It’s Amazing! Wix Knows How To Run Off It’s Best Clients!

Once again Wix shoots itself in the foot. It pops up an ad in the middle of your screen, then refuses to undo it. I think Wix is a big bully. Whomever is doing their advertising is a dork. My site reaches over a quarter million viewers, yet I haven’t been able to adequately acess it to write my blog in weeks, which has made it inevitable that I’ve had to rely on other websites to carry my messages.

Stupid way to do business. If I thought I might be upgrading my free site soon, I won’t till this is fixed. It’s rude to act like that to your best websites. I sent them a letter, letting them know that I wrote this and why. Because you see…these people were looking for it. Stupid.

Nothing makes me more mad than stupidity. Which is not thinking about the consequences of their actions. There’s enough competition that blocking one’s acess to their site is stupidity. Now all the other sites will get articles days and weeks later than they expected. All because someone in your advert department had a very bad idea.

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Four Feet And A Tail. Memories Of Our 9-11 Search And Rescue Dogs

*Featured Post: ‘Cowboy’ a FEMA Search And Rescue Dog Courtesy AP

 

cowboy

NEVER. FORGET.

Never forget their courage, perseverance, undying unconditional love that drove them on at first to find the last few survivors, then the daunting task of finding loved ones, giving some closure to shattered families.

Over three hundred dogs searched. The dogs that were primarily ‘live’ search dogs became despondent when they eventually felt, then smelled death all around them in the hell-hole called ‘the pit’.

They did more than search. They gave comfort to the first responders when human comfort wasn’t enough, and canine comfort and understanding could break through. Perhaps that was their greatest victory in that most horrifying of times. Comfort. Peace. The tranquility that washes over a stressed human when he lets the healing energy of a trained service dog tickle through their fingertips that softly brush the fur on the dog…and the positive energy that courses from one entity in the world that truly understands at that moment in time what a hurting soul is feeling.

Our last surviving dog from that day just passed away earlier this year. These heroes all are at eternal rest now, a well-deserved one. No broken buildings, smoke or human depravity there…just peace.

GOD BLESS OUR SERVICE DOGS

siriusIn memory of K-9 Sirius, the only K-9 to be lost in the disaster. His partner made it out alive.

 

 

 

Where Were You That Terrible Day When The World As We Knew It Changed Forever? And A Nation’s Heart Broke.

Do you remember where you were? What you were doing? You’re thoughts, fears and concerns at that one defining moment of time for our country?

I write of course about 9-11.

