issues because they need help with balance or motion, Roof said.
"Dogs can be a very cost-effective way of helping someone who might otherwise need fulltime assistance, and can relieve a burden on the family of a disabled veteran," she said. "Dogs are a really good way to give back independence to some of these guys."
The VA is studying an expansion of service dog benefits that includes veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, but this benefit is not yet available, Roof said.
If a veteran is approved for the service dog benefit, the VA does not pay for the dog and does not cover the cost of dog food, but it will cover expenses like veterinary bills, vaccinations, flea and tick treatments, Roof said. VA policy may, in some case, allow for payment of dog food if a dog is on a medically ordered diet.
"The money may not be a lot, $1,000 to $3,000 a year is probably the cost of taking care of a dog for the year, but for some veterans every penny counts," she said.
In most cases, a disabled veteran does not pay for a service dog or training for the dog, Roof said. Nonprofit groups usually cover those costs. A veteran approved for a service dog benefit will receive referrals from the VA to approved non-profit groups, she said.
"It probably will not shock you that there are people and groups out there trying to make money off disabled veterans, so veterans need to be careful," Roof said.
AmVets has a long-term relationship with Paws With A Cause, a Michigan-based group founded in 1979 to train guide dogs for the blind that provides trained dogs at no cost to disabled veterans.
Monday, November 1, 2010
The cause of coprophagy is not certain. In rare cases, a medical problem may be the cause: intestinal or pancreatic disorders, parasitic worm infestation, or starvation. If any of these are suspected, prompt medical attention for your dog is required.
Some speculate that coprophagy is a remnant of the dog's origin from the wolf. Wild wolves and coyotes will eat the feces of herbivores like rabbits to replenish certain vitamins or ward off starvation. Others think that stress and punishment, especially around bathroom behaviors, can trigger this problem. Coprophagy could also be a learned behavior from other puppies and dogs, or most simply, they think the poop tastes delicious.
There are a few methods for dealing with this problem:
First, the elimination area for the dog should be kept as free of feces as possible. Reduce your dog's chances of finding a snack.
After your dog eliminates, or as you see him heading to eat feces, distract him with a fun reward like a treat or playtime.
Products are available that can be sprinkled on the dog (or cat's) food that make the resulting feces unpalatable.
In more extreme cases, a muzzle may be needed wherever feces may be present. Never leave a muzzle on an unatended dog!
Whatever method you choose, it is important to nip this behavior in the bud as soon as you notice it.
Your Friends at WSD
Friday, October 15, 2010
It is important to maintain your dog's activity level as much as possible through the winter, for both his health and yours.
Reflective and light-up gear is critical for high visibility for you and your dog during walks and runs in the low light of late fall and winter.
Here are some products you may want to check out:
Light Up Collar
Cold Weather Coat
Stay Warm and Bright!
The Crew at WSD
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Increasingly, local governments are imposing, or attempting to impose, ownership restrictions or outright bans on certain breeds within their jurisdiction. The breeds most commonly singled out are Rottweilers, American Staffordshire Bull Terriers ("Pit Bulls"), Chow Chows, German Shepherd Dogs, and Doberman Pinschers. What happens if you have a service dog of one of these breeds?
This conflict between local law and federal law (the ADA) is currently playing out in Denver, CO. Denver has had a ban on "pit bulls" for many years and the law has withstood several court challenges.
A lawsuit has been filed on the behalf of three litigants by the Animal Law Center. They believe that the ADA prohibits any dog breed from being banned as a service animal. The Denver City Council is currently working on legislation that will bring city law into compliance with the ADA; however, concerns exist that citizens without a legitimate service animal need will use this as a "backdoor" into legal pit bull ownership.
We will keep an eye on this story and bring you any updats..
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Two incidents that bring context to my question. Shortly after Diane Whipple was killed the Animal Control and Welfare Commission held a hearing to consider a requirement to muzzle pit bulls and rottweilers. About 350 showed up and about 100 brought their dogs. The room was way overcrowded. A sheriff officer stopped one of the people with a dog and advised him not to enter. That person told him he had a doctor order for a companion dog he could take the dog wherever he wanted. The officer told him he wasn't questioning his rights, he just wanted him to know it was very crowded. The guy didn't make it the length of the room before his dog got into a nasty, growling, snarling, barking fight with another dog. No one was hurt.
