According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) service animals must be allowed to accompany a person with a disability in areas of a facility where the public is allowed to go. This includes, but is not limited to stores, restaurants, hospitals, ambulances, hotels and lodging, public transportation, educational institutions, senior centers, homeless shelters, stadiums, auditoriums, theaters, museums, gyms, parks and more!
Currently, under the ADA and Arizona law, a business cannot ask a handler to see certification of the animal or ask about the handler’s disability (more to come on that on future #FridayFacts.) However, there are exceptions to allowing service dogs in public. Here are a few:
* If the dog is aggressive and appears to pose a threat to others.
* If the dog is not housebroken.
* If the handler is unable or unwilling to control the animal.
* If the dog creates a burden on the establishment. Example: While service dogs are allowed in the patient rooms of a hospital, they are not allowed to go into areas that need to remain sterile.
* If the dog alters the nature of the establishment. Example: At a zoo a service animal can be restricted to areas where the dog’s presence would not be disruptive to the animals on display.
Additionally, establishments are not allowed to charge a special fee or have service dog handlers pay extra costs for having the service animal accompany them in public.
International Day of Peace, recognized on September 21 every year, is the perfect opportunity to promote peace in the world around us.
Happy birthday to the United States Air Force today!
Continuing last week’s theme about service dog etiquette, this time we're going to discuss the handlers. When people see service dogs they tend to get excited. After all, who can resist those brown eyes, soft ears and impeccable training? Yet that is exactly what you should do if you encounter a service dog in public.
Handlers of service dogs frequently deal with strangers asking them questions. Keep these things in mind if you see a service dog at the store, a restaurant or anywhere else:
* Do NOT ask the handler about their disability. That is just plain rude. Would you want them to ask you about your medical history?
* Do NOT talk to the handler through the dog.
* Do NOT be offended if the handler does not want to talk about their service dog.
* Do NOT be offended if the handler does not want you to touch their service dog (after you have asked first, of course.)
* DO realize that dog is highly valued and well-loved.
* DO help educate young children about service dog etiquette.
* DO pretend the dog is not there. Treat it as you would a wheelchair or any other piece of medical equipment.
Constitution Day September 17th
On September 17 of every year, the United States of America recognizes Constitution Day, which commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution and celebrates those who have become U.S. citizens.
September 11th, Never Forget
On the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we remember the sorrow of that day and the lives lost but let us also remember the strength and determination of those who responded to the tragic events.
Service dog etiquette is something that does not get discussed often enough. Some people know that you should not pet a service dog while it is working, but less people realize that you should NEVER distract them. This means:
* No petting the dog.
* No talking to or trying to get the dog's attention.
* No saying the dog’s name.
* No eye contact with the dog.
Distracting a service dog can prevent it from doing its job, which is keeping their handler safe. Even if you cannot see the handler’s disability or the dog looks like it is “just laying there,” know that while it is on duty the dog has a job to do.
It is the responsibility of all people to not deliberately take the dog’s attention away.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
While there is not a typical pattern or behavior for someone who is suicidal, here are some common warning signs that are easy to spot:
• Talking about dying or wanting to die.
• Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no way out of problems.
• Mentioning strong feelings of guilt or shame.
• Talking about not having a reason to live or that others would be better off without them.
• Social withdrawal and isolation.
• Giving away personal items and wrapping up loose ends.
• Saying goodbye to friends and family.
Some less obvious suicidal warning signs could include:
• Unusual changes in behavior.
• Changes in sleep patterns.
• Accessing lethal means.
• Emotional distancing.
• Physical pain.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day. Call 800-273-8255 for help.
Happy Labor Day!
We hope you have a happy and safe Labor Day!
We all want our best friends to be with us as long as possible. This is a great article from an animal expert sharing tips to help our dogs live a longer, healthier life.
Hopefully we have expressed how highly trained service dogs are. Even though they can interrupt night terrors, detect low insulin or retrieve items off the floor, service dogs are still dogs. As with all dogs, they have their own personalities. Some enjoy cuddles, others love to run and play, and others just like to goof off. No matter the personality, they all need time to just be dogs. Unlike regular pets, service dogs have time to decompress built into their schedule. Once the vest comes off, service dogs know how to make the most of their time.
Help celebrate service dogs by making a donation today to Soldier's Best Friend! Your contribution will help us as we pair dogs from rescue shelters with veterans living with combat-related PTSD or TBI. Help us touch two lives at once!