Many of you who read this, hadn’t even been a gleam in their mother’s eye when 9-11 happened. That is the most sad part for me, when I remember. That there are people who don’t know what the world was like…before.

~~~

My husband Bill and I have always loved the mountains. And the glory that Autumn brings to our region of the country draws lines of cars on Fall weekends, which is why the folks in these parts like to go up to the mountains in the middle of the week, when there aren’t so many tourists.

It was shaping up to be an awesome Fall. The sky that day was as blue as the bluest robin’s egg. And clear! Crisp like the first bite of a McIntosh apple, it was…that little nip in the early morning air, the smell of leaves, changing, the light in the morning being so bright, and the days each growing shorter…

The one tiny sleigh bell that we have attached to our kitchen door chimed as Bill barreled into the kitchen, with his backpack from work, and followed by two hungry Dalmatians~ Hannah and Echo. I had the day off, and had slept in, knowing that the sweet bell in the kitchen would awaken me when Bill came home after working night shift at the local hospital. I worked the three to eleven shift as a pre-op nurse at a smaller regional hospital. We’ve always had bells in our home. It’s family thing. Mom put up sleigh bells (real ones) on the front door one year. She loved them so much, she never took them down. First my sister adopted the sleigh bell idea. When her kids grew up, lo and behold, they all have sleigh bells on their front door too! My brother’s home has sleigh bells too, on the front door.

I’m a big fan of “It’s A Wonderful Life” starring the incomparable Jimmy Stewart. In nearly the last scene of the film, Jimmy is holding his little girl, next to the Christmas tree. “Look Daddy!” she exclaimed in her baby voice. “Look, a bell just rang on the tree…Mommy says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” I’ve always loved that thought. Hence the bells on our entryway to our home.

I called a cheerful “hello”, and Bill hugged me and gave me a big kiss. “Fall is here! Can you smell it?”, he asked me with a huge grin on his face. “Yup, there’s not a doubt!” I smiled right back. “We need to get up to the mountains…perhaps next week?” I suggested. “Lemme look at my schedule and we will figure something out with yours. “  Bill mused.The eternal juggling schedules that run and ruin the life of anyone in the medical field. My family, all artists, had not a clue why I couldn’t just appear at all the different family dinners. Bill and I had stopped trying at this point to explain, and just tried for a little time to ourselves once in a while, and  Autumn was definitely one of those times.

“Still tired?” Bill asked me with concern written over his face. “Yeah, it seems I can never get enough sleep, even when it’s eight or more hours.”I complained. “It seems so hard to bounce back from a shift, and I don’t remember it ever being like that when I was in nursing at first” I muttered. “Take a nap, then, I”ll watch TV for a few minutes to unwind, and be right in after I give the dogs breakfast, OK?” Bill said. It sounded heavenly to me, so he tucked me back into bed, and I heard the munching and crunching noises of two very happy and hungry Dalmatians. Then outside they went to our half-acre in the back to stretch those long legs. Before too long, they wanted inside, to take a nap in their vari-kennels. I heard Bill start a small load of scrubs for both of us. When we woke up later in the day, before dinner, I would throw them in the dryer, and they would be nice and fresh for Bill’s shift that night, and mine in the next afternoon. Mundane things. How our household ran.

I was quite the little house-Frau as my mom would say. All we needed was a child or two to complete the picture…and life would be perfect in Bill and my eyes. Only if….Last September we had not found out why I was so tired all the time. Why my arms and legs burned with pain constantly, so that I could never find a night’s rest. Last September this time we were in Nashville at a neurological specialist, who properly diagnosed me with MS. And our little world crumbled. There would be no children or grandchildren~ the interferon I took on that very day last September in the office, and that I continue to take to the present day decided that. All our hopes and plans for the future seemed to revolve around my MS, and where and when it would stabilize. I thought that at least for us, the worst had happened. But it hadn’t.

Bill turned on the TV. It was 8:46 am Eastern Standard Time.

I was on the cusp of finally falling off to sleep, when a mighty gasp woke me up! It was Bill. And that gasp had reverberated through the entire house….I jumped out of bed and ran into the living room. Bill was staring at the remote controller, as though perhaps it had broken or something. “What’s wrong?, Bill…what’s happened?” I shook his shoulder, and he looked me in the face, tears glistening in his beautiful green eyes. I started to quake and shiver like a leaf, the rush of epinephrine my body was used to giving me in my work at the hospital was doing me no good now.

I looked at the TV, but it made no sense. There were pictures of police and fire-fighters driving hell for leather somewhere in NYC, the announcer was on a rooftop for some reason that I couldn’t comprehend.

I turned back to Bill, sat on the couch next to him and threw one of our favorite coverlets around both our shoulders, we hugged each other like that for several minutes, then Bill whispered over my shoulder…”a plane, a big plane has hit one of the Twin Towers in NY.” I rubbed my hand round and round across his broad shoulders…”perhaps it’s a light plane that had a malfunction?” I murmured. “No…it’s more than that, I think.” Bill said in a hushed voice, as our attention snapped back to the TV set….in time to see another huge jetliner make a deliberate bank to the left, so that more floors would be taken out when it crashed into the other tower. And in front of our eyes, we saw horror unfold real-time. If you think people far away on that day that just happened to pick up the remote and saw the attack as it actually happened, haven’t been traumatized, they have. It’s a scar on each one of our hearts to see such depravity.

This time, we both gasped. We couldn’t seem to turn away…so many people were dying in front of our eyes…it seemed a sacrilege to turn away, or turn it off. Then about forty-five minutes later…we heard about Shanksville, PA. The order was given by the President to stop all air flight within and without the United States immediately. Then the last blow…another plane, and it hit the Pentagon, more lives wasted, dead, murdered.

Bill and I have always enjoyed the news and discussing it. Not after that day.

Then there were the frantic phone calls to family and friends making sure everyone was OK, and no place near where all the carnage was. We were blessed. I’m a Jersey girl, my Dad had a commerical art studio in NYC for many years before he retired. But no family, and no friends were there or hurt. A miracle.

In the weeks after the attack, I cannot tell you how eery things were. Everyone wanted to do something, but it didn’t seem as though they knew what that might be. I told Bill that perhaps I should  go to ground zero to work. He looked at me, horrified. “Absolutely not. You’ve got MS. You wouldn’t last an hour out in that heat and you know it!” I never mentioned it again. It felt little by little I was going to have to give up a lot of things about being a nurse. I wouldn’t win this round. Bill was absolutely right. No one would want me there. I was more liability than help.

No one went out except to get the bare essentials, go to work, go to school, and stay home. It seemed that way in everyone’s family. Everyone pulled together. Family once again became paramount for people, not what they could buy, buy, buy working insane hours. In that respect, 9-11 was a wake-up call to treasure your family and friends as though they are fine jewelry slipping softly in your hands.

