I was recently invited to be a Guest Lecturer at the University of Texas in Austin to a class of undergraduates studying Specialization in Disability Studies. Their inventive assistant professor Pamela Buchannon created this new course called Client/Guest Services. The topic of course. . . Service Animals in businesses. The discussion was focused on the difference between Service, Therapy, and Emotional support Animals, along with their roles and the rules and laws that go along with each type of Assistance Animal. The students had the opportunity to view the training video I produced that walks businesses through how to comply with ADA Law as it applies to service animals coming into their business. Following the video, we had a lively Q&A session where the students asked some insightful questions and we did this all via a Zoom Conference Call. I was thrilled to work with both the professor and the students, and look forward to another session in this coming semester. For more information regarding training your employees on how to comply with ADA Law and Service animals go to www.adalawforserviceanimals.com
Meet Iyal, who is now in his 20’s and attending classes at a college. Quite an accomplishment considering what he faced as a child. At a young age it became clear that Iyal’s development was drastically behind his sister’s. Iyal was overwhelmed by the smallest tasks. Unable to focus, challenged by bizarre behaviors, Iyal’s hyperactive mind and constant need for attention could not easily be quelled. At the age of four, a diagnosis is given: fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a life-long disability. Though the diagnosis offers a name, the treatment is difficult to define and interventions fail year after year. Iyal’s internal struggle and explosive rages create a heightened state of alert for all in the home. In 2009, desperate to alleviate Iyal’s anguish and the crushing toll on the family, his mom Donnie, comes up with an innovative, untested, four-pawed solution: a golden retriever service dog named Chancer. Chancer is specially trained to give Iyal a unique love he desperately needs. Chancer was trained to do many of the same tasks as an Autism Assistance Dog including: calming sensory overload, soothing emotional dysregulation and using behavior disruption to keep Iyal safe. Quinn, Chancer’s successor, is also an FASD Assistance Dog. It took eight paws over ten years and fur-covered love to bring Iyal to live on a college campus. His mom, Donnie, wrote a memoir that takes you on an emotional, humorous and inspiring journey that you won’t soon forget. We highly recommend CHANCER – How One Good Boy Saved Another. To order the book you can you can CLICK HERE.
Meet Ollie my golden retriever who has been my Service Dog partner since 2016. In 1993, I had a brain stem stroke as the result of a chiropractic adjustment. I'm a full-time wheelchair user and my speech is impaired. I have let-sided weakness so he retrieves almost everything from my left side and many things from my right. He's become very good at retrieving papers, books, and my phone which I'm dropping all the time. I teach Peace Studies and Political Science at a University. Ollie accompanies me in recreational and professional activities including travel.
I got sick a few years ago. So sick, I thought maybe pneumonia? I was so hot, I took an ice bath, my dog Rocky, kept nuzzling me in the side and licking me on my side. He wouldn't leave me alone. After I crawled into bed he pulled his bed from the foot around to my side and sat up all night. All night long he would nuzzle me and lick my side waking me every 5-10 minutes. The morning was very foggy to me, I only remember parts and pieces. When I woke up my wife said I had been on life support and in a comma for two and a half weeks. I had a couple of blood infections and Sepsis, and acute renal failure. Rocky knew my liver and kidneys were shutting down. As I was released, having known what Rocky had done, my doctors prescribed Rocky for me to tell me if I get sick or injured. We then began the arduous and expensive process of training him. Rocky is our Hero and saved me three weeks after we saved him. It is very rare to find a dog with natural abilities like his. Often enough, we go out and " pets in vests" act out , scare me and put us as a team at risk. I have finally found my voice and begun to tell everyone, owners, fake handlers and businesses about the risks involved by having untrained and unaware pet owners in public! I have an extremely rare animal and couldn't imagine the risks associated with not having him because of a pet injuring him. #ihaveaservicedog
Tansy is my third service dog trained through CCI. We left our two week team training class ( where we learn the 40+ commands the dog already knows, are matched with the best dog for us, learn canine learning theory, canine health, the ADA and much more ) joined at the heart. It took me awhile to apply for a successor dog after losing my previous SD, Klintworth, to kidney cancer. He had been at my side for ten years, then retired for two.In addition to helping me dress, undress, helping with laundry, picking up the house, go shopping, picking up the bags that I drop, opening and closing doors and drawers, and even helping me towel off after I shower, Tansy gives me independence with dignity. She also gives me freedom, inspires me to do more, and live life instead of life living me!I am usually in a wheelchair ( to date I’ve had 44 major surgeries and all but 5 vertebrae in my spine are fused ) and Tansy’s help is a life changer! She also alerts when I need help, as that is the only time you will hear her bark. I cannot tell you how many times that bark has saved me in the relatively short time we've been together.Service dogs have an amazing impact on the family of their handler as well. My husband and son are no longer worried about me going out on my own or being home alone. Klintworth saved so much time, pain, and frustration for me, we went to college together, earned a 4.0 and were voted president of PTK, the honor society for two year colleges. Service dogs don’t just help us—they change [...]
