davincidanes, thank you for sharing your story with us. On top of dealing with SCI, losing your son must be a terrible grief. (I am also a musician, mostly classical.) Maestro's companionship is a great emotional support, in addition to what he will become as a physical helper. Are you training Maestro yourself? Maybe we can help each other a bit! I hope that you may be able to show Maestro again. You must be raising sturdy dogs--10 is a good age for a large breed, but still the heartbreak of losing a family member. Two losses in a very short span...
Thanks for the idea for truwrecks. There are not many Springers in rescue, period. And travel distance is an issue, otherwise I would have urged Truwrecks to ask them to observe him with a dog. Springers are his breed, as German shepherds are mine! The type of breed that is suitable partly depends on what tasks the dog will do for you. If one travels much, a smaller dog is easier to take with you but the temperament of a Great Dane is wonderful for service work. It is possible to exercise a more active breed with laser chase, if your own mobility is limited. I would be interested to know your contact (PM) because I have talked with some vets who would greatly benefit from having a service dog.
kevin, Draco sounds like a great blessing! Labs are born for service work, and the agencies like GDC look carefully at breeding before training. They become an extension of us, don't they?! Great that you give him the exercise that will keep him physically and mentally fit--service work is rewarding but stressful for our dogs. How old was Draco when you were linked up? I had Lex for nine years before became paralyzed, and it was not hard to add service tasks because he was already highly trained (obedience, tracking, S&R), but since he was old he only worked for me for a bit over two years. Lorenz worked for me for 3 years before he died of cancer. Jamin just turned three, and I have had him since the end of August. But I have been so sick that we are not training consistently enough...still, I don't know what I would do without him!
I really wanted to get a service dog and i actually registered for one but whilst I have my possessive springer at home it would be very unfair.
The only thing she picks up for me is the post but she tends to grab it ( with too much gusto!) off the postperson as they deliver it through the letter box. She then leaves it on the floor!
But she is great company and barks at the slightest noise! It was only a couple of months ago that she was barking like crazy and I knew something was wrong. It was 2ish in the morning, I woke and opened the back door for her to go out and she ran barking after two guys who were heading to the garage. They left the gate open and she followed chased them off the property! So she has her uses!!
I saw this quote this morning and just had to post it
Post by davincidanes on May 16, 2015 2:30:28 GMT -8
That is so true, Lαrα, . I'm glad your springer is such a good companion, protector, and friend. That's what it's all about! No one dare come near my house with three giant dogs barking at them. Truth is they turn to jello once nonthreatening contact is made and wouldn't hurt a flea.
wavewolf, , thank you for the kind comments. Losing my son was horrible... I didn't leave the house for much of anything for a year... and didn't sleep well for two years. Thank god I have a husband who is very supportive.. my rock.
So this SCI should be a piece of cake. Well, not so. I was just learning to accept the loss of Sean, and getting out to do the things I love... traveling and dog shows, and then THIS happened. I try not to dwell on the "my life sucks" attitude, but sometimes it sure does.
I am training Maestro myself with the help of my friend in Michigan - long distance of course. I've been training dogs for a very long time, and he just needs to learn "a few more tricks" which he is smart enough and very capable of. If anyone wants information about her organization, here is the link to the Facebook page.
davincidanes, we never know what life is going to bring us. Sounds as if you have had a good life, but then two enormous and destiny-changing things to cope with. I am happy to hear that you have such a supportive husband, as well as loving dogs to walk the road with you. Lacee is a striking color! Losing her now after 10 years of relationship is a third blow in a very short time.
I was interested to hear that you are also self-training for service work. When our dogs are already trained to a high level, as show dogs have to be, adding service tasks is not a big deal. I shared above with Lara, so maybe you saw this, but will repeat here because of its value: Teamwork I and II, by Stewart Nordensson and Lydia Kelley, available on Amazon. He trained his own service dogs from a chair, and was more disabled than we are. Start with the basic training of vol I--with all my experience, I still learned from this, and vol II builds on it. I was not able to load your friend's FB page with the link, but thank you for the email address. Is it OK to write to her and mention that I heard about her from you?
Lαrα, it is good as a single woman with mobility challenges to have a good watch dog! And you are very right that bringing in a service dog while you have a dog with this much personality would likely not work out. With a service dog and living alone, the dog has to be totally reliable to allow strangers such as EMTs to help you in an emergency. I would never recover if someone had to hurt my dog to get to me to "save" me. What do you think about this, davincidanes? I think it is not as much a breed issue as individual temperament, but also involves people's perception of how threatening the dog is. Socialization/acclimatization is a critical part of training for service work. And a basic intelligence and communication with the dog is essential. Lorenz saved my life by bringing my phone in a crisis, and then allowing the EMTs to do their work uninterrupted. He even brought a pencil to one of them when his pen quit, and the guy asked if Lorenz did paperwork, too! Lorenz set a personal record for down-stay that night, and I was so proud of him. One of the EMTs came back to my house and took Lorenz to the kennel for me--he was someone I knew from church.
Post by davincidanes on May 16, 2015 20:52:22 GMT -8
Thank you, wavewolf,. It certainly has been a tough road, and yes, I have those books on the "order list" when I get my next check. Sucess in service work is 100% based upon a dogs temperament and socialization, enhanced by rock solid training. Please do contact Rebecca at the email address I gave. She is always willing to talk about options with someone in need. I do know that she's a bit busy right now with a new litter of pups on the ground, but she will respond, and yes, you can tell her that i referred you.