At home, that hated TV, was on night and morning, never shutting off, always in the background. No one knew what might be next. So we kept the TV on.    The sky was just as blue as on 9-11, the crispness in the air just as enticing as it was the day before. But the silence. It was deafening. No planes flew in or our or about the U.S. For an entire week. Can you even imagine?

Our house is in the larger glide-path west to east to our regional airport about 25 miles from the house. All of a sudden, that background sound of ‘every day’ wasn’t there. Just the wind keening as the leaves fell in all their golden glory…and no-one to appreciate them this Fall. Or for many autumns afterward.

“Listen!” said Bill a few days later. I listened…and a smile came back to my face. That background noise was back, We had suffered a horrific bruise made by the world’s scum. We hadn’t imagined that filth like the things that brought down the towers, and Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon could ever touch our shores. We took pride in knowing that the only state in the union that had been affected by war had been Pearl Harbor. In the collective consciousness, we couldn’t imagine being left so exposed to attack.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I wish I could take you back to the year before 9-11. People were happy for the most part. We had just celebrated both my nephew and niece’s marriages within months of one another, my sister’s kids. Because I am a “whoops” baby, I’m closer in age to my niece and nephew. We grew up together. It had been a fun year, planning and helping another friend with her wedding too, and then attending and dancing till I was in bare feet (wore the shoes out!). A spectacular year. A golden year. One to cherish and hold dear…..

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My sister was on the line, it was midday, 9-11. “Jennifer was supposed to go to her first pre-natal appointment today, downtown. Do you think she should go?” I heard the frisson of fear in my sister’s question. She feared for her daughter, and unborn grandchild. “Go” but tell her to be aware of her surroundings, if anything is weird or making her feel odd, leave.” I suggested. We joked that downtown Nashville wasn’t a likely candidate for terrorists. Even so, there’s always copy-cats. So Jennifer went. And nine months later Madison was born, all new and pink, she would never know what it was like not to wonder if one should go to certain places, or travel to certain areas, because of 9-11. How unbearably sad.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April, 2002: As I finally got a chance to hold my great-niece and gaze into her Gerber-baby face, I knew that Jennifer, and my nephew Jay, expecting his first child any day now….they represent hope to me. Hope that perhaps their children won’t have to live a life always on guard, watchful, distrusting people, because it seems we’ve lost the ability to share our love for humanity, for one another,one person at a time since 9-11. We all lost something that terrible day and the terrible days afterward, as different presidents and different ways to end the terror were doing no good. We lost our hope.

Try and get some of that hope back that was stolen from us that day. Say “hi” to your neighbors. Take a casserole to the little old woman that lives in a house all alone. Hug your friends. Put down the phones and start relating to people face to face. You’ll be surprised how many things you’ve been missing. Treasure the family and friends that you have, for no day is a given for any one of us. Kiss a baby. Kiss your dog. (don’t kiss the dog, then the baby…thats yukky) Play with your family. Play with your dog….Don’t depend so much on others to make you happy~ you make your own happiness and your own Karma. So in memory of all those fine souls we lost, get on with your life. They would want you to. Try and believe again that this is still the best country in the world to raise your family. Be an optimist. Watch your dog, he knows how to live and be happy. He would be ecstatic to help teach you how to love unconditionally, play, relax, and oh so many other wonderful doggie helps.

Listen to the dog. Dog’s know. DSCN4304 (2)

http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-timeline

‘Flash’ The Heroic Blonde Cocker Spaniel That Sat Vigil Beside His Fallen Master’s Coffin In A Gymnasium After The Italian Quake Last Week, Has A Happy Ending!

cocker-spaniel-mourning-courtesy

UPDATE:

When 45-year-old Andrea Cossu went on holiday to Pescara de Tronto with his wife and little cocker spaniel ‘Flash’, he had no idea the grim fate that awaited him, one of the 290 people who died in the earthquake and violent aftershocks in Italy last Wednesday. Mr. Cossu was hit by a collapsing building. His wife, and his little dog Flash made it out safely.

And out of the hundreds of people who were killed in the quake, what makes Mr. Cossu stand out? The devotion in the stout little heart of his cocker spaniel friend, who stayed vigil by his casket, even pawing it at times.

This story is a follow-up to the original story I wrote about the loyal little dog. It bothered me enough, that I put at the end of my story, “if anyone knows, let us know what happens with Flash.”

I hadn’t heard a word in our press, which really isn’t surprising. One little dog’s drama isn’t fodder for what cranks the news over here usually…I tried several combinations, then found an article in the Telegraph that answered all my questions.

At the time that I wrote the article, nothing other than Flash’s name, and that his master had been on holiday and killed were really known. Flash did his master proud, and stayed watch over him till he could no more.

Around the world, the love and loyalty of the little dog touched people’s hearts. In Japan, it called to mind the loyalty of Hachiko, the pup who loyally kept watch at his masters train station stop, for ten years after he had escorted him to the train station one day, waited for his return, but his master couldn’t come home, he had died at work. For ten years, in all sorts of weather, the loyal Hachiko waited on his master, till the day he finally was called home to him.

Over the years, townspeople and Hachiko’s wife made sure that Hachiko was taken care of. A statue of the loyal dog was commissioned and sat in the train station for many years. Recently, a new statue has been commissioned and set at the train station. It shows an estatic Hachiko greeting his loving master Hidesaburo Ueno, a university professor. at the end of the day, as he had so many times before. I like to think it might be their renunion ten years later, after Hachicko’s long wait for his master finally was over.hachiko-courtesy-rocket-news

A half world away, in Dublin, people pass the iconic statue to Greyfriar’s Bobby, a little dog who faithfully lay at his master’s grave for the next 14 years after his master’s death in the 1800’s, might have given more than a passing look and a thought after hearing of Flash’s loyalty and dignity.greyfriars-bobby-courtesy-historic-uk

I found out that Mr. Cossu was not one of those buried in the mass graves. He was buried in Pomezia, the town south of Rome where he had lived with his wife and little dog. So, a bitter-sweet ending for a loyal buddy, Flash. Mrs. Cossu will take over care of her husband’s little dog, and Flash gets to live with people who know and have always loved him, in the familiar home he has always lived in. “The two of them (Cossu and Flash) were inseparable” relatives told the Italian media, according to the Telegraph.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/27/heartbreaking-picture-of-dog-who-wont-leave-masters-coffin-after/

http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/28184/20160906/italian-hachiko-this-loyal-dog-still-sits-beside-owners-coffin-after-italy-earthquake.htm

