Take Your Dog Everywhere

Aaaah, the Bark Post. My favorite dog blog.

Today’s post absolutely cracked me up.

Fake service dogs are a big thing right now, as you know if you’ve ever laid eyes on this blog before, and my knee-jerk reaction to articles titled things like DIY How to Take Your Dog Everywhere is to get pissed and indignant, and before I’ve even clicked the link, I’ve crafted a nasty email to the author in my mind. I’m in the habit of brandishing the ADA, my sword and shield these days, before having a human conversation. Continue reading

How Do You Do It?

Ask any Puppy Raiser for any organization what question he or she is asked the most; I’d be willing to bet my life and Bright’s that it’s something to the effect of, “How can you raise and love a puppy, then just give it away? I could never give them up!”

There have been about a thousand blog posts written and graduation speeches given that answer The Question, but I always enjoy hearing from individuals about what motivates them to keep doing what they do. Continue reading

Silver Oak School Makes it PAWsible

Last Thursday, Bright and I had the pleasure of presenting to about 700 elementary schoolers at Silver Oak School in San Jose. We were invited because the whole school is participating in an ingenious fundraiser for CCI called Make it PAWsible. Mr. Laraway, a 5th grade teacher, has personal ties to CCI through his sister who received multiple dogs and dedicated much of her time to volunteer work for CCI.

Did you ever do service learning projects when you were in school? The general purpose is to allow students to practice organizational skills and often teamwork while introducing them to some sort of social responsibility. When I was in school, we did things like cleaning up public parks and collecting gently used clothing for donation. Continue reading

Fake Service Dogs on NBC

As many of you know, Bright and I were interviewed by Vicky Nguyen from NBC for a story about the issue of people pretending that their pet dogs are Service Dogs. Reactions to the story have been overwhelmingly supportive, and I’m excited to see where things go from here. 

The issue raises one big question, though, and it seems that the SD community is divided on the solution. I’d like to hear what you think:

Should the US have a standardized system by which to train, certify, and identify Service Dogs? What would be the advantages? What would be the drawbacks? 

Click here to read the article, Fake.

Click here to watch the story on NBC.

Click here to see what makes Service Dogs special.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Hot Dog

Welcome to a series of posts I’ll do whenever I have an entire day to devote to creating an infographic. (Seriously, it’s my first one and I worked on it for like 9 hours, so please, be kind.)

There are two things going on here: (1) I’ve been looking for an excuse to practice design and illustration and (2) It’s summer and a lot of dogs get hurt when we take them out and about. Continue reading

Loving our Community

Over the last several weeks, Bright and I have gotten to participate in several events to raise awareness of or benefit CCI, and we’ve just loved it. To give you a little idea of what we’ve been up to, here are some photos of the events!

March 26, we visited 5th graders at a school in Saratoga.

The school had a full day of special programming in the form of a Health and Science Fair. Presenters came from many different kinds of organizations and institutions. CCI was asked to be there in order to represent a very unique cross-section of health and science, where assistive technology meets the animal kingdom. Continue reading

Ugly

Dogs sure are ugly. Just kidding. If there’s one universal truth, it’s this: Dogs are always cute. Always.

Welcome to the second happiest place on earth (obviously nothing trumps Disney): Help On Four Legs’ weekly post of ridiculously cute pictures of Service Dogs and Puppies in Training doing awesome stuff. Visit us every Thursday at noon (PST) for another!

Does your dog carry the groceries? Mine does.

Does your dog carry the groceries? Mine does.

Want to join in the fun? Send a picture and caption to helponfourlegs@gmail.com, and you just might see it on Help On Four Legs next week!

Crazy. Part Two.

Consider this the sequel to the last article I posted. Crazy. Part One. was about the nutso things that people say to me just for having a disability. Brace yourselves, folks, because this one brings in a whole new level of crazy. Dog People Crazy.

Like it or not, dog people are whacko. I’m a dog lady. I totally get it. We see those fluffy, furry, sweet bundles of doggy love and we forget our manners. But there’s manner-forgetting within reason, and then there’s totally-insane-what-planet-are-you-from behavior.

If you haven’t read Crazy. Part One. yet, go do that before you continue.

If you’ve already read it, read on and enjoy. Continue reading

I Could Never Do That

The last article on Help On Four Legs really focused on the labor of a Puppy Raiser. I sang their praises, and thanked them for their hard work and sacrifices. It’s like being a surrogate parent; Puppy Raisers care for these little hell-raising fur balls just until they start to act like civilized adults, then they give them back.

“I could never do that.” 

 When I tell curious strangers about the process, the 5 words above are almost always the first they utter.

Ok, so you could never do that. There’s a lot you can do, though. Continue reading

Pups at Play

Remember the post “Tag! You’re it!“? I wanted to back it up with some proof. Check out these hard working CCI dogs having a well deserved pool party.

“Sit. No. Sit. No. Sit!”

A couple of times a week, I get asked if Bright is in training. It probably shouldn’t, but it’s kind of giving me a complex; does she look like she’s in training? Do I look inexperienced at handling her? Or is the idea of a graduated, working Service Dog just so foreign to most people that they assume that every dog they see in public is in training for that far-off, out of this world goal? Or maybe it’s because I’m not blind – Service Dogs are always seeing eyes, right?

Even though Bright has achieved that far-off goal, the issue begs another question: Is a Service Dog ever done with training? Continue reading

Tag! You’re it!

While most people we encounter marvel at Bright’s impeccable behavior and good looks (hehe), every once in awhile, someone decides she needs pity: “Oh, that poor dog always has to work. I bet she wishes she could play sometimes.”

Let me start with this: Of course she gets to play! Come on! Continue reading

Legislation: It’s for the Dogs

Voting day!

Bright and I hope that you all exercise your wonderful right to vote today, and that you cast it not out of fear or obligation, but because you know it’s right.

On that note, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about breed specific legislation today, as it’s an issue that impacts tens of thousands of dogs and their people. This article really just scratches the surface; if it’s something you’re interested in, I encourage you to do some of your own research. Continue reading

Getting Ready for Hurricane Sandy

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East Coasters! You’re in for quite the storm! For those of you with pups closer to the action, I just read an awesome tip on Facebook from my CCI pal Nancy.

In your go bag, don’t forget your pup’s meds and Muttlucks/booties (in case you have to cross any floodwater that may have sharp debris in it). May also want to consider a break away flat collar (e.g., the KeepSafe Break-Away Flat Collar) that will free your dog in case he gets caught on something and can’t free himself.

In addition, I’d suggest these items:

– At least a week’s worth of food
– Quick Stop powder
– Identification
– A current photo, in case you become separated
– Important vet records
– Phone numbers for emergency vets

My hope is that none of you are forced to evacuate, but in the case that you are, be safe!

Do you have any other tips?

Rub a Dub Dub

A pup in the tub!

About once a day, someone says, “Wow! Your dog is so beautiful!”

Guess what. That takes a lot of work. Continue reading