A wonderful update from Wes, father to J.T., who is a high-functioning autistic young boy in Houston, and their Service Dog, Maggie! Wes writes:
“Another amazing outing with J.T. and his SD Maggie. Model train show this time. J.T. asks for Maggie to go with him on outings and helps put her vest on. What a difference a good partnership makes!”
SO PROUD OF THIS FAMILY!!!
From our trainer, Kendra, who is working with Sarah in Houston. Sarah has multiple medical conditions, including blood pressure and heart issues that cause dizziness and panic attacks
“I met with client Sarah and SDIT Lacey today. It was is a joy to work with these two! I did a evaluation on Lacey and she did wonderfully. She let me manipulate all parts of her body with no incident. When touching her teeth, she didn’t like it very much but she did let me, so I advised Sarah to work with Lacey and “brush her teeth” so to speak on a daily basis. Lacey is very bonded with Sarah and is always watching her. Lacey knows sit very well! She will sit on command. She does well heeling on and off leash, and is very treat motivated. She knows stay, leave it and off very well. After talking with Sarah about what she wants from Lacey, we have determined she will help with anxiety, she will get help if mom passes out, and will be able to bring mom her medications when mom isn’t able to get them.
I was able to train with Lacey for a bit after the evaluation and we worked on place. Mom will continue to work on all her basic commands. It was a pleasure to met this wonderful team.”
A wonderful write-up from Kendra, our trainer in Houston, and her client, Ronnie, who is a Wounded Warrior with PTSD, anxiety and depression, and his SDIT, Roxy.
“I met at the mall with client Ronnie and SDIT Roxy. and as always it was a complete pleasure!!! Roxy entered the mall in a controlled manner and after we entered, we stood at the entrance to allow her to see and hear all the distractions. It was her very first time in the mall! I am amazed at the hard work and dedication that Ronnie puts forth with Roxy. At the entrance she sat and laid down. Once she was focused we continued on. We walked through the mall for an hour. We went into Game Stop and did two meet and greets. We walked on all different floors, hardwood, tile, stone, and carpet. We went into the department store and rode on the elevator for the first time, too! Roxy didn’t hesitate, was not fearful or nervous. She went on that elevator with confidence!
We walked through the bedding aisle, and she was unsure of it, so we continued to walk through there until she was more at ease. Client Ronnie also put her in a sit while we was in the bedding aisle and she did beautifully. We continued to walk the mall and even walked in the food court. We passed right next to a man holding a tray of food and she paid no attention to him; didn’t sniff at him or anything. We also sat at a table and Roxy naturally goes under the table. She was even falling asleep under there! There were TONS of distractions as the mall was very busy (more than normal), and Roxy’s focus always returned to Ronnie. Ronnie is a lot more confident having Roxy with him. We will continue with training in public and next week and will met at the toy store.”
A wonderful update from our dear client in Houston, Marissa, who suffers from Regional Complex Pain Disorder, and her SDIT, Cane Corso, “Titan”. They have been training with our trainer, Kendra.
“After my pain stimulator implant surgery, my partner, Daniel, brought my manual wheelchair in so it’s easier for me to walk around the house. I had been trying to use my crutches… It was causing more pain. And Titan is now associating the sound of me putting the foot rest on the recliner down to me needing his help to stand up! We have had a few times, when I first had Daniel put Titan’s vest on, that Titan wasn’t completely understanding why it was taking me so long to stand up or sit down – and he would either sit down or try to move away. But I think we’ve got it now. I pull on the gently on the handle on his vest to help pull myself forward (something we have never worked on) and he automatically leans away in order to steady both of us. Of course, Daniel is here to help just in case, but Titan is doing so well we don’t need extra help a whole lot!
When I am trying to walk around the house, Titan sometimes walks behind me and other times he sits in the middle of the living room watching me.
I was worried that me being in so much pain would make Titan want to be right on top of me and that I would end up hurting even more from worrying that he would jump on me or something. But nope. He stays near by but not in the way.