Last night I was at a community meeting at a clubhouse when a person with one of those plastic ball throwers in one hand and a leashed golden retriever on the other hand walked to the front of the room. When informed by a person standing next to me that dogs weren't allowed in the clubhouse the person said, "This is my service dog it goes with me wherever I go and whenever I want." Pause. "You're being very rude by questioning me." The person standing next to me replied, "Well it doesn't look like a service dog." At that point I intervened and said, "We didn't know it was a service dog, now we do, what do you want?"
I suspect the answer might lie along the even if I have the right it is better not to argue with someone needs a four legged security blanket when in public.
Linda, a SF Animal Care and Control representative, told me a person can prove his or her pet is a service animal with at least one of three things: the required tag, an affidavit from the city shelter, and/or a doctor's letter. While any one of these should suffice, Linda said a doctor's letter is the only mandated item according to the Americans With Disabilities Act and therefore a service animal owner's best bet.
However, when I called the Department of Justice's ADA information line to double check, a spokeswoman told me that one isn't required to show any information - not even a doctor's note - in most cases.
"Unless a person is trying to get a job or find a place to live," she said, "[s/he] doesn't have to show any tangible proof that the pet is a service animal."
(It's wise to remember that a person's disability might not be evident to the naked eye, so visually evaluating the person with the animal is rarely a good idea.)
Besides, of course, considering how important it is to you to ensure the rules are being followed in any given situation, what should someone (say, a business owner) do if faced with a situation where they think a non-disabled person's trying to pull the pet equivalent of bogarting a blue spot?
"You can ask what kind of training the animal has received," the spokeswoman said, "and then decide for yourself whether you want to treat [the animal] as a service animal or otherwise."
In any case, according to the ADA:
"A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the animal is out of control and the animal's owner does not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog that barks repeatedly during a movie) or (2) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others."
Think of "Ask the Appeal" as your own personal genie: no Bay-related question is too big or too small. Whether you're concerned with a municipal question, a consumer advocacy issue or simply with consuming alcohol, email us your questions at email@example.com (or, find answers to past questions here). We'll either do the dirty work and talk to the folks in charge, contact an expert in the field, or - if your question is particularly intriguing or juicy - develop it into a full-blown investigative article.
by Katie Baker
September 9, 2010 9:50 AM
Thursday, September 16, 2010
By T. Elliot Gaiser
Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010
People are always talking to Sydney Bruno about dogs.
Mostly one dog in particular - the 17- year-old freshman has a constant companion, her service dog named Toby.
Toby's job is to save Sydney's life. He is trained to alert her and others nearby if her blood sugar goes too high or too low.
Sydney was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in May 2008 when she was 15 years old, which means her body cannot produce insulin, a chemical necessary in regulating blood sugar.
"I lost 20 pounds in two weeks," she said.
Sydney is excellent at managing her own blood sugar for someone her age, said Melissa Bruno, her mother.
"She counts all the carbs' gets up in the middle of the night to adjust'" she said. "Sydney's always weighing - counting everything."
But the condition is more serious than most people realize and even the slightest human error can have serious consequences.
"It can cause blindness, heart attacks and other awful conditions eventually. No matter how hard you work, (an episode) can sneak up on you,,"Melissa Bruno said.
The family was prompted to look for other options after a terrifying overnight field trip last fall. Sydney woke up feeling fine in the morning and headed to the bathroom for a drink of water. Without warning, she lost vision and hearing and nearly passed out before a fellow student went for help.
"My sugar was low. If someone weren't there, I don't know what would have happened," Sydney said.
With college on the horizon, the Bruno family decided there had to be a way for Sydney to enjoy the security of a constant "someone" who could always be there.
After some online research, Melissa Bruno discovered the relatively new advent of service dogs trained to detect changes in blood sugar.
