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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stray dog saves another dog in heavy traffic

This is by no means Service Dog news, but it is absolutely incredible nevertheless. A stray dog wanders into traffic on a highway in Chile and is hit by oncoming traffic. Another stray dog sees the injured dog and pulls it to safety with it's paws. The injured dog lives after being spotted by highway workers.

I'll leave this video to speak for itself.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One of our Service Dog Registry members is in the news!

We're proud to say one of our registrants is in the news! Darlene Guthrie, a retired Police Animal Control Officer uses her dog, Fancy, to help with her epileptic seizures. She's been featured on local television news and in the newspaper.

Elkhart County Service Dog Displays a Unique Talent

by Tom Moore

South Bend Tribune Staff Writer

ELKHART — A dog left in a drop box at the Elkhart County Humane Society is making the most of a second chance at life.

Fancy, a 3-year-old Kai Ken-shepherd mix, was adopted by Darlene Guthrie in 2005, when Fancy was just 5 weeks old and weighed less than 3 pounds.

Guthrie, Elkhart Police Department’s animal rescue officer at the time, saw Fancy while dropping off a couple of other neglected dogs. It was love at first sight.

“She was so small; she looked like a kitten,” Guthrie recalled. “She kept batting her foot out of the cage. I picked her up and fell in love.”

But that was only the beginning. It wasn’t long until Guthrie noticed Fancy had a special talent — the ability to sense seizures in other dogs before they happen.

When Guthrie’s old Labrador dog began having seizures, Fancy would come to Guthrie and her husband.

“She’d come and get us and sit with the dog and us until it was over,” Guthrie said. “We just thought she was smart.”

Guthrie researched procedures to have a dog become a certified work dog and has been working with Fancy for the past several years. Fancy is registered with the United States Service Dog Registry and is considered a service dog.

But Fancy really did have a special talent, apart from being intelligent, and it wasn’t just sensing seizures in other dogs. Guthrie found that out when she developed epilepsy and began having seizures herself in September.

“I knew it was coming when she’d come up to me,” said Guthrie, who owns other dogs. “All you can do is lie down. She would actually stand over me, so my other dogs wouldn’t step over me. She literally stands over me and pushes the dogs off.

“I know I can trust her. I know exactly what she’s trying to tell me. I take her everywhere, now.”

Fancy would alert her owner about 15 seconds before a seizure, come over to her and start shaking.

Because of medication, Guthrie rarely has seizures anymore, but her condition did force her to retire recently from the Police Department, a job she loved for the past 20 years — 12 serving as the animal rescue officer.

Fancy is now Guthrie’s full-time service dog.

“Most service dogs do not want you to pet them,” Guthrie said. “Not because they’re not social, but because they’re working. But I have a sign around her in public that says, ‘I’m friendly, please pet me.’ ”

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dogs for the Deaf leads the way with Autism Assistance Dog training

Dogs for the Deaf in Oregon has launched one of the first programs in the country to train Autism Assistance Dogs — and they were featured a few months ago on KDRV Channel 12 in Medford, Oregon. A news crew came to film Dogs for the Deaf President and CEO, Robin Dickson and Canine Instructor, Carrie Brooks in a local mall where they were introducing the program to the public.

The Dogs for the Deaf Autism Assistance Dog program has been created in response to a need for help in the growing number of autism cases across the world. Dogs for the Deaf is leading the way with this type of Service Dog training. And this new type of training is backed up by experience — Dogs for the Deaf is the nation's oldest hearing dog program and has trained over 3,000 Service Dogs since it's start over 30 years ago.

Autism is a difficult condition for children and their parents. Trained Autism Assistance Dogs provide extremely valuable to help parents with calming and controlling children, especially as they are transitioning from one activity or environment to another. The dogs can also help draw a child out of their shell, allowing them to be more interactive which can help them learn and grow.

For more information on Dogs for the Deaf, to take a tour of their facility or to make a donation please visit their website or call 541-826-9220. You can also follow @dogsforthedeaf on Twitter where you can find information about their upcoming events, news and other news.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Service Dog numbers likely to increase as population ages

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services came out with a report this morning with some not-so-surprising results. The number of adults in the United States reporting disabilities increased by by 3.4 million between 1999 and 2005,. The study, published in today′s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, finds an estimated 1 in 5 U.S. adults (47.5 million, or 21.8 percent) report a disability. The three most common causes of disability among adults in the United States are arthritis or rheumatism, back or spine problems, and heart disease.

“It is likely we will see more dramatic increases in the number of adults with a disability as the baby boomer population begins to enter higher risk, older age groups over the next 20 years,” said Chad Helmick, M.D., CDC medical epidemiologist and coauthor of the study. “CDC is working with state health departments and communities to expand the availability of self-management education programs and interventions, such as appropriate physical activity programs, that can reduce the impact of disability.”

Arthritis encompasses more than 100 diseases and conditions that affect joints and other connective tissue. Training Service and Assistance Dogs for arthritis, rheumatism and other mobility conditions will most likely increase as well. Dogs can be trained to open and close doors, retrieve medicines, tools or other objects.

The study of data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation found that women ( 24.4 percent ) have a higher prevalence of disability compared with men ( 19.9 percent ) at all ages. The study also found that disability prevalence doubled for each successive age group — 11.0 percent for ages 18-44, 23.9 percent for ages 45-64, and 51.8 percent for ages 65 or older.

For more information please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)