Hachiko, Japan’s most loyal dog, finally reunited with owner in heartwarming new statue in Tokyo

http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofScotland/Greyfriars-Bobby/

much improved picture of Flash during his vigil by courtesy of the Telegraph

Picture of the two statues of Hachiko courtesy The Rocket

Picture of Greyfriar’s Bobby courtesy of History UK.

*There is a picture of Mr. Cossu circulating,  holding up Flash and both are grinning into the camera. It had been taken from his Face Book page, and I didn’t feel comfortable using it, since this is a family in deep mourning.

 

Italian Search And Rescue Dogs, Leo, and Sarotti Save Children Trapped Beneath The Rubble of the Towns!

Area of Italy affected by huge earthquake

Do you remember when an earthquake or some other disturbance in the world would happen, and the American Red Cross and dozens if not hundreds of first responders, the National Guard, and any other resources that we had would be sent to see if they could help.

But…it seems that along with so much else…America sits and twiddles its thumbs trying to decide which bathroom is proper to use…you know,  ‘ important stuff’. But hasn’t sent any help. How tragic. Italy has been one of our close friends over the years.AAmatrace, Italia

I have cousins who live near Monte Cassino, which if you know WWII parlance, you know there was a HUGE battle between the Nazis and the Western powers. My people lived in the town of Panaccione, in the shadow of the great mountain that houses the monastery still. (My maiden name is Panaccione). Anyhow, some years ago we all met one another, and it was a fantastic family reunion.

My first concern was that their town was OK, they had suffered enough during the war…and a LinkedIn member was able to confirm that the town was fine, and not near the affected areas.Amatrace after the earthquake

How neat is that? That someone you met on LinkedIn, a world away, can check for you to make sure your extended family is OK? It makes you believe in good things again.

I know that my posts of late have had to deal with the heat injuries that have to stop with our police K-9s. But I’ve written much more about all the different K-9 helpers here and abroad that help us when times are tough, and every day, like mine do.

Here is a heart-warming story from devastation and heartache in central Italy and how K-9 search and rescue dogs have brought back two children thought lost in the quake.

The towns hit in the devastating earthquake in central Italy were small family towns. They had many homes and other buildings that date back to Medieval times. No more. They are for the most part gone, unable after hundreds of years to deal with such a horrendous quake. Little is left but the cobblestones from centuries past, and the blue tent cities that have sprung up to house the now homeless population. The Italian Government has pledged a large amount of money to help rebuild the towns. Both of which are little more than kindling now.Search and Rescue dog in Amatrace, Italy

But what is that there? It’s a big black waggling tail, and another, and another, there’s a yellow one…over 50 dogs are working the devastated towns. Looking for the living, and now more and more as time tics steadily looking for the dead.italian search and rescue dogs

Leo is a beautiful black Labrador retriever. He’s four and a half years old. He’s from the search and rescue team in Pescara. He went looking where neighbors and family members knew a family had lived with their two daughters. Sixteen hours after the quake…Leo alerted, and little Georgia was pulled gently from the wreckage….a miracle. Leo had arrived on scene just then, and within 40 seconds he found Georgia alive. It took another 9 hours of digging with bare hands to free her from what once had been her home. Here is a video of Leo at work:

Video: https://twitter.com/poliziadistato/status/769174257045794820

Another dog, a German Shepard Dog, named Sarotti was instrumental in the rescue of a 10-year-old boy buried in the rubble.starrioti saves a child

On Sunday, the Pope declared a day of mourning, as the bodies of those found in the rubble are buried with as much devotion and love that is possible in this situation. Everyone keeps repeating…our first responders are exhausted, they’ve worked constantly since the quake started.

It would be nice if America sent some help. Money is nice, but having extra hands on the ground is invaluable.

And do you know another miracle that has come out of this tragedy? A lesson to us? Over fifty search and rescue dogs from all over Italy were used to find the alive and the dead. It’s August, and it’s hot and humid in central Italy, so far from the coast…The sites were unstable, with continual after-shocks, it was dusty and dirty….NOT ONE DOG DIED FROM HEAT-STROKE. Seems like the Italians treat their K-9 heroes with honor. Unlike some of ours.

   God bless our service dogs nationally and internationally!

Dio benedica i nostri cani di servizio a livello nazionale e internazionale!

    This is a link from Fox News how you can help the victims of the quake:

Italian Red Cross: Italy’s Red Cross has set up a general fund to support those affected by the earthquake.

*Pictures of the map of Italy and the before and after pictures of the earthquake provided courtesy The New York Times

*Pictures of the dogs working the site provided by state photographer.

Celebrate Good Times, Come ON! It’s A Celebration! National Service Dog MONTH! Woo Hoo! WOO!

 

Happiness is a Warm Puppy (640x512)
Team Lisa and Jet Jan.2007~April 2011

 

September is NATIONAL SERVICE DOG MONTH…all month! Whoo hoo! Hug your favorite service dog (after asking!) Since the advent of seeing eye dogs early in the 20th century, the need for service dogs and now therapy dogs has risen exponentially. And our dogs, God bless ’em, have risen to the task, as always. I thought I would give you all some information regarding service dogs that you might not know.

Freedom Has Four Legs and a Tail
First walk on the beach in years…Jet’s first little victory, and you know they add up…

The first service dogs were trained in Switzerland. There was an especial need after the ‘Great War’ for these dogs. Morris Frank, a young man who had lost his eyesight, traveled to Switzerland to be trained to work with his dog (much as we do today). He got his dog, he took a job promoting the seeing eye in the United States, and had much to do with them. Interestingly, Seeing Eye was first in Nashville, TN. It was deemed too hot for the dogs, so they moved the entire organization to Morristown, NJ. (Very close to where I lived as a kid!)

Morris Frank still ranks as the man having had the most seeing eye dog partners ever. He started so young, is why. His first dog was named “Blondie”. He just couldn’t see himself calling her that all day, so he changed her name to “Buddy”. He liked the name so well, he called each subsequent dog, “Buddy”, which seems a bit strange, but he said it helped him to carry on with a new dog, once his old dog had passed on. As the CEO and founder of Canine Assistants has said in her best-selling books (and to me in person) “There’s a piece of your old dog that goes on in your new one.” She’s right. There is. And it is every so comforting.

Through the years, and wars, it was seen that dogs could do much more than just seeing -eye work. They are fantastic for mobility work, which is what both of my dogs have helped me with. These dogs will wear a harness for this work. It’s common to get mistaken as a seeing eye team. I always correct them as soon as I figure out that they think I can’t see.

National Dog Day
Celebrate Good Times, Come ON! Celebrating National Service Dog Day! 2016 WOOF!

There are seizure-assistance dogs, like both of mine have been. Both my dogs could do both jobs. That’s a bit unusual, but it happens that way sometimes. A thing about the seizure assistants dogs…they are all taught to get there person to a safe place, get help, and return to stay at the side of their partner, licking their face to try to awaken them. It is a very lucky person whose dog starts to ‘predict’ their seizures.DSCN4394 - Copy (2)

