Flying Turkeys

Turkey on PlaneAs you can imagine, I have a LOT say about the turkey, yes, like the one on your Thanksgiving table, that recently boarded a domestic airline as an “emotional support” animal accompanying a passenger. I seriously did not believe this absurd story to be real, until I researched and found it to be true.

This flies in the face of being completely and “flutterly” ridiculous because it really pushes all boundaries, and personally, I feel it mocks the entire Emotional Support animal system. I can see a cat, dog or even a bunny, but the mere fact the airline was bound by the Air Carrier Act to have to allow that bird in the passenger cabin is really beyond my comprehension.

So, let me once again state the law as it pertains to “emotional support” animals relating to modes of transportation. They are not “service” animals nor are they bound by the regulations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

When on an airplane, governed by the Department of Transportation Air Carrier Act, not the Department of Justice, Emotional Support Animals can accompany passengers, who have a note from their doctor, that this animal (of questionable species) is required for the comfort of said person. They do NOT perform any physical tasks to mitigate a disability like a true “service” dog or miniature horse (both legal service animals under the law). They serve one purpose, and that is emotional support for anxiety in public. [Read more…]

Pet Therapy New Year’s Resolution? 10 Answers to… Is It Right For You?

Whiskey and II have been asked numerous times why I’m in a training mode about pet therapy. Seems many people feel they have the PERFECT dog, and they want to know how to qualify their dog for this new adventure.

Having done pet therapy myself years ago, I enlisted an expert in the field, Sandy Dubin, who is a Pet Partner Evaluator and Instructor, to “correctly” answer 10 basic questions.

Just remember, pet therapy dogs are NOT service dogs. They are not allowed in public settings… only those where they are directly doing the therapy sessions, i.e. hospitals, retirement homes, assisted living facilities, schools, libraries, etc.

Here is my interview with her covering these topics:

  1. What can I expect my time commitment per month to be?
  2. How old does my dog need to be? Is it a requirement they be spayed or neutered?
  3. What does CGC mean?
  4. What is the next step when my dog passes the test?
  5. What happens if my dog fails the test?
  6. How much does it cost to have my dog certified?
  7. How often is certification given and re-certification needed?
  8. What other animals can become therapy animals?
  9. What do I have to do to prepare my dog for a therapy visit?
  10. Who do I contact if I want to do pet therapy in a hospital, nursing home, library, etc.?

[Read more…]

Service Dogs & Canine Good Citizen Title (CGC): The Importance of Respecting the Rights of Disabled People

Service Dogs & Canine Good CitizenHopefully this article will help educate dog lovers – perhaps knowing what it takes to become a service dog will stop some people from turning themselves and their dogs into imposters.

Passing the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test is a worthy goal and a significant accomplishment for pet owners. Well-socialized dogs with basic obedience training are more apt to live out their lives in loving homes, and are less likely to be re-homed or surrendered to shelters.

Guide dogs, passing the CGC test, does not give dogs the right to go into places of public accommodation (restaurants, public transportation, stores, hospitals, etc.) where pets are not allowed. Having an AKC (American Kennel Club) Canine Good Citizen Title does not qualify a pet to be a service dog.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service dog as a dog that has been “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities”. Per the ADA, a disability is defined as: a condition that causes “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities” of a disabled person. To be a service dog, the animal must perform skills or assist with tasks that mitigate some aspect of the person’s disability. [Read more…]

Service Dog 101 – Part 1

Golden Retriever - Training Page PhotoWelcome to my new monthly series: Service Dog 101

a) Let’s start with…What is a disability?

An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

“Major life activities” include functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking and breathing, learning and working.

You must meet these criteria before you will be considered to be a potential service dog handler. There is extensive and intensive training – both for the person (with the disability) and the dog.

b) What is a service dog? [Read more…]

Use Caution with Pet Safe Lawn Products

Spring is definitely here in Southern California. Actually Spring has been here all year to a great degree.  We finally got some much-needed rain a few days ago, and that will make for a much happier walk with Rocco tonight. He has smelled the same old scents in our neighborhood for months! Time for the rain to bring new flowers and new smells.

Garden and lawn sprucing up is big right now. I know… Home Depot was packed with buyers of all things garden and home improvement today. That brings to mind my video for you based on my own negligence!  Yes, even I was a BAD dog mom. I hope my mistake does not become yours!!! Lesson learned! Watch this video to learn why you need to use caution with “pet-safe” lawn products.

4-9-14 Use caution with pet-safe lawn products

P.S. Thankfully, Rocco had no lasting effects and has been just fine ever since. Whew!! 

