Friday, September 30, 2011

Reach Out and Touch Somebody

I have been busy with school this week (mid terms are coming up) and haven't had a chance to blog.  Instead, I'm going to direct you to a friend's blog where I was featured as a guest writer last month.

The story is about the important of connecting with animals through touch.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Training or Gaining a Service Dog

I've been asked by a couple people recently about how to go about either getting a service dog or training one.  Yay for people reading my blog!

There are several groups throughout the US and some around the world, that train service dogs.  One of the more well established organizations is the Delta Society.  This non-profit has been around for a little over 30 years and they are built on the thought that "People are healthier and happier because companion, service and therapy animals enrich and positively impact their everyday lives."

With that in mind, they have come up with a directory of service animal trainers and training programs.  You can search by state, organization name, and/or what disability you have.  I appreciate this listing that they've put together because when I was trying to find a group that trains companion dogs in Florida for someone, I was having a hard time.  My search was full of obedience classes which wasn't what I was looking for. The other good thing about using this directory is that the Delta Society acts as an accreditation board, so if a group makes it on their list, you can be assured that the program is legit.

As far as international directories, I've been able to locate one for Australia and interestingly enough, they have a Delta Society there too, although it doesn't seem to have any connection to the one in the US besides the name.  Otherwise, I'm having a hard time finding directories for countries outside the US.  If you have found one for somewhere else, please let me know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Animals Provide Spa Treatment II

I hate feet.

I think they are disgusting.  I don't want to touch anybody's (sorry hubby!)  And I definitely don't want anyone touching mine.  So I'm not someone that gets pedicures.

But, I just might be interested in trying a pedicure that doesn't involve people touching my feet.  Instead, little fish do the job.

You can read more about this interesting idea here.  Unfortunately, fish pedicures have been banned in the US.  Evidently people were worried about the spread of disease.  Again, I've never had a pedicure, so I don't know, but do people normally get as much joy out of pedicures as Samantha Brown does from these fish? (fast forward to 0:50s for some reason I can't get it to link at that point)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Animals Provide Spa Treatment Part I

Rocky, my cat has that strange habit of kneading blankets, pillows, really anything soft including us, with his paws.  Evidently it's more common than I initially thought.  Some of my co-workers call it "making bread".

One evening, my husband remarked, while being kneaded in the back by Rocky, that cats should be used for massage.  I don't know that anyone has capitalized on cats' abilities to work the knots out, but another animal has been used as massage therapists.

In Israel, you can swim in the dead sea, walk in the Garden of Gethsemane, and get a massage by several snakes.  Ada Barak is the brains behind this spa treatment idea.  She noticed that people seem to calm down when they interacted with her snakes.  With that thought in mind, she figured that using snakes in massage would be a great idea.

Evidently she's not the only one because her snakes have been giving massages since 2007.  

I don't know, what do you think?  Would you be calmed by a snake masseuse?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Advanced Canine Detectives

Today is the final installment of National Dog Day Heroes and I've been waiting since Tuesday to write about this group.  They don't necessarily fit the "Animals Help Heal" topic of the blog, but I think that their service should definitely be recognized.

With all that being said, today's spotlight is on Advanced Canine Detectives LLC for their use of dogs in discovering bed bugs.

This group brings dogs to hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, airlines, cruises and other places that bed bugs might go and the dogs are trained to sniff out living bed bugs and their eggs.  Advanced Canine Detectives report a 97% accuracy rate for their doggy companions.

The group offers its services in Connecticut, upstate New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Long Island.  So why would someone hire this group instead of something more traditional?  Their website lists several reasons, but one of my favorite is: "Dogs are Honest.  Dogs are trained to work for food and love... and NOT for profits."  To go along with that, the company also mentions on their homepage that they are not exterminators, they just find the bugs, so no conflict of interest there either.

One last thing about this group that endears them to me is that Mardi Gras, one of the beagles, is a Hurricane Katrina rescue dog.  I'm glad he or she has a new life with a sense of purpose.

So, would anyone hire this company next time you need to check for bed bugs?  I think it would be fun, just to see the dogs hunting.
He's not a Canine Detective but maybe someday he could be.  This is Rio, who is occasionally featured in a friend's blog:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Autism Service Dogs

Autism is something that's been making the news a lot recently and today's National Dog Day hero is Yori, an Autism Service Dog.  Watch his video:

Yori was trained through Canine Companions for Independence which gives dogs to people with disabilities at no cost.  I have to say, that really makes me think highly of this group!  The only problem with that is CCI potentially has to turn people away because they can only accept a limited number of applicants each year.

While I was doing research for today's group I came across another group that also trains Autism Service Dogs, 4 Paws for Ability.  They differ in that, they don't give the dogs "for free" because it really costs $22,000 to raise and train these service dogs.  Instead, 4 Paws for Ability asks the family to help raise $13,000, which allows the families to potentially get the dogs quicker than waiting years to be accepted into another program.  On their website they mention that the fundraising generally takes 3-9 months.  Below is a video from someone working on fundraising for an Autism Service Dog for their son.  The video helps explain how Whit would benefit from the dog.  

I learned a lot from the video about what a parent to an autistic child has to deal with.  Having an Autism Service Dog could definitely give the parents some peace of mind.
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