Click the headline above to be directed to our online donation page.
This week let’s talk about the service dogs that Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF) trains, psychiatric service dogs. Like their physical and intellectual/developmental service dog counterparts, these highly trained dogs help with a wide range of symptoms. The service dogs that we train at SBF help combat-veterans living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI.)
Here are a few examples of how psychiatric service dogs are trained to help their handler:
* Be alert to anxiety and panic attacks and interrupt the attack.
* These service dogs can help with depression.
* They can be trained to wake a person from night terrors.
* They can help mitigate flashbacks or intrusive memories.
* They act as a friendly barrier in crowded places which can help with the uneasiness some veterans experience in these environments.
* Having a service dog means caring for another living being, having to feed it, take it outside, etc. A number of our graduates have expressed that due to these things, having their service dog has helped with their previously reclusive behavior.
* Graduates of our program have reported that having a service dog has helped curb suicidal thoughts.
As always, we caution the public, do NOT interrupt a service dog while it is working. You might not be able to see how it is helping, but it is working hard and distractions are unwelcome.
Inspiration is a fickle thing. It comes and goes with little warning. The good news is, you can always reignite inspiration when you’re feeling uninspired.
Last week we discussed the service dogs trained to help with physical disabilities. This week let’s talk about service dogs who are trained to help with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Again, keep in mind this is a small list of what these dogs can be trained to do.
*These dogs can be trained to interrupt repetitive behavior.
*With children, these service dogs can be taught to alert when the child might be harming themselves.
*The dog can apply deep pressure to help calm a distressed individual.
*They provide tactile stimulation.
*Service dogs will stay close during outings.
*Service dogs can help facilitate social interactions, which helps reduce isolation.
Remember to not distract a service dog while it is working!
We understand that for many veterans, this might be a difficult time with the situation in Afghanistan. Please click the title/link for a quick reference list of resources from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Today is National Nonprofit Day!
Show support for your favorite non-profit (we hope it’s us!) by making a donation. Your contribution will help us as we pair combat-veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with a dog rescued from a local shelter. The team will train together and build a trusting relationship that saves two lives at once and inspires countless others.
Want to support in ways other than by donating? We are always looking for fosters to help us with the rescue dogs as they transition between the shelter and their veteran. To volunteer for this life saving mission, click here: https://soldiersbestfriend.org/how-to-help/foster.html
Last week we mentioned that service dogs perform a wide variety of tasks. We thought we’d delve a little deeper into that.
Service dogs help individuals with physical disabilities. Each human/dog pairing is different, so the dog is trained to help their handler with their specific needs. Below is a small sampling of what they can be trained to do.
* Some service dogs are trained to turn on lights or open doors.
* They can be taught to pick-up items dropped on the ground or retrieve items from other locations, such as picking up keys dropped on the ground or grabbing a cell phone left on the table.
* They can press buttons, for example, on an elevator or the button to open automatic doors.
* If an individual is moving from a wheelchair to the bed (or other location) or if they need assistance getting off the ground, the dogs can be taught to "brace" thus allowing their handler to put weight on the dog for stability.
* Seizure alert dogs can warn the handler of an oncoming seizure, and some will lie next to their handler during the event to prevent injury.
* Diabetic alert service dogs can inform their handlers of a low or high blood sugar event before it becomes dangerous.
* Service dogs can be trained to alert other family members if their handler needs assistance.
These dogs are highly trained professionals. Remember to not distract a service dog while it is working.
SBF gives Gust Rosenfeld a heartfelt 'thank you' for choosing us to be recipient's of their 100th anniversary celebration. Thank you, Gust Rosenfeld, for your generosity during your time of celebration!
Click above to read their official press release.
The journey through training...
Our service dog training program takes a minimum of 6 to 9 months to successfully complete all the requirements needed to master the tasks that help with the handler’s specific symptoms of PTSD and/or TBI. This training includes weekly private sessions and weekly group training sessions. In addition, the veterans are assigned “homework” to keep working with their dogs, even when they are not scheduled for training.
Our supportive trainers and staff try to make the process the best it can be for our veteran/dog teams. No matter the amount of time it takes each team to graduate from the program, we encourage them not to compare their experience to others and focus only on their own journey as everyone walks a different path.