Prediction of seizures is simply not taught. No dog-trainer in the world can do that. If they tell you they can. Walk away. The ability for a dog to predict a seizure depends on the closeness of the canine-human bond. The canine can tell by mannerisms, the breath, the smell of chemicals and endorphins rising from the skin…that their person is getting sick. They alert, (varies on the dog about how). Jet, my first dog would do most anything to alert me~ except the 10 piece marching band. That was his personality. Frax is much more subtle, he takes his nose and flips my hand.

Canine Assistants, where my dogs are from teaches BBT ™ , which stands for Bond Based Teaching…they center on the bond between the recipient and the dog, to bring forth the different skills each canine can do. They have better than an 87% success rate with their seizure response dogs eventually becoming seizure prediction dogs. Whether they do or not, the presence and comfort that one of their dogs imparts when a patient is has a seizure cannot be measured. Frax actually “pats” me awake, very gently, just as a human would. He’s obviously seen this behavior in a human,and adopted it as his own. They will do that. They are much smarter than you would ever imagine!

The question of the day is: what is the difference between a Therapy dog, and a Service dog? A service dog assists their person with a physical, mental or some combination of the above problem. They have full rights under US law to enter any venue with their person, right up to a recovery room or peri-operative holding area. They can go into bathrooms, restaurants, theaters, stores, libraries, on and on. The only thing you may ask a working team is what he helps you do. In my case I say “helps me walk, and monitors me for seizures”. Another person might say totally different. What you cannot ask, and what gets folks riled is: you cannot ask another person what their disability is. Illegal that. A service dog team cannot be kept from any venue, for instance a cab. The cab company faces stiff federal penalties if they decline a rider because they have a service dog.

How should one deal with a service dog? Ignore him. Pretend he isn’t there. Because he is meant to facilitate the person being able to do things the rest of folks take for granted. Always ask to pet. You might get turned down if they are working, or have had the request 400 other times that day, but you may not. I try to never turn down a young person. Sometimes it’s their first real interaction with a dog. I know my dog(s) and know that their interaction will be positive, and they will carry that first good impression with them the rest of their lives, God willing, and pass on good vibes about animals in general to the next generation. I also try to let others pat and say “Hi” (Jet always shook hands), Frax prefers a nice ear scratch. Different strokes for different folks!) If I need to refuse, I always give a card with Canine Assistants information on it, and what their dogs do. It has their website, which is much more in-depth than I can ever teach in five minutes of meeting someone. Why are Canine Assistants dogs ‘allowed’ by their partners to ‘visit’? Because of the type of training they have (BBT ™ ), the dogs like the interaction.

If you think you have come upon a seeing eye team…Do not ask to pat them. Their very lives depend on that dog being focused. Interruptions could be fatal. If that sound melodramatic, it isn’t. A young blind girl attending UT here in Knoxville, was sitting on the end row of an amphitheater type lecture hall. Her dog was beside her. Someone interacted with her dog and she got very upset and ‘blasted’ them verbally! And I understand why. What if her dog lost concentration in that venue? She could fall all the way down those many concrete steps and fatally injured herself! If you aren’t sure, leave them alone.

Frax and I had a horrifying incident not long after he had come home with me. Frax was heeling next to my pink wheelchair (“pinkie”) and suddenly a couple came towards us, bent over, started making kissy noises to Frax, and clapping for him to ‘come’! He was only 18 months old! A big BIG baby! He did what any other socialized dog would do~ he went to go say “hi!” In the process, he pulled my chair halfway over on the left, nearly spilling me onto the concrete floor! Luckily Bill, my hubby was there, he grabbed the arms of the wheelchair and muscled it back onto its wheels! Bill and I got Frax’s attention, and corrected him, praised him, and settled him down next to me, where he belonged! And the people who narrowly caused a real disaster? They kept going past us, pointing and giggling as though it was some party of novelty that Frax and I were there for their express entertainment. Luckily no one was hurt, except “pinkie”. The wheelchair was literally pulled out of joint, and some joints still don’t fit properly together because of that experience.

So, what is the difference between a Therapy Dog, and a Service Dog? Briefly, a Service Dog has all the privileges I outlined above. Therapy Dogs don’t. They have a narrow scope of practice, and it’s up to whatever facility the owner is trying to bring them into, to say yes or no for them to come in. Therapy dogs help people usually with what we would say would be mental health issues. PTSD, bipolar, anxiety, autism. There is some cross-over though. What if a person with autism also has seizures? Well, then they need a seizure response dog that will also be attuned to their autism issues. They would work with a Service Dog.

The reason that there is confusion, is because there isn’t any legislation that much governs service and therapy dogs in this country. There’s no central database, or registration. A private citizen can train their own dog. They then need to take the ASPCA’s or some other organization’s good canine citizen test’, to wit, they have proof their dog is highly trained and safe to be among human beings in the public. It doesn’t attest to their skills. The DELTA organization online goes into much more depth than I have here, about training, and private training, and should be able to answer all your questions.

Then there are all the myriad other service/therapy dogs. There are grief-councilor dogs in funeral homes (has to be requested by the family), there is councilor and support dogs for people going to court (especially child-abuse cases). There’s a dentist that has two highly trained dogs that lie across his patient’s legs while he fills a tooth or cleans teeth. They relax the patients. And the patients have to ask for them. There are the Therapy dogs that go to hospice patients. The brave dogs that go into hospitals and cheer up little children from 8 to 88! There are those that sit with the dying.

K-9’s help keep us safe. They work with our police departments in general work and crowd control, narcotic interdiction also. These are dogs you do not want to walk up to and pet unless it’s OK with the officer in charge of them, and all that. Quite a few of the retired ones will still go out to see our kids in schools. K-9 units police our airports, schools and military bases. K-9 sniffer dogs keep us safe from terrorists with bomb residue still on them. K-9 bomb sniffer dogs find bombs left in sedentary places. K-9 bomb detection units save our troops from terrorists, they ferret out IEDS.Lisa n' Frax Winter 2015

There are so many types of K-9 teams throughout the US doing such good work that I know I may miss some of you….but in my heart till I draw my last breath…each one of you has a blithe spirit about you, that is the memory of Jet…my loving Jet, my first dog. Who saved my life in so many ways I cannot tell you. It’s in Jet’s memory that I pay attention to K-9 deaths to hyperthermia. It’s in Jet’s memory that I tell you what living with a canine assistant is like~ through my life with his successor, his loving and sweet successor, Frax, who with a heart as big as those big xl feet he wears, has lifted me up from losing Jet, and showed me what moving on is like and borne valiantly and truly my sorrow and helped me to heal going forward. For all this and the love and teamanship of each of these teams we celebrate National Service Dog Month!DSCN4320