"I thought, "dogs could do anything." They have dogs to help with epilepsy, so why not diabetes, too?" she said.
Because dogs can smell the chemical acetone, which is naturally released when blood sugar shifts, they can be trained to bark or paw their companions when they sense fluctuations.
"Dogs are more sensitive than the technology," said Melissa Bruno. "They can alert you 45 minutes before a machine would."
The family contacted Julie Noyes, a certified dog trainer in Colorado whose primary line of work was providing cadaver-finding dogs used by the Federal Emergency Management Administration during disaster relief operations, she said.
Service dogs in Toby's line of work are selected and begin training as "early as possible" when they are puppies, usually "within six to eight weeks," said Noyes. Their personalities must be just the right combination of obedience and persistence to facilitate training while allowing the dogs to insist in an emergency, Melissa Bruno said.
Soon, Sydney was self-inducing blood sugar highs and lows while wearing clothes washed with scentless detergent, mailed on dry ice from Michigan to Colorado.
By February of this year, the Bruno family welcomed the 6-month-old American Labrador into their home. He was on the job from day one, said Melissa Bruno.
"He barked to alert her at our first meal together."
Now Sydney travels with Toby everywhere - from classrooms, to Saga, to her dorm room where he lives with her in McIntyre Hall. Anywhere she goes, the law requires Toby be granted access.
"He's been with me to the movies," she said, smiling.
In high school, Sydney said, Toby was more popular than she was.
Toby can be challenging, however.
"It can be difficult, making sure he gets to meals on time," she said.
Toby's life can be difficult as well, said Melissa Bruno. The family cannot treat him like a pet and must ignore him whenever possible.
"Service dogs have to be able to live in public," said Noyes.
But the family is happy with the reception they have received at Hillsdale.
"All my professors are very nice about him," Sydney said. After rearranging her class schedule, "my old professor told me she would miss Toby," she said.
Melissa Bruno emphasized how glad she is that Sydney has Toby for a safe guard.
"I can sleep much better. He is a hero."
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Posted by Emily Kaiser on Sep. 1, 2010 at 11:22 am
In the ERC study, cabbies passed blind customers for sighted passengers 50 percent of the time.
Seeing person or blind person with a guide dog? A recent civil rights watchdog group study showed that D.C. cabbies will pass by the blind person and their dog in favor of a sighted person down the road 50 percent of the time. Busted!
The Equal Rights Center study was based on 30 tests in the District. A blind person with a service dog was placed up the street so they would be seen by the cab driver first. A person who wasn't blind and didn't have a service dog stood on the same side of the street after the blind person. In 15 of the 30 tests, the cab driver drove past the blind person and picked up the sighted person without the dog. In three of the tests, the cab driver attempted to add a surcharge to the blind person's fare for transporting the dog. Under ADA and D.C. law, charging people with disabilities or service animals extra is illegal.
read full article:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Service dogs can be trained to retrieve items for the veteran, turn lights on and off, alert the veteran to a ringing phone or doorbell, act as a platform for balance, and walk beside a wheelchair. Dogs can also be taught to provide a barrier between the veteran and anyone who approaches (to ensure a comfortable physical space) and check around corners and assure the veteran that the space is “clear”.
The combination of physical and mental/emotional support that the dog provides 24 hours a day can help the veteran return to work, school, family, and public life. The presence of a dog with the veteran is often helpful in encouraging conversation and social contact and reducing isolation.
Workingservicedog.com offers a service dog patch specifically for the service dog working to alleviate symptoms of PTSD.
Several training schools exist specifically for training service dogs to assist veterans, links to some are below.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been notable for the remarkable survival rate among wounded soldiers. The advances in trauma care have made injuries meaning certain death in previous conflicts treatable. However, many of these soldiers are returning to civilian life with physical, mental, and emotional health issues never seen before on such a grand scale: multiple prostheses, TBI (traumatic brain injury), and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
Service dogs are now being trained specifically for the wounded war veteran population. In our next post, we will look into some of the specialized skills that these dogs are learning.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I would like to introduce a new informational website where you can learn about the different styles and uses of service dog vests available on the market.
