Monday, August 28, 2017

How to Customize Your Service Dog Vest

How to Customize Your Service Dog Vest

There's a service dog vest for every type of service dog, whatever its size or breed. Although each vest serves as a visual indication that the dog is a service dog, not every handler has the same needs, and not every service dog provides the same function. However, with thoughtful customization, a service dog vest can meet the handler’s needs.

Finding the Perfect Fit

Service dogs come in all shapes and sizes, meaning they must accommodate a wide range of service dog vest sizes. Most vests can be divided into large or small sizes with the following requirements:

     Large - Over 30 lbs. and over 30” girth
     Small - Under 30 lbs. and under 30” girth

Each service dog vest has an adjustable girth and chest strap that secures the vest to the dog. Girth strap extenders can be added for growing service dogs to avoid causing the animal discomfort due to a too-tight vest.

The material of the vest itself may be chosen by the handler. A padded service dog vest is made with soft yet high quality woven cotton fabric for comfort, while a mesh vest offers breath-ability for warmer weather. Colors may vary as well from red, blue, orange, raspberry, or a camouflage pattern.

Conveying the Right Message

You can also customize what you want a service dog vest to say. Messages can explicitly state “Service Dog” on the vest, as well as help identify what the service dog is trained to do. This is accomplished with sewn-on patches that say:

     Service Dog
     Medical Alert Dog
     Seizure Alert Dog
     Guide Dog
     Hearing Dog
     Diabetic Alert Dog

Service dog vests can have multiple patches to provide the public with a more complete understanding of the dog’s presence in a public place.

Customizable Conveniences

A service dog vest can also have additional helpful features. For example, a zipper pocket provides the handler with a protected, enclosed space to place small belongings such as keys, a phone, or a wallet. An ID badge holder attached onto the vest provides a convenient area for additional identification. Reflective strip service dog vests provide safety for both animal and handler during nighttime or evening outings. Handlers may incorporate these features to create the ideal custom service dog vest for their needs.

Choosing the right combination of materials, messaging, and features for your vest is an important step in traveling in public with a service dog. Make sure to know what your service dog vest needs to help you have an easy outing.

Monday, August 21, 2017

How to Use Emotional Support Animal Vests

How to Use Emotional Support Animal Vests and Other Identification for Dealing with the Public

Apart from the Fair Housing Amendment Act (FHAA) and Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), the protection offered to emotional support animals (ESAs) varies from state to state. Some states allow ESAs more freedom in public places, while others have stricter policies. Lately, many policies have become more stringent because of the increasing number of pet owners claiming their pets are service animals when they are not.
If you have a legitimate need to bring your ESA in public, you should consider taking steps to provide proof of your claim.

Wear Emotional Support Animal Vests

Many among the public see an animal with a vest and assume it is a service animal. However, you must make sure the public knows your animal is an ESA to ensure you don’t break any laws. Avoid sending a misleading message by fitting your animal with an emotional support animal vest. An ESA vest will clearly state “Emotional Service Animal” or “Emotional Support Dog” to help clear up any confusion.

Provide Documentation When Asked

An emotional support animal vest all on its own may not provide enough “proof.” For example, airlines often have rigid policies to ensure a passenger absolutely needs to bring an animal on board. If an authority figure continues asking about your animal even after acknowledging its emotional support animal vest, you may want to provide additional documentation to support your claim.
Emotional support animal certification can help satisfy a questioning authority. Certificates have both your name and your animal’s name on them, as well as an official-looking registration date. If they would rather see a doctor’s note, you may want to print up an ESA sample doctor’s letter for your physician to fill out.

Reinforce Your Claim

Although they work to improve the well-being of their handlers, ESAs do not have the same rights service dogs have. They are not protected in most public places. However, some establishments have begun welcoming emotional support animals under certain criteria, requiring behavioral standards or a visual indication such as emotional support dog vests. These places prove that people who need their ESA should feel comfortable while visiting, provided they are not being dishonest.
To ensure you aren’t abusing their laws, the following items can help when out in public with your ESA:
  •         Emotional support animal vests
  •            Certification with both your name and your ESA’s name
  •          A doctor’s letter signed by your doctor

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

5 Places Where Therapy Dogs Are Making a Difference

A therapy dog offers therapeutic comfort and affection to all those it comes in contact with. Its warm temperament and friendly disposition can brighten anyone’s day, however, you don’t need to happen across one on the street to enjoy its presence. Special organizations bring therapy dogs to visit residents or patients of public institutions such as hospitals. These are often the only times when dogs are able to be on the premises of public buildings and establishments when they are otherwise not allowed. Once there, the therapy dogs are able to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

#1. Hospitals

No one likes staying at the hospital, however, a patient doesn’t have much choice but to stay put until they get the care they need. If it ends up being a lengthy stay, boredom and loneliness can set in. A visit from a therapy dog can offset this and improve a patient’s mood. Identified by a therapy dog vest, they are common visitors to both children’s and general hospitals, helping patients of all ages.

#2. Retirement and Nursing Homes

A retirement home provides housing, entertainment, and health care for senior citizens. Although residents are in good company with their neighbors, some don’t get visits all that often. These residents are the ones who most appreciate the unconditional love offered by a therapy dog. Additionally, therapy dogs are common guests at nursing homes, which house elderly residents or people with mental illnesses. Residents sometimes spend most of their days isolated, so the interaction with a friendly dog, overflowing with exuberance and joy in its therapy dog vest, can be the highlight of their day.

#3. Libraries

Library programs help children discover an enriching learning environment by letting them read books to therapy dogs. Reading to a therapy dog provides a stress-free, non-judgmental way to practice their reading skills without fear of someone interrupting them or correcting them when they stumble over a word. The kids have fun, and the whole process encourages them to continue reading.

#4. Schools

Elementary schools bring a wealth of new experiences for young children. But between all the lessons, new friends, and homework assignments, it can start to get a little overwhelming. That’s when therapy dogs come can be used to help kids get through their day. The dogs offer a friendly face and can handle as many pets as children are willing to give.

#5. College Campuses

For college students, school can be less a place of learning and more a place of great stress. During finals week at the end of the semester, this stress can build up to alarming levels. That’s why therapy dogs have begun visiting campuses to help students decompress, relieving them of stress so they can hopefully pass their difficult classes. Although therapy dogs are not protected by the ADA, like service dogs are, businesses and institutions may allow them if they go through the proper channels. This collaboration between organizations and public institutions allow therapy dogs to provide comfort to those who need it, regardless of the usual laws and restrictions, and make a real difference.