*Jet and I that first magical day that he picked me, and my world changed…

for the better! What absolute JOY on his face and mine!Happy National Service Dog Month

 

http://www.canineassistants.org

http://www.seeingeye.org/about-us/history.html

We Are Losing Our Beautiful K-9 Cop Friends To Heatstroke Every Summer, Why Is It Only Getting Worse Every Year?

K9 officers down - Copy     The red dogs on the chart show the huge jump of canine deaths from heat-exhaustion. I have found a few things that are really interesting. The first thing that crosses everyone’s mind when something horrid like a child or dog left in a car happens. People say “I could never do that”. Apparently, according to neurobiologists, actually we all are at risk for something awful like that, due to the increase in multitasking with our smart-phones, and the pace of modern life. As my mom has always said “there but for the grace of God go I”. How true.

Several things seemed to crop up in each case: Fatigue. Police and first responders have terrible schedules, working night shift, sleeping during the day…it’s easy to see how a mistake could happen. Another phenomenon was that people working a ‘regular schedule’, for instance they drive to work the same way every day….but one day they didn’t, and forgot the living being in the back. Yet another thing came up adding to the two factors above…a quiet rider. If the child is asleep, if the dog is quiet or asleep….it’s much easier to ‘forget’ they are in the back.

Perhaps those who are in the K-9 unit should be on a more reasonable schedule, to reduce fatigue of the human and the K-9 officer. Perhaps if the human officer is literally too tired to work, he and his dog need to take a personal day.

Psychologists studying the syndrome are calling it “Forgotten Baby Syndrome” or FBS. I guess that forgotten dogs would be FDS? Or FCS? for canine? Whatever we call it, the reasons for it in psychological literature seem to dovetail with why it happens with our K-9 friends and workers.

I do have a suggestion, at least for at risk canines, such as K-9 cops. Teach them to push a button or sensor in the back of the car. It could be portable, if for some reason the car is out of commission. Remember, these are dogs that are smarter than the average run of the mill canine…and the average, run of the mill canine is pretty darn sharp if there is something motivating him (food usually!)

When I had my first service dog, cells phones (and tower coverage) still weren’t that reliable, since we live in a mountainous area. So, we bought a big button phone. Each button was half the size of my palm. We programmed each button to “911”. Worked like a charm. We called it the “Jet phone”. He would push any of the numbers, after knocking the handset off the receiver. A 911 operator would answer, and we already had it on record with them that I had a seizure disorder…so if they heard hot panting in the receiver, not to worry. It wasn’t a prank or nasty call, but Jet calling for help for me.

Within just a few years, the phone was obsolete. We trained Jet to bring the cell phone to me if I didn’t already have it on me or in my purse. Frax retrieves the cell phone and brings it to me just like Jet learned to do.

So, if there was a ‘big button’ it could do all sorts of things. The dog is getting hot, he hits the button, the windows go down, the light’s start to flash, the horn starts to honk, or if the officer carries a smart-phone, a pre-programmed emergency call would go through to him to go immediately to check on his canine.

Similarly, the K-9 could be trained to open the back door. Our mobility dogs can do all sorts of doors, refrigerators, handicap doors, sliding doors, pocket doors, and even the old round-knob doors if a piece of braided cloth is put around it.

If you wanted to get by on the cheap, train the K-9 to jump through the middle of the seat-back and have him push and honk the horn!

Babies are more difficult to figure out what to do, but it suddenly came to me. Sensors. In the child’s clothing, already sewn in, so there is not an extra step for a sleep-deprived parent to think of. If the child’s temperature reaches a certain point~ an emergency call already pre-programed to a smart-phone, and/or also programmed to start the horn honking would start. And no, I have no idea how the sensors would be constructed, you IT wizards out there, let me know how it goes so I can purchase the first sale on the stock for your new company!

It’s really an uncomfortable subject for a lot of people. Folks can see themselves deprived of sleep, working odd hours and making poor choices. With either a dog or a child. For now, I would suggest that all police departments have one rule~ if the human isn’t in the car, neither is the dog. Period. That solves the issue, at least in the short-term. Most Americans are very accepting of service dogs, and won’t give the officers any flack. If he needs to run in somewhere (even the bathroom!) his dog ought to be taught how to handle basic situations like that. If the dog isn’t, just train him for this little bit of extra that might save his life. My first thing I had to do as we drove home with Jet, was go to the bathroom. There was a woman in the handicap stall, and all the other stalls were open, but really small….um, what do you do with a big, fluffy, waggly tail?

Finally the woman came out, apologized for tying up the stall, and we were able to complete our mission. Eventually, with some practice, I discovered if I had Jet sit facing the commode, his long tail would a. curl around his feet, or b. go out under the door. It worked for us anyhow. (I think he wondered what was wrong with these poor humans that kept peeing in these water bowls, instead of going outside, like any other reasonable animal would!

 

 

http://www.kidsandcars.org/files/pdfupload/PR-09-23-11.pdf

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/health/hot-car-deaths-explained/

http://www.peta.org/blog/emergency-call-to-police-protect-k9-officers-from-dying-in-hot-cars/

Every Dog Has It’s Day! Today Is National Dog Day!

National Dog Day

 

Happiness is a Warm Puppy (640x512)
Team Lisa and Jet Jan.2007~April 2011

 

     Every dog has its day, and I wish more of ’em had their special day…I comfort myself by thinking of the magic that is Canine Assistants, in Milton, Georgia. Not really knowing what to expect when I received my first helper dog

It was so much more than just receiving a dog. I got my mobility back, no longer had to worry about seizures and no-one being there for me….basically, after six terrible years I got my life back! All because of a sweet yellow dog named Jet, who saw my potential and drew upon it till I became confident in my new life…one without nursing, without driving….without so many things.

The worst thing I was now after all that I was without…him.

    Jet had to leave me when he was less than five years old. After being a team for less than four years. He had cancer, and he died in my arms. My gravitar is a picture of he and I that magical day when my dog ‘picked’ me, instead of the other way around.

     Eight months later…again at the magical farm in Georgia, a ‘cousin’ to Jet, ambled over to me and decided to ‘choose’ me! His name is Frax. He’s one of the bigger dogs they’ve ever bred. No one knows why he’s so big. Big feet, looooong legs, loooong tail, loooong body, and a big serious face that still reminds me so of the late actor Fred Gwinn. Eight inches taller than Jet, a deep golden color with cream-colored ‘wings’ that all yellow labs have~ except he isn’t, he’s a Golden-Lab. Oh, and he ‘talks’ to us, and anyone he thinks is interesting!

