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Service Dogs

Service Dogs

Postby Shiva » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:58 am

Amazing Grace O'Malley is my SDIT - service dog in training. I have multiple disabilities: a probable diagnosis of spondyloarthropathy - most likely ankylosing spondylitis - as well as PTSD and chronic fatigue syndrome. Standing and waking are painful for me, and I use wheelchair much of the time.

She is a clown. :heart:
Image
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Re: Service Dogs

Postby downwithapathy » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:10 pm

That picture is adorable. I've been thinking more and more about service dogs lately.

Two facts about my late canine brother C.D.:
1. He always woke my diabetic mother up at night when her blood sugar dropped too low. He learned to do this naturally, without training and was EXTREMELY reliable, something of an icon among Mom's friends.
2. All of C.D.'s life, he sniffed people's eyes. Always. Everyone. It was part of his greeting ritual. He sniffed my eye several times/day the whole time I lived with him. It was like a fixation. Once the eye was sniffed, he could move on with his life. My whole family thought this was hilarious and still jokes about it. I remember discussing C.D.'s eye-sniffing with a professor once in college. She didn't have an explanation.

The other day, I found myself reading an article about service dogs trained to do exactly what C.D. had done all of those years... to wake or otherwise alert diabetics when their blood sugar drops too low. The article stated that the dogs monitor blood sugar by subtle changes in the scent of one's breath or THE FLUID IN ONE'S EYE.

Amazing. I read the article to Mom, and now she's trying to teach Annie to sniff her eye. :D

This got me thinking. Presumably, C.D.'s sense of smell wasn't too much different from Annie's. Both were/are dogs with scent hound ancestry. It's very likely that both Zoe and Annie can smell the same subtle changes in eye fluid or breath that C.D. did. The primary difference, I suspect, is that C.D. made a mental connection. I wonder how one could lead another dog to make the same connection. Any ideas?
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Re: Service Dogs

Postby Shiva » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:50 pm

Diabetic Alert Dogs are trained in scent discrimination, much like drug and bomb detecting dogs. Here are some articles that you may find interesting:

Scent Detection 101 (Diabetic Alert Dogs)

Scent Training Your Diabetic Alert Dog

Seizure alert dogs, interestingly, are much more of a mystery. There isn't any definitive evidence that the dogs who can do this are picking up on scent or other signals. It may be a combination of factors (though the ability of some SADs to alert from another room does seem to indicate that scent is a strong factor). The talent for seizure detection and alerting seems to be an innate ability in some dogs.
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Re: Service Dogs

Postby shananigans » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:32 am

This is all fascinating. I've heard of dogs that can sniff out cancer. Dogs are so amazing.
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Re: Service Dogs

Postby Shiva » Thu May 05, 2011 7:31 pm

I'm using the Teamwork books. (Teamwork I, Teamwork II)They're written for (and by) people with physical disabilities, and a lot of the training exercises have different instruction sets depending on if you use a walking aid, are in a manual wheelchair, are in a power wheelchair, etc. I really like them and recommend them. i don't think that anyone else here is looking for something like this, but you never know who the Google will bring in. :)
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Re: Service Dogs

Postby Shiva » Thu May 05, 2011 7:35 pm

Dog Star Daily article about the new(ish) service dog laws: ADA Service Dog Changes Effective on Ides of March
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ESAs

Postby matryoshka » Mon May 23, 2011 9:24 pm

after the summer i am going to be living alone, and i'm a tiny bit nervous about it with my depression and anxiety. my parents also expressed this concern and suggested that i get an emotional support dog (esa). i think it's a great idea and i'm really excited about it. i'm a little fuzzy on the housing laws, though. do any of you know more about it? shiva, i think you had posted some links over at VRF a while back?
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Re: Service Dogs

Postby vegankitty » Wed May 25, 2011 9:12 pm

This link from the Delta Society talks about the Fair Housing Act and how it applies to service animals. http://www.deltasociety.org/Page.aspx?pid=489
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Re: Service Dogs

Postby panthera » Thu May 26, 2011 1:42 pm

[quote="downwithapathy";p=1654]2. All of C.D.'s life, he sniffed people's eyes. Always. Everyone. It was part of his greeting ritual. He sniffed my eye several times/day the whole time I lived with him. It was like a fixation. Once the eye was sniffed, he could move on with his life. My whole family thought this was hilarious and still jokes about it. I remember discussing C.D.'s eye-sniffing with a professor once in college. She didn't have an explanation.

The other day, I found myself reading an article about service dogs trained to do exactly what C.D. had done all of those years... to wake or otherwise alert diabetics when their blood sugar drops too low. The article stated that the dogs monitor blood sugar by subtle changes in the scent of one's breath or THE FLUID IN ONE'S EYE.


:o :cool: Soooo Cooooollll!!!

Shiva, cute picture of the shiny black "greyhound!" :wink:
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