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All's Quiet in Leo's World

Hello again!

Happy Thursday. I hope all who read this are warm, safe, dry, and well fed. Hurricane Irene has been quite a disruption in so many lives :-(

So, this has been a quiet week in Leo’s world. He was neutered yesterday and came through with flying colors. He'll be kept crated to restrict his activity level for the next several days while he heals. According to Leslie (our trainer), he was acting like the horny teenaged boy he is — interested in anything on four legs, lol. He should settle into training more now and be able to relax and focus better without all the hormonally driven distraction.

Donations were off this week as well, which didn’t surprise me at all. To date, we’ve raised $1,685, which is absolutely nothing to sneeze at. Truly, I’m so very, very grateful for every dollar! There are now five authors writing for this cause — Anais Mark, Bella Flan, eddibell69, just duckie, and Sebastien Robichaud. The compilation will go to all donors. Tkegl still has banners available for a donation of $25 a piece, and Bella Flan is offering her stellar beta services for a one-shot to the next donor of $50 to claim her. Jeez, I feel like a public radio or tv station during pledge time! Ha ha ha ha ha! :-D

Over the last week, there were a couple of very good questions posted. One has become the topic of this post, and the other (why a clicker is used in training) is addressed by Leslie in the newest video post I’ve added under the Leo’s World tab.The video is of Cosby (another dog in a more advanced stage of training) showing off the skills he’s learned in the last six months in front of a cacophonous group of dogs in the kennel. I suggest you view Leo’s first training videos (here) then Cosby’s (here) because you’ll see the before and after of platform training beautifully illustrated.

So, now, the question posted by Mingo is:

Hey Mal... I have a question for you… Can you tell me how a service dog will impact your life? I've generally only ever thought of service dogs helping people that are blind, and have never given any real thought to how else they can help people out. Are you willing to share this? If so, I'd love to hear your response. I'm a bit clueless at this point :)

And the short answer is:

Leo will replace my cane. He’ll be considered a mobility support dog. I need something to help me keep my balance, my orientation in space, and sometimes bear a little weight when my foot/ankle is painful. In the US, with ADA, a service dog is considered medical equipment (like a cane, walker, or wheelchair), and is legally entitled to go with me everywhere. So, I also have the comfort of never being alone (I have a dab of agoraphobia due to numerous frightening incidents in public alone with only crutches, canes, and/or wheelchair to assist me). There's a weird invisibility that comes with any sort of disability or difference, and while people still don't see me, they see my dog, and I'm not knocked over, tripped, cane knocked out from under me, etc.

For service dogs basics along with specific links to additional detailed information about the ins and outs of acquiring, training, travel, house, etc., click here for the Delta Society web site. For good general information about service dogs, including their raising, life, and a note on proper etiquette when you encounter one, click here.

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have. Don’t be shy! To educate and share information about service dogs in general is a big part of my motivation for creating this blog and writing these posts. Most people I’ve encountered don’t realize there are a plethora of things service animals are trained to do. It’s a whole lot more than guide dogs for the visually impaired these days! If it’s something I don’t know, or about training specifically, I’ll find out the answer and/or ask Leslie.

Have a great week!

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