Guide dogs and hearing dogs are possibly the most commonly known types of service dog, but service dogs perform tasks for a wide range of disabilities. Most of them fit into one of four categories: physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. The work that the service dog is trained to perform is unique to their handler’s specific set of needs; because of this, every human/service dog team is different.
No matter what type of work they do, it is important to never distract the service dog from doing its very important job of keeping their handler safe.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is closing its national office for a week to provide employees paid time off for a mental health break and encourages other companies to do the same. Click the headline to read more.
Did you know that therapy dogs, emotional support animals and other working canines are not service dogs?
Therapy dogs do an important job. They are also well-trained, friendly, sweet-tempered dogs, but above all else, they are pets. They often volunteer in hospitals, schools, group homes, funerals, disaster areas, etc. Unlike service dogs, they only have access to buildings where pets are allowed.
Emotional support animals can be any species. Their purpose is to provide comfort. These animals are also not permitted special public access.
Facility dogs are a specialized form of therapy dogs. These dogs are often found in counselor’s offices, physical therapist’s offices or anywhere else a professional provides specialized services to numerous people. As with therapy dogs and emotional support animals, facility dogs are not permitted in public places outside the building where they work.
A newer form of therapy dog are courthouse companion dogs. These specialized dogs are trained to work with children (or adults) in the courtroom to provide support when painful or difficult testimony is being given. Outside of the courtrooms that they work in, they do not have public access.
Working dogs, such as search and rescue, military k9s and police dogs are also not service dogs.
Friday, July 30 is considered International Day of Friendship. Celebrate with these ways you can show the people you love the most just how much they mean to you.
Service dogs cannot be identified simply by looking at them. There is not a stipulation on what kind of dog can be a service dog, they can come in all shapes, sizes, colors and breeds if they can effectively execute the tasks needed to help mitigate the symptoms of the disability.
While some breeds are more commonly used as service dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherd Dogs, for example, the most important thing is that the dog is handler-focused, desensitized to distractions and trained to be highly reliable to perform specific tasks. Service dogs need to be attentive and responsive to their handlers.
In short, if a dog has the proper temperament, loves to learn, and is physically healthy, then they’re capable of training to be a service dog! Our two SBF graduates pictured left, Sarge (Chihuahua/Yorkie) and Toki (English mastiff), are two great examples of service dog diversity.
Seeking bottled water donations!
Our veteran/dog teams continue training throughout the hot summer months. To help them stay hydrated we are looking for businesses interested in donating cases of water.
Please reach out to email@example.com or call our office 623-218-6486 to coordinate.
Thank you for your support!
Service dogs are professionals who are trained to help a person with a disability lead a more independent life. These dogs go through hundreds of hours of training, which includes basic obedience, manners, intermediate and advanced skills along with public access training. Each service dog is also trained job-specific tasks to help their human partner with their set of unique needs.
Check back each Friday for more fast facts about service dogs.
You don’t have to choose just one cause or organization to support. You can provide support for various causes and various organizations. Take the time to figure out what feels right for you and your own goals for doing good in the world.
Weather across the country is heating up, and it’s the perfect time to get out and enjoy mother nature. As it turns out, when it comes to spending time outside, the benefits go far beyond the fresh air.
Happy Fourth of July!
Remember that veterans and dogs can be triggered by fireworks. Please be safe and courteous of others. Happy Fourth of July!
Soldier's Best Friend Receives Grant from Thunderbirds Charities
Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF) is the proud recipient of a recent grant award from Thunderbirds Charities. Funding will support SBF’s Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program.
“Support from Thunderbirds Charities allows us to continue providing services to our veteran/dog teams throughout the state of Arizona. This generous funding supports our ongoing commitment to offer our programming at no cost to veterans living in Arizona with combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), while also providing loving homes and important missions to rescued dogs. The impact on our veterans, their families, and communities can be profound. With a fully trained Service Dog our graduates often share that they can re-engage in public activities not only with their families but in their communities as well.” said Katie Ares, Executive Director.
Founded in 2011 by Dr. John Burnham, Soldier’s Best Friend is proud to celebrate its 10th Anniversary this year. To date, 302 veteran/dog teams have graduated from Soldier’s Best Friend’s Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program and over 183 dogs have been rescued from shelters across the state of Arizona.
June 27th, National Sunglasses Day
Today is National Sunglasses Day. This day is about celebrating the importance of wearing shades to protect the eyes from the sun’s harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays. Let's follow Bella's example (pictured left) and sport our shades.