All these boys are so good to me. Daniel makes sure I have anything and everything I need. Titan helps me stand and sit and scoot forward and I pet him to keep my mind off the pain!(although he is now trying to force us to pet him.- but Ms. Kendra has given us some tips on how to correct that). And Dawson my, min pin mix? Well he’s just Dawson. He cuddles with me when I hurt and I pet him to try to get my mind off the pain. “
SOUNDS JUST WONDERFUL, MARISSA!! SO HAPPY FOR YOU!! YAY CANE CORSO TITAN!!!!
SO, SO PROUD of Caden and Cole, with now Service Dog, Axel!!!!! On my trip to Houston, I had the AMAZING pleasure of meeting the entire family. Mom, Kendra, is brilliant and SO good at multitasking – I was literally watching her in awe! 8 year-old Cole has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so Axel has been training with him and his mother to help stabilize his moods. As a happy “by-product”, Axel has also alerted naturally to younger son Caden’s hypoglycemia! We did the Public Access Test, and I was literally blown away by how incredible a trainer mom Kendra is. Axel performed every single command to perfection – and Kendra is so smart and intuitive that she can give commands to Axel verbally or using hand signals so quickly and efficiently while walking with Cole that I literally asked her if she had considered becoming a dog trainer. She has a lot on her plate, but again, Axel and Cole, with the constant supervision of Kendra, performed everything perfectly. Axel calms Cole when he is upset, applying deep pressure, alerts when Cole is having “episodes”, alerts to Caden’s hypoglycemia, and always has his eye out for where Cole is to ensure his safety. It was a fascinating experience and I am SO very proud of this family and their new Service Dog, Axel!!!!!
From Wes, father to 4 year-old JT, who has high functioning autism, delayed verbal ability, and sensory difficulties. This family in Houston has done an amazing job training consistently with their son and his SDIT, Maggie, and will soon be taking the Public Access Test!
“Hi Laurie – As an update, we went to Space Center Houston last weekend. It was packed with families and school groups. We gave JT and Maggie about 10 minutes in an out of the way corner to get used to the sights, sounds and smells, then proceeded to tour the facility. JT held on tight to the handle on Maggie’s vest, allowing her to guide him through the crowd and overstimulating environment. They were inseparable and neither wanted to leave each other’s side! JT was able to participate in just about anything he wanted to with confidence! They climbed up and down multiple sets of stairs together and rode the tram tour to Apollo Mission Control. JT did have a couple sensory related meltdowns. One was in a very crowded walkway at the top of a flight of stairs and an elevator exit. While JT was lying on the ground, Maggie stood covering over the top of him and kept him from being stepped on. JT recovered much quicker than in the past, prior to Maggie. We were approached by one of the educators, who said she had seen many Service Dogs come through and felt Maggie was the calmest and most confident one yet!”
WHAT AN AMAZING COMPLIMENT AND JOYOUS UPDATE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!! IT’S JUST AMAZING WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN THE WHOLE FAMILY IS INVESTED IN THE PROCESS!! PAT – HERE WE COME!
OK! THIS IS SERIOUS!!! What I need from as many Texas wounded warriors as possible is an email or documentation regarding any physicians, counselors, psychiatrist, etc., who have “recommended” that each of you would benefit from a Service Dog. Congressman Pete Gallego’s office is taking on this matter of the VA saying veterans can benefit from Service Dogs, but the VA refuses to pay for it. PLEASE take the time to send me the information so we can get this changed – even if you already have been through the training process, you deserve reimbursement. My direct email is [email protected]. If you are in the middle of the training process or about to begin, you deserve reimbursement. But I NEED YOUR HELP to make this work. Here is the latest email and phone call I received from Gallego’s office. Of course, I will be filling out the privacy release form for myself to go ahead with these inquiries today. This currently applies to Wounded Warriors living in Texas.
I have attached a privacy release form for you to fill out yourself. I am going to send an inquiry to the VA as to why they do not pay for the dogs that they are prescribing to Veterans. On the second page of the form make sure you write in detail who it is that writes the prescriptions as well as who makes the decision that the Vet needs a service dog. If we can get the VA to pay for the dogs, it would really help these guys out and it would probably streamline the process and standardize it as well. If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to call me. On a personal note, as a Veteran I wanted to thank you for making this your life’s work!
Joseph Van Kuiken
Office of Congressman Pete P. Gallego (TX 23)”