At http://www.servicedogvest.com/ you will find service dog vests, vest accessories, and service dog supplies information.
There are plenty of service dogs wearing their vests in photos. We hope you will find this information helpful.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Celebrating National Assistance Dog Week!
In recognition of National Assistance Dog Week, workingservicedog.com will be offering 10% off on orders of $40 or more. Please use the discount code adogweek during check out. This code is valid August 8-14, 2010. Remember to look for NADW events in your area!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
On July 26th, the Department of Justice issued amendments to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The changes relevant to our community are:
Service Animals: The rule defines "service animal" as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The rule states that other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as service animals. Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, are not service animals. The final rule also clarifies that individuals with mental disabilities who use service animals that are trained to perform a specific task are protected by the ADA. The rule permits the use of trained miniature horses as alternatives to dogs, subject to certain limitations. To allow flexibility in situations where using a horse would not be appropriate, the final rule does not include miniature horses in the definition of "service animal.
National Assistance Dog Week (NADW) is being celebrated August 8-14, 2010. The goals of NADW are to recognize and honor assistance dogs, raise awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs, honor puppy raisers and trainers, and recognize heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities
Demonstrations, talks, evaluations, and fairs are taking place coast to coast. Check out http://www.assistancedogweek.org/ to find events in your area.
To celebrate NADW, workingservicedog.com will be offering a special promotion. Stay tuned for details!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
It is important that your service dog is clearly identified as such when in public. Why?
• A vest, patch, tag, or badge that identifies your dog as a service animal will help ease access for you both.
• The public is alerted that your dog is at work. You may choose to encourage or reduce the public’s interaction with your service animal by choosing a specific patch or tag.
• If you are having a medical emergency, the presence of a clearly identified service dog with you can help speed a response.
Workingservicedog.com carries a wide variety of service dog vests, service dog capes, patches, ID badges, and ID tags that will allow you to identify your service dog clearly and in the way you choose.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Independence Day can be a stressful holiday for dogs due to the noise of fireworks going off. While there is little you can do to prevent the cause of the anxiety, there is much you can do to help manage your dog’s reaction.
• Be proactive. Find out when towns in your area will be having their official celebrations. As that time approaches, close your windows to reduce the noise, and turn on the TV, radio, or A/C to create background sounds.
• Consider a calming product that can be given ahead of time. Bach’s Rescue Remedy for Pets is one option. Your vet may prescribe something stronger if it is warranted.
• Consider an anxiety wrap. Dogs are comforted by the light pressure the coat provides.
• If your dog heads for a safe haven during the fireworks, let him stay. Dogs may be comforted by hiding under the bed, in the tub, or in cabinets. As long as that spot is safe and you can keep an eye on him, let the dog stay.
• Most importantly, resist the urge to cuddle, pet, or comfort the dog while he is expressing signs of anxiety. Attention to the dog while he is in this state is a reinforcement of the behavior, and may make future anxious reactions even worse.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
When discussing the rights of service dogs to accompany their owners into the wider world, the ADA is often cited. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. The goal of the legislation was to prohibit discrimination and ensure equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.
To this end, persons with disabilities are permitted to bring their service animal with them anywhere the general public is allowed. The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.
Business owners may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability. An animal may only be excluded if that animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
Not everyone you encounter will be familiar with the ADA. It is helpful to have the text of the law readily accessible on a card you carry, or on your service animal’s ID badge. These products are available at Working Service Dog.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
As the temperature begins to rise, don’t forget about your dog’s increasing hydration needs. The amount of water an individual dog needs to maintain health varies with the temperature, his level of activity, and his type of food (wet vs. dry). Clean, fresh water should be available to your dog all day; never restrict water to control a urination problem.
Consider using a tap or pitcher filter to produce the best water possible for you and your dog. Pay attention to how much your dog drinks during a typical day; a significant increase or decrease from normal may signal a health problem. Call the vet! Dehydration can have serious negative, and possibly fatal, effects on your dog.