Thank you Walmart Neighborhood Market 4275 in Peoria!
SBF Executive Director, Katie Ares, stopped by Walmart Neighborhood Market 4275 in Peoria for a check presentation and donation. Thank you so much Walmart for your generosity!
100.7 KSLX Operation Pets and Vets a success!
We at Soldier’s Best Friend are humbled by the generosity of the listeners of 100.7 KSLX. At the conclusion of Operation Pets and Vets last week, a total of $70,082.27 was raised! With the utmost appreciation we give a giant THANK YOU to Mark & Neanderpäul!
Click the headline above to find insightful information, put together by Veteran Car Donations, regarding symptoms, health conditions and even treatments for PTSD.
If you’re able, use World Blood Donor Day as a time to give back and save lives by donating blood. If you aren’t able to safely do so, consider helping out in one of the various other ways to help spread awareness.
100.7 KSLX Operation Pets for Vets
For the third year 100.7 KSLX's Mark & NeanderPaul are supporting Soldier's Best Friend with their weeklong fundraiser, Operation Pets for Vets, starting June 14 - 18, 2021.
SBF Board Member, Victoria Bellomo-Rosacci, recently participated in a podcast on Business Radio to discuss how she has witnessed first-hand the positive impact service dogs have on people. Click the title to listen.
There are some wounds that never show on the body. They run deeper and more painful than anything that bleeds. PTSD treatment will help. Don't wait.
Remember & Honor this Memorial Day
Join us this Memorial Day as we honor our fallen heroes who gave their lives for our country. We have the deepest gratitude and appreciation for the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Thank you Albertsons and Safeway for awarding Soldier's Best Friend with a grant to support the service dog training program!
We are always looking for fosters, who provide an essential element for the dogs as they transition between the shelter and being paired with a combat-veteran.
Click the headline above to help save the life of a homeless Arizona dog.
Here are ways to observe National Rescue Dog Day:
* ADOPT: If there is room in your life for a dog, consider adopting a rescue dog.
* FOSTER: Many dogs abandoned to shelters benefit from socialization or would just thrive better away from the shelter environment. Others may be in need of some medical care or rehabilitation in a home setting before an adoption can take place.
* HELP A SHELTER: Shelters always need support. In addition to financial donations, shelters have a list of much needed items such as blankets, toys, treats, and leashes. You can also host a bake sale, car wash, or other event to raise funds for the shelter.
* VOLUNTEER: Help out at your local shelter. Taking dogs for walks, grooming, and giving them plenty of affection improves their socialization.
* SPAY/NEUTER: Be responsible for your pets. Overpopulation is the number one reason shelters exist.
* EDUCATE: Teach young children the importance of kindness, unconditional love, and responsible care of all animals.
May is National Military Appreciation Month
We’re still celebrating National Military Appreciation Month (NMSM) for the rest of May! Don’t forget to honor active duty and former armed service members.
Shoutout to Corte Bella Vets!
Thank you Corte Bella Vets for your generosity sponsoring a veteran/dog team going through the SBF training program.
Team sponsorships have a direct impact on a combat-veterans and rescue dogs by allowing them to go through the program at no cost. If you are interested in sponsoring a veteran/dog team, visit our donation page: https://soldiersbestfriend.org/how-to-help/donate.html
There's still spots open for our 10th Anniversary Sporting Clay Event, don't wait much longer or they will be gone!
Armed Forces Day is a day to say THANK YOU!
From Soldier's Best Friend, thank you to all the men and women, past and present, who have served in the military.
Ways to celebrate Armed Forces Day
• Thank a man or woman who serves or has served
• Wear red, white and blue
• Fly the American flag
• Talking with or writing to a military member
• Donate to veteran or military-based organizations
• Send care packages for those serving overseas
• Volunteer through the VA or a veterans service organization
Thank you Sundt Construction, Inc.
Thank you Sundt Construction, Inc. for supporting SBF over the past six years! We appreciate the partnership and hope it continues for many years to come.
Mental Health Facts & Figures
Here are some data points on the scope of mental health:
* 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
* 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year.
* 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
* 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
* Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.
Happy Mother's Day
One day isn’t enough to celebrate all the sacrifices moms have made and all the love they have given. To all the moms out there, however you are celebrating, we hope you are doing what you love. Happy Mother’s Day!