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Service Dog

Dog Training

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Service Dogs

Service dogs are individually trained to help their disabled person. The ADA allows people with service dogs access into privately owned businesses that serve the public. 

 

For medical alert, service dogs can be trained to alert using scent-discrimination (www.heavenscentpaws.com). With Boo, at first I did not notice the alerts she was giving me. Boo’s alerts are subtle. She will sit in front of me and stare, or try and veer me off the sidewalk. She will also try to crawl into my lap.

 

I have NeuroCardiogenic Syncope - physiological nonepileptic seizures. My goal was to get Boo to alert on a regular basis, to stay with me when I am dizzy and when I do faint (seize), and help re-orient me after. I worked on home obedience first (sit, down, stay, come, heel), then brought her out for her public training. 

 

I spoke to my cardiologist and he didn't have any info on NeuroCardiogenic Syncope Alert Service Dogs, but said I should give it a try.

 

Not only is Boo my service dog, she is also a therapy dog, has her AKC Canine Good Citizen, and helps with Canine Good Citizen testing (as the friendly dog). She is a Canine Ambassador. She has been temperament tested.

Boo, My Medical Alert Service Dog

We rescued Boo (a Siberian Husky), right before Halloween in 2004. She was running around in the park alone, we contacted the local Humane Societies and newspaper, no one claimed her, so we got to keep her! Within a month or two I realized that she was alerting me before I would faint. 

 

At first, she was food- and cat-aggressive, pulled on walks, and didn't have any manners. We have worked long and hard on obedience training.

 

We took Boo everywhere - vacations, shopping stores, grocery stores, the mall, the beach, the parks, and the library. Of course, not being blind or deaf with a service dog, some people do question us. One woman told me "but you look normal!" I sometimes hear "I didn't know they allow dogs in here" or "What is that dog doing here", my favorite is "Mommy, look, there's a doggy in the store!"

 

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Alert Examples

We were walking and I started to feel dizzy, she sat right in front of me blocking my path and looked at me.

 

When I've fainted at home I woke to find her right beside me, licking me.

 

She came up to me and stared at me, really different than usual. I told her I'm okay, and felt fine. Not five minutes went by and I was hit with dizziness and nausea, had to lay down for an hour until it had passed. 

 

I was taking her for her walk, in the snow, which, being a husky, she loves and hops around in. So I was glad that she alerted instead of playing longer.

 

Boo laid down right beside and licked me. That seems to be the thing she does while I'm out of it.

 

We brought her for a van ride, and she kept trying to crawl up front onto my lap, about 15 min later, I had an episode.

My mom was visiting us, she has adult-onset diabetes and migraines, and Boo was alerting her to the drop in her blood sugar. She'd jump into mom's lap and tap her with her nose.

 

At the library, she sat right in front of me, and stared at me. I sat down and about 5 min the dizzy-ness came on. 

 

We were out shopping. Boo kept cutting in front of me, I took notice and we went out to the van, and waited. 15 min later I had a bad attack. Luckily we were prepared for it because of Boo!

 

 

I called the American Disability Act Hotline to see if Boo qualifies for protection, being a Syncope-Alert Service Dog. I was told that a service dog is individually trained for each owner to do a specific task. I explained (briefly) about NeuroCardiogenic Syncope, and was told that with Boo alerting, she qualifies as a Service Dog under the ADA protection.

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Gainesville, FL