Doggie Dental Care… the Road to Disease Prevention and a Healthier, Happy Dog

Doggy dental careFebruary has been Pet Dental Health Month!  Looking for that long-ago puppy breath (and pearly whites) your dog used to have…or when your dog pants, could its’ breath stop traffic and put you in suspended animation? As you know, some of that dragon breath could be caused by neglected oral care. Here’s a tip to look for when trolling for the most effective dental chews that work.  Look for these initials on the packaging….”VOHC”…. This means these treats help retard plaque and tartar and have been given the “seal of approval” by the Veterinary Oral Health Council, an entity of the American Veterinary Dental College.

As always, it’s important to have your dog’s teeth checked annually, by your vet, for any malformations, broken teeth, cracks and to maintain general good oral care including cleaning their teeth if need be.  Just like humans, you can be proactive in helping prevent certain diseases (like heart disease) with good oral care by keeping that plaque and tartar at bay! This might be a good time to learn how to brush your dog’s teeth, if you haven’t done so already! Your vet will be happy to show you!

[Read more…]

Happy Valentines Day! Just Keep Those Chocolates Out of Reach!

Happy Valentines Day! Just keep those chocolates out of reach!

Happy Valentines Day!

Oh, there isn’t a chocolate I don’t like… well maybe white chocolate. Just not right that it’s “white.” Probably a very psychological thing, but love my milk chocolate and dark chocolate.  I’m very lucky, because Rocco doesn’t get into things he shouldn’t, but that’s not the case with many of your dogs. From the drop on the floor to the counter surfers, Valentine’s Day could land your dog at the emergency vet.  Depending on the weight of your dog and the type and amount of chocolate consumed, it can be very toxic! 

Here is a great “chocolate toxic level meter” from PetMD.  http://bit.ly/1aTrFLH.  I hope you never have to use it, but it’s great to keep this information handy.  Hope you all have a lovely day, whether you have a special someone to share with or a special pet!!

Also, here is one poison helpline link as well:

Pet Poison Hotline

Super Bowl Parties and Pet Suffocation Have Something in Common!

The frigid Super Bowl is next Sunday…. fun, family, friends and pets!!! (Cats are included in this blog).

Bags of Lays, Doritos, Cheetos, etc., with a multitude of dips, will bring hours of snacking pleasure and for sure… bet you can’t eat just one!  But for pets, these empty bags are potentially life threatening.  They can cause pet suffocation to the most curious or hungriest of pets quickly.

Believe it or not, this tragedy is becoming all too common and is so easily preventable!!

So, keep your trash covered, don’t leave these bags out for your pets to get into and for heaven’s sake…. don’t film your pet with a bag stuck on their head running around a room. It’s just not funny as it only takes a few seconds to totally panic an animal trapped in a bag.  So… go Broncos and Seahawks… enjoy the game and keep your pets safe!

Super Bowl parties and pet suffocation have something in common! (VIDEO SNAPSHOT)

Can You Help Me… and Crazy Weather!

Happy New Year (3) (300x245)Not to rub anything in, but I am still wearing my summer wardrobe. Crazy weather, huh??? Rocco is shedding like the dickens from the heat and extreme dry weather.  Some of you are still knee-deep in snow…whereas, I’m on “severe” fire watch and California is now declared an official “drought” disaster state.

Survey time…survey time!!!  Ok… here’s that super-quick 10 question survey I was talking about in my last blog!!  Can you please help me? I would love your input.  (click here) Thank you so much! I promise to share the results.

Belated New Year’s Greetings & Winter Dog Safety

Belated New Year's greetings and winter dog safetyHappy Belated New Year to you!

As I sat down to write this over a week ago, I was totally unaware of how much my life would change in the blink of an eye.  I was reflecting back on this year, as it truly was a year of “learning” and “education”…to really understand the elements of social media and how it can enhance my business.

I also was in the midst of actually writing the paragraph on how blessed I was to see my beloved mother turn 90 last September and her year of learning Windows 8, finalizing her genealogy research so we could both join the Daughters of the American Revolution and enjoying her continued zest for reading and life, when I received a phone call from my brother that Mom had suffered a stroke.  I live fairly close, so dropped this blog, and ran to get her to the hospital.  The stroke robbed her of her sight.

Needless to say, this has been a tough week, but I now understand why I was in the guide dog business for over 16 years.  Perhaps, this was my destiny to understand the frustrations and triumphs in the blind community.  To those of you who have posted comments and encouragement on Facebook, “thank you” doesn’t seem enough.  For the time you took time out of your busy lives to write something meant more than you could ever imagine. This is going to be a journey I have not traveled before with Mom because she has always been so healthy and active.  Life is now not measured in months or years, but in days and weeks to come.

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