I struggle with major depression, extreme anxiety and severe panic disorder which causes episodes of such tremendous severity that it was very difficult for me to leave my home and I was unable to go into a store to shop alone or drive more than 10 miles without suffering a severe panic attack. With my own research, assistance from my doctors and a request for help, I reached out to Paws For Life to see if I could benefit from having a service dog that could alert to me prior to an attack and assist me in challenging situations. Nala, a German Shepherd puppy was placed with me just prior to 8 weeks old to to train to help give me the confidence and trust that I needed, with Nala I feel like I can do anything.
Meet Callie, Callie was born with Williams Syndrome which causes a number of medical issues. Callie has to go to Egleston Children’s Hospital a lot. On a trip to the hospital one of the service dogs came and visited callie. Callie has always loved animals. The service dog lay on the bed with Callie and would not move. She was so peaceful so happy so calm. Even through the pain and the hurt she was going through it all seemed to fade away with him lying beside her. She asked us every day if she could get her own service dog. In my heart I knew we would probably never be able to provide her with one because any extra money we had went straight to her therapies doctor bills, hospital bills and supplies for her. We learned that Callie would have to have open heart surgery and they weren’t sure if she would make it through it and if she didn’t have it she would not make it. At that point, my mother reached out to MAKE A WISH within a few days they contacted us and told us Callies wish was going to be granted. They told her to think of three wishes. Number 1 golden doodle service dog Number 2 golden doodle service dog Number 3 golden doodle service dog. We laughed so hard. She was determined she wanted her best friend. Make a Wish along with Paws for Life Service Dog Training, found the breeder and a lifetime of friendship and love started. We got Doodle Dandy when he was around 8 weeks old and he was the best wish ever. Callie and Doodle Dandy started training together and building [...]
Hi, my name is Monica and I have a service animal. Her name is Sky. We were denied entrance into a Chinese restaurant. I had been working with Sky for several months before she came to live with me. I was feeling pretty confident as a team when we went to the restaurant. I knew that she was able to sit quietly under a table and that she wouldn’t even be noticed by many of the other people in the restaurant. We entered the restaurant with a group of my co-workers and Sky, who at this point, had been living w/ me for a week. We were still getting to know each other but she is a great service animal and has been very well trained. We all walked to the front desk to be seated and the girl told me that I couldn’t have a dog in here. I tried to explain that she wasn’t a dog, but that she was a SERVICE ANIMAL and that we had rights. There were several of my co-workers who tried to explain it to her too and several other people in the restaurant that told her that she couldn’t refuse us service. I didn’t want to make a big scene because we had only been living together for a week and I didn’t want to “upset” her. I did ask if I could speak to the manager and she went and got her manager who said the same thing – NO DOG in here and we went through the whole thing again – Sky is not just a dog – she is a service animal and under the law she couldn’t be refused service. At this point, [...]