When you travel, consider taking along bottles of water from home, sometimes unfamiliar water can produce stomach upset in dogs. The water rover makes it easy to travel with your dog’s water and has a bowl attached for easy drinking.
A hydrated dog is a happy dog! Have fun and be safe out there!
Monday, April 12, 2010
This is the first of several blog posts about travelling with your service dog.
Wherever my dog goes, I always bring along a bag packed with supplies: water and a collapsible travel bowl, some treats, and a first aid kit made specifically for dogs. You never know when a first aid kit will come in handy, for you or your dog. A dog first aid kit will contain common supplies like gauze, tweezers, and a cold pack, as well as an emergency guide to treating common canine injuries. Some of the supplies may also serve double-duty; gauze can be wrapped around a dog’s snout to act as muzzle if necessary. A canine first aid kit is available at workingservicedog.com.
I have added some extras to my first aid kit: a calming product like Rescue Remedy Pet, hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting, and a children’s antihistamine in case of allergic reaction. Check with your vet about proper treatment and dosing for your dog’s weight. Keep in mind that medicines and some of the supplies in the kit may expire, so check the kit every year and replace contents as needed.
The most important extra is my dog info sheet. I update this once a year and put a new copy in the first aid kit. I include the following information:
• Dog’s name, breed, weight, color, date of birth, and microchip number
• Emergency contact info: cell phone, work phone, home phone for myself and an alternate contact
• My vet’s name, address, phone number, and beeper number
• A nearby emergency vet’s name, address, phone number, and driving directions (I have never been to the emergency vet and in a state of panic I would need directions)
• The phone number for animal poison control (a credit card is required)
• Any medical information for your dog
• Any additional relevant information, i.e. I co-own my dog with his breeder so I include her contact info as well
Be safe and prepared out there!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Obtaining an autism service dog can be a lengthy process. Most training centers have wait lists of one to five years. The dog breeds most often used are Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, but you may also find mixes, Poodles, and German Shepherds. Most puppies are obtained directly through specialized breeding programs; sometimes appropriate dogs are rescued or adopted at a slightly older age.
Around 8 weeks of age, dogs are placed with individuals or families who act as puppy raisers. Puppy raisers have the responsibility of socializing the dog to as many types of people, places, and situations as possible. As the dog enters adulthood, he or she is returned to the training center for a period of extended, intensive, and specialized instruction. Autism service dogs are ready to be placed between the ages of 18 months and 2 years of age.
Each training center has its own guidelines for placing dogs. Some training centers provide dogs free of charge; others require a contribution on the part of the individual receiving the dog. Many will assist with fundraising to help defray the cost of the dog. Be sure that the organization you choose to work with is established as a 501 (c) non-profit organization.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Autism was first identified as a unique condition in 1943. Its cause remains unknown, but is thought to be a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors. The CDC states that as many as 1 in 110 children may be affected with ASD.
According to the NIH, all children with ASD demonstrate deficits in 1) social interaction, 2) verbal and nonverbal communication, and 3) repetitive behaviors or interests. These deficits and behaviors may range from mild to severe and present differently in each child. Children generally begin to present signs of ASD between 12 and 36 months of age.
What role do service dogs play?
Several agencies train service dogs specifically for the needs of children and adults with ASD. Dogs are trained from puppyhood, then placed with individuals and their caregivers after a thorough application, screening, and training process. These dogs are certified service animals and their access is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Among other skills, dogs can be trained to interrupt unwanted repetitive behaviors, prevent impulsive running, alert caregivers to potential problems, increase comfort with tactile experiences, and decrease social isolation. Some service dogs are also trained in tracking/search and rescue.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Welcome to the workingservicedog.com blog!
We will be using this blog to communicate news on issues important to the service dog community, keep you up to date on dog health, wellness, and training, and let you know about the products and services that workingservicedog.com provides. We welcome your comments and suggestions!
During the month of May, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists will be offering free eye screening exams for qualified guide, police, detection, and other categories of service/working dogs. The dog will receive a complete eye health exam.
More information, including dog eligibility requirements, provider locations, and scheduling information can be found at