     Meeting Frax and deciding to go on after Jet was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. In my heart I know it was the right one. Jet would never give up, and he would never have let me. So I honor him and his successor tonight, National Dog Day.

Freedom Has Four Legs and a Tail
First walk on the beach in years…Jet’s first little victory, and you know they add up…

Team Lisa and Frax.  Asleep together in what Frax thinks is “his” bed. He thinks that he’s mighty nice letting us humans up on the queen-sized bed to sleep with him in a pack!DSCN4394 - Copy (2)

 

DSCN4292Frax and I August 2015

Team Lisa n’ Frax                                                    Frax and I this past spring

 

Frax’s day in the sunshine, as he suns and rolls in our backyard!Frax sunbathing May 2016

K-9 Officer Zeke Left To Broil To Death In The Back of A Patrol Car 8-15-16. Seems The Parties At Fault Have Been Let Go

Zeke murdered by handler

Whomever the ‘handler’ was for K-9 officer Zeke, he should be dismissed at the very least. Prosecuted at the very most. Once again, a dog left to roast alive in the back of a patrol vehicle. An “investigation” is ongoing. It’s not in the record who was the person who left Zeke to roast in the back of a vehicle.

After all the articles, all the publicity about these horrendous deaths…they keep on. Many times in literature from the departments the dog is said to have “passed away suddenly” after getting overheated. That’s wordspeak for had a “ heart attack due to heat stroke.”

When asked Chief Watson would not answer the question if any charges will be brought up on the ‘handler’ that left Zeke to roast to death in the back of a squad car on August 15th. They are waiting on the results of an autopsy being done at Texas A&M. Those results ought to be back by now, ‘dontcha think? It’s August 22nd and still no report. Hard to believe.

As if things aren’t bad enough for this case. Zeke was purchased by the Ranger, Tx police department with the other half of Zeke’s purchase coming from private citizens. It doesn’t say how much was paid, but Zeke had only been with the department since earlier this year. It seems the that good people of Ranger, TX should be demanding what happened to their one dog K-9 unit.

     Once again, if you can’t take care of the dog…DON’T GET IT! This isn’t a game to see how many K-9 officers every department can get (and forget in the back of a patrol car and fry!)

       Finally this small police department did what so many larger ones refuse to do. They dismissed the officer that is responsible for Zeke’s death! (However they aren’t releasing his name!)

This is a police department that needs to garb up in a warm fur parka full down the legs, with a fur hat and fur mukluks on. Then they all need to sit in the back of their cruisers for three hours with the windows all rolled up, and no air conditioning or water. Perhaps they should do this quarterly. Perhaps then they will remember.

I doubt it. Anyone who works with a K-9 cop day in and day out, then leaves them in the back of the patrol car either is the most sociopathic individual I’ve ever heard of, or the most stupid. Probably a little of both.Zeke murdered and left in back of hot car 2 - Copy

Zeke was a three year old Dutch Shepard, that was medically retired by a previous department due to a finding of arthritis that likely would have progressed and made working impossible. The department instead put him back into service after purchasing Zeke for $3000.00 half the money was raised by the citizens. Zeke went to work in April.

Rest in peace, little brother Zeke. You did good in your time on earth, even if humans let you down, you never let them down.

God Bless the service dogs

Whomever the ‘handler’ was for K-9 officer Zeke, he has been dismissed . Prosecuted at the very most. Once again, a dog left to roast alive in the back of a patrol vehicle. An “investigation” is ongoing. It’s not in the record who was the person who left Zeke to roast in the back of a vehicle.

After all the articles, all the publicity about these horrendous deaths…they keep on. Many times in literature from the departments the dog is said to have “passed away suddenly” after getting overheated. That’s wordspeak for had a “ heart attack due to heat stroke.”

When asked Chief Watson would not answer the question if any charges will be brought up on the ‘handler’ that left Zeke to roast to death in the back of a squad car on August 15th. They are waiting on the results of an autopsy being done at Texas A&M. Those results ought to be back by now, ‘dontcha think? It’s August 22nd and still no report. Hard to believe.

As if things aren’t bad enough for this case. Zeke was purchased by the Ranger, Tx police department with the other half of Zeke’s purchase coming from private citizens. It doesn’t say how much was paid, but Zeke had only been with the department since earlier this year. It seems the that good people of Ranger, TX should be demanding what happened to their one dog K-9 unit.

Once again, if you can’t take care of the dog…DON’T GET IT! This isn’t a game to see how many K-9 officers every department can get (and forget in the back of a patrol car and fry!)

Finally this small police department did what so many larger ones refuse to do. They dismissed the officer that is responsible for Zeke’s death! (However they aren’t releasing his name!)

This is a police department that needs to garb up in a warm fur parka full down the legs, with a fur hat and fur mukluks on. Then they all need to sit in the back of their cruisers for three hours with the windows all rolled up, and no air conditioning or water. Perhaps they should do this quarterly. Perhaps then they will remember.

I doubt it. Anyone who works with a K-9 cop day in and day out, then leaves them in the back of the patrol car either is the most sociopathic individual I’ve ever heard of, or the most stupid. Probably a little of both.

Zeke was a three year old Dutch Shepard, that was medically retired by a previous department due to a finding of arthritis that likely would have progressed and made working impossible. The department instead put him back into service after purchasing Zeke for $3000.00 half the money was raised by the citizens. Zeke went to work in April.

Rest in peace, little brother Zeke. You did good in your time on earth, even if humans let you down, you never let them down.

God Bless the service dogs

here is the link to the Ranger, Texas Facebook page. I’m sure they would love to hear from the public about their ‘care’ of Zeke.

https://www.facebook.com/rangertxpolice/

 

http://www.ktxs.com/news/ranger-k9-officer-dies-after-being-found-unresponsive-in-patrol-car/50708714

 

Once Again A K-9 Officer, Used To Track In The Arizona Heat, Till His Valiant Heart Could Take No More, He Collapsed And Died. This HAS To Stop!

K-9 Amigo, a canine serving under the Kingman Police in Kingman, Arizona succumbed to heat-stroke injuries he incurred while tracking two hikers that were lost August 17, 2016.

Amigo was a gorgeous Belgian Malinois, only 3 ½ years of age. He collapsed while tracking  two hikers, which he found.

Anyone want to guess if he was given rest breaks? Water? Wore a cooling vest? Checked his gums for staying pink and moist? Checking to see if he was going into cardiovascular shock by noticing his gums turning white? Answers. Anybody? Anybody at all?

Why…. NO. NO. and NO again. They let Amigo die tracking. (Forgetting he’s not a machine, I suppose).

Anyone want to guess if any officers collapsed from thirst or heat stroke while tracking these hikers? Anybody? Anyone at all?

That’s Right!!! NO-ONE.

     If a police department cannot take better care of its canines, well, they should have them taken away. We have this shiny new law….just passed on August 2nd, to prosecute handlers that endanger and kill their partners by sheer lack of understanding. If the officers could keep themselves from dropping dead of heat stroke…well then they ought to have been able to keep Amigo alive.  This officer needs to be prosecuted under the new law. 10 years in jail. $1000 fine. (that’s too low).

