My service dog got hit by a car this morning.

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So sorry for your loss. I recently went through a serious medical emergency with one of my pups and am still shaking over it.
They become a huge part of our lives but we are all of their lives and I sense you gave her a great one. Prayers to you.
 

RDY4WAR

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Veteran K9 Solutions must be one incredible organization to be so on top of this. Hoping that you and the new pup will bond quickly. And again sorry for your loss.

They are a very committed group. Their motto is "saving 2 lives at one time." They rescue dogs from kill shelters and train them to be service dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD and other combat related injuries. They match the dogs and veterans based on temperament and need. You wouldn't put a hyperactive breed, that needs plenty of exercise, with a veteran in a wheelchair for example. The owner/CEO of the company is a disabled navy veteran himself.

For what I need, they didn't have a dog locally available that met the requirements so the new dog (Zoey) is being brought out from Texas.
 
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Last night, I let her out to do her business around 10 pm. After about 10 minutes, I went to let her back in and she wasn't in the backyard. She'd somehow got out of the fence and bolted.

Nightmare scenario. 😭

Sometimes it's a two year wait to get a Service Dog. Then the time training and working with the service dog make this even more tragic. (Ballpark for those who may not know: It's 12 - 16 weeks of hard work training for a Public Access Course alone.)

I hope you share future stories of Zoey.

We got very lucky this didn't happen to us when someone came in and left the front door open to bring things in not knowing wife and Service Dog was there. Scared the hell out of us when "ZIP! Poof!"... We contacted our trainer and worked through the problem.

It's been a learning curve to identify and deal with unexpected, but, common dangers to going everywhere with a Service Dog. "Entitled" pets where they shouldn't be straining at their leash barking at you to people who don't have a clue and intend harm...

When we let ours out back generally we are with her. We have a nice chair to sit out back and keep an eye on her. Great opportunity to practice the 'do your business' command with her. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes ... and in this case it's time not separated from the Service Dog. (Your needs may vary, but, not a good idea for a separation that long in our case.) After all Service Dog goes into the bathroom with you when you are out in public. We have all the yard gates locked.

Instead of expensive "dog treats" we use Goldfish fish-shaped crackers manufactured by Pepperidge Farm. Because if a child picks up and eats a dropped one: there is no "Paperwork" involved like there could be with a standard dog treat.

She is a "rescue" Newfoundland and we were not told she had Parvovirus with less than 50/50 odds of making it. 4 days at the vet hospital later she made it.

We have a "Tile" on her collar for two reasons. Help find the phone is a simple "Get over here." Press button on collar. And if she ever gets lost it may help track her down. There may be better tracking devices out there now.

Muttluks_equipped.jpg
 
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RDY4WAR

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Nightmare scenario. 😭

Sometimes it's a two year wait to get a Service Dog. Then the time training and working with the service dog make this even more tragic. (Ballpark for those who may not know: It's 12 - 16 weeks of hard work training for a Public Access Course alone.)

I hope you share future stories of Zoey.

We got very lucky this didn't happen to us when someone came in and left the front door open to bring things in not knowing wife and Service Dog was there. Scared the hell out of us when "ZIP! Poof!"... We contacted our trainer and worked through the problem.

It's been a learning curve to identify and deal with unexpected, but, common dangers to going everywhere with a Service Dog. "Entitled" pets where they shouldn't be straining at their leash barking at you to people who don't have a clue and intend harm...

When we let ours out back generally we are with her. We have a nice chair to sit out back and keep an eye on her. Great opportunity to practice the 'do your business' command with her. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes ... and in this case it's time not separated from the Service Dog. (Your needs may vary, but, not a good idea for a separation that long in our case.) After all Service Dog goes into the bathroom with you when you are out in public. We have all the yard gates locked.

Instead of expensive "dog treats" we use Goldfish fish-shaped crackers manufactured by Pepperidge Farm. Because if a child picks up and eats a dropped one: there is no "Paperwork" involved like there could be with a standard dog treat.

She is a "rescue" Newfoundland and we were not told she had Parvovirus with less than 50/50 odds of making it. 4 days at the vet hospital later she made it.

We have a "Tile" on her collar for two reasons. Help find the phone is a simple "Get over here." Press button on collar. And if she ever gets lost it may help track her down. There may be better tracking devices out there now.

View attachment 81431

The wait to get into the program is currently over a year as the pandemic has slowed things down. Usually from first contact to start of training is about 6 months. That includes the paperwork, meeting with doctors to determine the needs, getting training scheduled, etc... Matching a dog is the easy part. Once you're in, you get priority so if your service dog has to be retired or passes away, they pair you with another right away to ensure you don't go without.

Their training is 30 weeks broken up into 3 phases. The first phase is basic obedience which is 8 weeks and includes your basic commands like sit, heel, automatic sit when you stop, lay down, food avoidance, etc... The second phase is focused obedience which is training the dog to the veteran's needs, how to recognize trouble such as a seizure or panic attack, how to provide stability when walking, how to assist a veteran with standing up, how to fetch things, etc... The third phase is 14 weeks which is the public exposure and fine tuning of specific needs. You go to dog friendly places like Tractor Supply, Lowes, etc... to teach focus on the handler, heeling next to a buggy/cart, interacting (or rather avoidance) of other dogs in public, and so on. They have testing at the end of each phase.

I won't have to go through the course with the new dog. Since I've been through it before and volunteered in helping others (Tallulah was "start student" so to speak so she was used as examples for others), I'll be training her myself at home and just show up for the testing to get certified.

The messed up part (and something that this organization has been fighting for years) is the VA (of all places) does not recognize service dogs as treatment. That's finally starting to change thanks to a law passed earlier this year.
 
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RDY4WAR

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Update! I can't speak highly enough about Veterans K9 Solutions. In less than 48 hours since Tallulah's passing, they have delivered me another dog. She's a 16 month female yellow lab named Zoey.

I'm in shock that they gave me a dog so quick. I almost feel guilty, but they put it to me this way "Your service dog is your treatment. If your medication runs out, you need a refill right away. You're not forgetting Tallulah by accepting the new dog, but rather have a companion to help you heal. That's her whole purpose."

She's got some mighty big shoes to fill. It's been rough these past couple of days as everything in my house reminds me of Tallulah. Her food bowl is still sitting on the back porch, collecting rainwater, as I can't bring myself to touch it yet. Our other dog, Sierra, is grieving as well. Friday evening and all day yesterday, she was sitting by the gate as if waiting for her to come back. This morning, she had Tallulah's favorite toy on the couch and was laying next to it with a sad look. They were best of friends, always running and playing with each other. I hope she gets along well with the new dog so that maybe that void can be filled for her as well.

Here's Zoey. I'll get some better pictures of her soon.

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RDY4WAR, I'm sorry to hear of your service's dogs passing.. what a tragedy! Hope this new dog Zoey can help you but you're right, big shoes to fill! I know of dogs I've had in the past, different personalities, nothing really can replace them.. But.. The new dog's personality might make you smile and laugh and helps with the grief of losing your friend. I hope it gets better for you soon!
 
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