Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back

Twenty-eleven has been a busy year for Canines for Service.  We would like to thank the countless hours our Volunteers dedicate to our mission.  Whether serving as Board members, raising a service dog in the Canines for Service or Canines for Veterans programs, providing animal assisted therapy in the Canines for Therapy program, being a literacy mentor in the Canines for Literacy program, helping us in the office or at events, we thank you.  To our donors, supporters and corporate sponsors, thank you.  Without your financial support we could not continue to serve the people who are waiting for their service dog, or train the therapy teams that visit in our communities.  

This year we served nine individuals waiting for their service dog, visited over 50 facilities for animal assisted therapy, and served several hundred children struggling with reading.  But, there are many more still waiting. Celebrating our 15th year anniversary is just the beginning.  Our goals for 2012 include partnering 12 to 15 individuals with their service dogs, expanding the Canines for Therapy and Canines for Literacy programs to Charleston, SC, achieving the U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Program for service dog training in both South and North Carolina, and moving into a facility that will allow us to serve more people, offer job-training to Veterans and civilians and economic development in our community.  

We look forward to a bright and prosperous 2012 and we need you to make that happen.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Canines for Service Continues to Serve Our Veterans

With the mission complete in Iraq, our brave troops are returning home after serving and sacrificing so much.  Now more than ever, our service members need us. Many will continue in their military careers and many will embark on a career in the civilian world.  Many will be dealing with varying degrees of physical impairment, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. 

Serving our Veterans is a priority to Canines for Service in the Canines for Veterans (CFV) program.  Providing a quality trained and Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant service dog to assist those with physical impairment, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the foundation of the CFV program.  By the ADA, a service dog must do work or perform tasks to benefit an individual with a disability; three key words, tasks, individual and disability.  A service dog is trained to serve one individual with specific skills to help that individual mitigate their disability.  From stabilizing a person when they are walking to retrieval of items, each service dog has been trained considering the needs and variations of the disabilities trained for.  

A service dog is not a companion animal (pet)therapy animal, social or emotional support animal; these are entirely different, do not meet the intent of the ADA and have no legal rights.  Another words a companion, therapy, social or emotional animal does not by law have access to public places such as restaurants, banks, grocery stores, shopping malls, airports/airplanes[1], etc.  Those that perpetrate their pet as a service dog are in violation of the law.

There is a lot of  information about people or groups providing “service” dogs for our Veterans.  The caution to our service members is if you are truly getting a service dog that you need or are you being provided a pet disguised as something it is not. 

Veterans and family members need to do their homework.  Ask questions. 
  • ·         How is the service dog trained? 
  • ·         How long is the training for the service dog?
  • ·         What is the method of the training?
  • ·         Are the dogs trained positively or with negative methods? 
  • ·         How many hours of training does each dog have? 
  • ·         Has the service dog had routine veterinary care and is it spayed or neutered?
  • ·         Are the veterinary records provided?
  • ·         What skills does the dog do?
  • ·         Is there a fee for the service dog?
  • ·         How is the training provided to the person receiving the dog? 
  • ·         Is the person required to train the dog themselves?  
  • ·         Is there follow-up by the service dog provider? 
  • ·         What happens if there is an issue after the dog is received?   

Canines for Veterans stands ready to serve our Veterans as we have done since this program started in January 2008.   A Veteran receiving a service dog from our program can be assured they are receiving a dog trained in skills to mitigate their disability.  They will have individualized training with their service dog and have ongoing follow-up consultation and/or training.  The service dog CFV provides is ADA compliant and meets all intent of the law.  Our staff is available to answer questions before application, during the application process and after the receipt of the service dog.  

Are you a Veteran or do you know a Veteran who could benefit from a service dog? Contact us today to learn how CFV can help a Veteran regain their independence in 2012.

What are you waiting for? 

[1] Aircraft carriers act