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Monday, April 26, 2010

Are you a veteran with a Service Dog who was denied benefits?

We've heard from several veterans who have had problems with the VA and their Service or Assistance Dogs. Today, the VA clarified a scarcely known benefit in Title 38 Section 1714, offering benefits to veterans using certain types of assistance dogs.

Who can you thank? AMVETS, Luis Montalvan, an OEF/OIF veteran, and Kevin Stone, a Paralympic bronze medalist. Both veterans accompanied AMVETS and partner non-profit assistance dog agency Paws With A Cause on recent meetings with legislators and policy-makers in Washington. Montalvan and Stone have already received approval of benefits for their assistance dogs Tuesday and Mambo. 

If you're a veteran with a Service or Assistance Dog and were previously denied — or are awaiting approval — you'll want to reapply immediately. Ask your VA caseworker to file VA Form 10-2641 (internal use only) and proper accompanying paperwork. For more info, view the AMVETS Press Release.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A dog leads an Alaska State Trooper to a burning building

Service and Assistance Dogs are heroes every single day. But even pets can sometimes be heroes. Today, Friday April 23, a dog will be honored with an engraved silver plated dog bowl for incredibly and bravely leading an Alaska State Trooper to his master's burning workshop. "Buddy", a German Shepherd Dog, will be given the award at the Alaska State Troopers Headquarters building at 5700 E. Tudor Road in Anchorage.

(CASWELL LAKES, Alaska) – Alaska State Trooper Terrence Shanigan's police cruiser dashcam shows a German Shepherd Dog leading the way through winding back roads to a roaring house fire on his owners' property on April 4th. 

Click to watch video on YouTube

The Alaska State Troopers said Buddy and his owner, 23-year-old Ben Heinrichs, were in the family workshop when a heater ignited chemicals. Heinrichs told Buddy: "We need to get help." The dog eventually found a trooper responding to a call about the fire.

Buddy's master Heinrichs suffered minor flash burns on his face. The workshop was destroyed and the house suffered minor damage.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Through a Dog's Eyes" PBS special on Service Dogs airs tonight!

We're so excited — Through a Dog’s Eyes, narrated by Neil Patrick Harris, airs tonight on your local PBS station. The documentary follows a handful of people as they journey through the heartwarming and often challenging process of receiving their service dogs.

Jennifer Arnold, founder of Canine Assistants, discusses her teaching methods and the life-changing impact these dogs have on the recipients and their families. She gives us a glimpse of puppy-rearing and training, and takes us inside the intense and sometimes nerve-wracking experience of matching people with their dogs. Ádám Miklósi, Ph.D., one of the world’s foremost experts in dog cognition, also discusses the science behind Jennifer’s training philosophy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Your formally-trained Service or Assistance Dog may qualify for a free eye exam

If your Service or Assistance Dog is currently in training, or has been formally trained by a national, regional or local organization you may qualify to get a free eye exam, sponsored by the the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO)! This is their third year for this program and it's open to all formally trained working dogs including service and assistance dogs, police K-9s, search and rescue dogs and more.

The ACVO is developing a database that can be used in the future to identify potential eye problems associated with the tasks that certain groups of working dogs perform. Your working dog may be eligible to participate in this study. To find out if you qualify, please register on their website.

The United States Service Dog Registry is proud to announce that we're an official supporter of the ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam! The Registry is a form of self-identification, not proof of training, so you will need to provide a formal training certificate in addition to your registration if you wish to participate.