Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Latest on LD #289

Rosie poses for me in her new purple PSD vest from
The PSD patches came from the Psychiatric Service Dog Society ( with
which Rosie and I are members.

The last thing I heard about the controversial LD #289 was that it was on hold due to the simple fact that people were realizing that so much was added onto the original document that it no longer was the simple doc on dog licensing it supposedly began as. There were many violations to the ADA in this document and many SD trainers and disabled handlers wrote letters to their reps. It also seems like the major add on to this document (the part about SD certification through non-profit organizations only) was added on by an individual who has a conflict of interest in this whole thing. He is on the Board of Trustees at a non-profit service dog training facility in Southern Maine which is (surprise surprise) where this document originated. If it weren't from my friend in Windsor (southern Maine), I would not have heard of this LD and the people in the Northern most part of this state would not have known about this thing.
I am a strong supporter of owner-trained service dogs (that train with assistance when needed and as necessary) and also a strong supporter of the smaller, for- profit dog training facilities that assist those of us who want to train our own service dog. They do not charge thousands of dollars more than necessary for a trained dog and are just as capable of training or assisting to train service dogs. I do not belief any one breed as superior in the service dog profession as each person may want and need something different from their dog. Each dog is an individual and any breed of dog can wash- out of the training. Some dog breeds have a higher rate of wash- out, but a person has to choose the breed wisely, looking at the pros and cons of the breed and learning how to make certain breed characteristics work in favor of the service dog tasks needed. I do believe Border Collies are the superior breed, :) but realize that they are not the breed for everyone (which goes for every breed). Border Collies do not necessarily make a great service dog though they are unbelievably smart and a joy to teach and work with. I do not believe that service dogs have to come from a special breeding program because that would mean that the choice of dog breeds available would be greatly limited (mostly to retriever type dogs). I believe that I am the best person to train my service dog, know what my needs are and know that I can do this myself and do not like the fact that this LD would take that choice away from me. I do not see how sending a puppy from foster home to puppy raiser and so forth can be very healthy or helpful if a person is capable of raising his/her own puppy. The bonding developed during this time are invaluable between puppy and handler, even beneficial in building the bond needed for some services the dog will later provide. I also recognize that disabilities come in many forms and that service dogs can assist people to live better with many types of disabilities... not just the physical or visible ones.

I know what the ADA says (the Americans with Disabilities law) and wish that the people in the government, legislature in in the law making department would learn what these crucial laws are before trying to pass bills that violate them.

Please, no matter what State, Country or wherever you live, keep up on the laws in your area. Remember that though the ADA is the same all over the United States, State laws regarding training and handling of service dogs vary per State. The ADA is supposed to preside if the State law doesn't provide the most protection, but at what cost?

Learn your laws so you can fight your fights and I pray that we all can have the energy to do so!!

Good luck training your dogs everyone!!!

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