Instead, the usual platitudes are being offered by the police department. Until the people all over this country stand up and say “ENOUGH” TAKE CARE OF YOUR K-9 OFFICERS!!!! NOTHING WILL BE DONE.

I’m just one person. This police department’s website is all platitudes, and how “upset” they are. If they truly were that upset, his handler would be reassigned, and the police officer in charge of the search demoted.

     Then they need to get any local veterinarian in, and give these guys a talk on what to look for in K-9 heat injury. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It just means they can catch their dog getting into trouble before it becomes a life-threatening spiral.

Over 300+ search and rescue K-9’s were involved in the 9-11 search. NOT ONE DOG DIED. That was 2001. Why is it in 2016 we can’t do at least as well?

K-9 Amigo (“friend”), died on August 17th, after suffering for several hours at the veterinarians office. This dog had only worked one year with the department before they killed him off by negligence. This is not a “mistake”. It’s not a ‘horrible’ “accident”. It was PREVENTABLE. IT WAS NEGLIGENCE.

I’m going to give you all the link to get to the Kingman Police Departments page. Remember: we have that Federal law in place now. Call for it to be enacted. There’s a huge loop in it those of you who are lawyers might try to close. It requires “malice and aforethought” it leaves out the biggie: NEGLIGENCE.

I sincerely doubt that K-9 Amigo’s ‘partner’ officer Adam Simonsen woke up on the 17th and decided he would abuse his dog till he dropped dead. Or all the other handlers this year who did the same thing. Or all the other people who locked their K-9 partners in the back of a hot police car to roast slowly to death in the most awful way imaginable. Negligence. Pure and simple, negligence.

Any K-9 officer should know how to take care of his partner. That means recognizing and attempting to PREVENT heat stroke! Use your head, man. It’s Arizona! Check your dog for overheating every fifteen minutes. Offer water. If he won’t drink, there are ways of getting fluids into him. Find out how. Before one more dog dies. Find out how. Have your tracking dogs wear a cooling vest they’re cheap. You can make them with cast-off pants and phase II cooling sheets available on Amazon. Have a veterinarian come in every four months, and give you a refresher on how to prevent heat stroke, keep paws from getting blistered in the heat…things you already should know, but apparently need a refresher on over and over and over again. Till it sticks in your brain, and you don’t kill your dog from negligence.

This is what the chief of police said on the website about how stricken the department was over the loss of K-9 Amigo. Somehow the words ring false, don’t they, when you know that this was all preventable?:

This is a very sad occasion. The bond between our handlers and their dogs is very strong and the officer is devastated by the loss. While they are working dogs, these animals also become a close and important part of the individual police officer’s family as well as the rest of the KPD family. Clearly, we have lost one of our own.” stated Robert J. DeVries, Chief of Police.” *courtesy review Journal, AZ.

Now, Mr. Robert J. DeVries…what are you going to DO about it? To prevent another preventable death? Why is it that you lost your beautiful, K-9 officer to negligence? Did the K-9 officers get any teaching on how to prevent heat stroke while in a tracking situation? Do you think perhaps having a veterinarian come and talk to your K-9 officers and teach them how not to kill their partners through negligence might have some benefit?

     The officer involved (officer Adam Simonsen) tracking with K-9 Amigo should be re-assigned, never to work in another K-9 unit. The officer in charge of the track, should be reprimanded for not having the tracking dog taken care of with breaks, water, hydration if he refused it, having someone check the dog for shock (check his gums, if they are white, his cardiac situation is grim, get him to the vet immediately). If the human officers didn’t all fall over from heat stroke, then apparently you have a problem of education in your ranks. This was preventable. PREVENTABLE.

You should be ashamed. Not just distraught. ASHAMED. This was a 3 ½ year old dog in his prime. I assume you all are cognizant that it’s HOT in Arizona. Dogs aren’t machines. You can’t work them as though they are. Did this dog have rest breaks? Water? Did anyone at all have a clue that he was getting into distress before he keeled over half-dead, to linger at a pet hospital?

The answer is NO.

And NO again.

You wonder why I’m so angry. This is why. IT”S PREVENTABLE. Your handler and other officers couldn’t take the time or effort to make sure Amigo tracked safely. I suppose like so many other things in our society…it’s no big deal. Kill one, just buy another, right?

I’ve spent this long hot summer listing each canine dying from negligence in their respective departments. The most egregious are the dogs locked in a hot car to suffer a death no sentient creature ought to endure. The second is a lack of education and common sense, to know when your dog is overheating, and STOP tracking before your dog collapses and dies!

Please, in K-9 Amigo’s honor, and all other THIRTEEN dogs that have died at the hands of their ‘partners’, this summer….The partner that was supposed to care for them….go to the Kingman Arizona Police Website, and let them know what you think. Insist that Amigo’s partner be kept from EVER being able to have a K-9 partner again. Insist that the officer in charge of the track is disciplined as well. If some legal-eagle out there can insist  the new Federal law be used to prosecute the parties involved, please do, and help save a life or many lives down the line.

https://www.facebook.com/CityofKingmanPolice/https://www.facebook.com/Police-K-9-Association-267504536621649/

 

The record states  that Amigo was doing well, then he suffered ” a sudden medical event” and died at the veterinarians. That “sudden medical event”? Likely, it was his brave, young, stoic heart breaking for the partner that didn’t take care of him. The partner he loved with every breath he had in him. His poor abused heart gave out. He was a 3 1/2 year old dog. He likely died of a heart attack brought on by heat-stroke…after no care on his blistering hike tracking the lost hikers cared enough to make sure he didn’t suffer from heat stroke.

Perhaps the entire Kingman Police force needs to retrace Amigo’s track. In fur coats down to their ankles. A heavy fur toboggan on  their heads, furry muckluks on their feet. They need to do it with no stop for rest. They need to keep going with no water to drink. Keep tracking with no-one to care enough to check and see if they were going into cardiac arrest. Maybe then they would understand the hell they put Amigo through.

God Bless you K-9 Amigo. You saved two lives. The hikers who were lost. while you gave up your young, brief life unselfishly, devotedly. As always. You are the shining star of what a fine police officer is. You performed your duties 110%. More than your frail body could endure.

God Bless The Service Dogs.

  • * K-9 Amigo photos courtesy Kingman Police Department website*

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2016/08/20/kingman-police-dog-that-searched-for-hikers-in-heat-dies/

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/kingman-police-s-k9-amigo-dies-after-rescuing-hikers-arizonahttps://www.facebook.com/Police-K-9-Association-267504536621649/Reporting On

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/kingman-police-s-k9-amigo-dies-after-rescuing-hikers-arizona

http://www.k9memorialcards.com/k9s/