Sounds like Lorenz is one in a million, and you have a new goal... to teach him to do the paperwork.
davincidanes, thank you. Glad you are getting those books--even what you "already know" will be enhanced, at least that's what I found. I will wait to contact Rebecca, because it would be on behalf of a particular vet. Right now I am just struggling to take care of myself and Jamin. Lorenz was my second service dog: I saved his life at the eleventh hour from animal control, and he saved mine the night I had severe AD by bringing my phone, keeping me calm, and opening the locked door for the EMTs. Lorenz truly was one in a million, and I hope I can bring Jamin to his full potential.
Hey wavewolf. Have you had any issues with acsess? I have had a few restaurants give me a hard time but back down when I mentioned the $50 000 fine. Flying has been great and cruise ships were helpful. Draco has been to Florida, Kentucky, Nevada, Michigan, Grand Turks, the Bahammas and Quebec. He is keeping me warm right now, whenever I am sick he refuses to leave my side. Dogs are awesome!
kevin, I have had a few issues with access with service dog. Lex and I were asked to leave a church program as we were coming in. Weather was good so he was dry, he was brushed out, but they did not want fur in their church! I had been invited by a friend who was not yet there. Also, this church had a ramp with such a steep incline that I could not roll up it, and had to ask for help. That was in my old clunker wheelchair, not the right size and painful to wheel much. Lex was too old to ask him to pull me, and he was becoming paralyzed himself (canine MS). I think they questioned whether he was a service dog, but did not ask me. I just left, no legal protection on private property.
Lex was very well behaved in public, and had been with me numerous times to my favorite jazz club, which also served food. I don't go out much because I do not have a lot of money to spend on non-essentials, and being on strong immunosuppressants for the disease that caused my SCI, it is risky for me to be out in groups of people. Lorenz and I did not get to train in public, because I didn't want to leave Lex alone at home. After Lex died, I put off taking Lorenz out in public until I would have some assistance training him to work with the chair, but that never happened.
Jamin is excellent in public. He has come into stores with me, and there was no trouble other than very narrow aisles. I really need help (backup) to work with him more in public places. Jamin came with me to doctor appts, but one of them asked me not to bring him because she is very allergic to dogs. I am caught with wanting to bring Jamin to get him used to varied settings, but then have to deal with people not wanting him "in the way". He wants to be right next to me all the time. If I do not need him for service while out, then I leave him at home. He is content with that. We play hard when I return, and do some training, which he loves--it's all a game to him, and he loves to play.
My main need for help is at home. My dogs learned to stabilize me while standing, keeping me from tipping backward, or from falling when my legs give out. They also help me move across a limited area, with me holding onto the harness while moving and still have a free hand to carry stuff, and able to have two free hands while standing as they brace against me. Lex and Lorenz learned to pick up things I dropped, and other specific tasks: bring phone, turn out light, bring water bottle from fridge, unlock door, bring a pencil, etc. I made an adaptive wood piece that fits over the key in my deadbolt lock, although the night that Lorenz saved me he opened door with the bare key! Outside the home, I want to train Jamin to assist me on inclines with chair and pick up things I drop. I'd like to have him help move me through store, but that is not practical if I am pushing a cart. And it is painful for me to have things in my lap, which is what I would need to do as alternative. Haven't figured this out yet!
I am amazed at how much traveling you and Draco have done! I am too sick to travel much at all, but would definitely need to have Jamin with me if I did. I get separation anxiety! Yes, when I don't feel well he doesn't leave my side. He stays generally within a few feet of me, even if I just wheel across a room. I hope that you are not sick, because of what you wrote about keeping you warm. I thought it was pretty warm already in Ontario!
Thats the first thought I had too wavewolf,i too hope you are not sick kevin,, I know how hot it can get in Canada in summer.
wavewolf, whenever we go to play ball, no one thinks she is 11 years old, she still has amazing energy and she is fun at home, I have toys for her that she has to find her treats in and she loves playing with them!
I love hearing how your dogs help you and especially with your balance. I remember when I applied for a service dog, I was told that it wasn't within the criteria to aid balance but to be honest, its seemed very odd but I wonder if that would be the case in general?
kevin, i am real pleased that you remind business owners of their responsibility within the law, this will help others too in the same position. It really is time that people who need additional consideration due to disabilities speak out as you do. Unfortunately, it shouldn't be issue in any circumstance but sadly, there is no perfect but we can certainly help by being not tolerating it.
Lαrα, Springers are such "diehards" that they will run themselves into the ground even when they are old! They never slow down! Those toys are great to keep dogs mentally challenged. Truwrecks used a laser pointer for Domino to chase--it was Domino's favorite game, and his reward for a good day of service.
I am so surprised to hear that mobility assistance wasn't part of service dog training when you applied. Maybe it was just in that organization? This is incredibly helpful to me for remaining able to live independently. My dogs have given me more standing time, protection from falling (although Lex and I had a bad fall which ended his mobility assistance), and enabled me to function so much better especially doing kitchen chores.
kevin, it is a good thing that you remind business owners tactfully of their responsibility to disabled patrons with service dogs. Having a well behaved and thoroughly trained service dog like Draco is the best "advertising"!!!