The History of the Service Dog, Part V — Etiquette with Working Dogs

In celebration of International Assistance Dog Week, NEADS guest blogger Michele Fournier takes us on a journey through the history of service dogs. Come back each day this week to learn more about the history of working canines!

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Wendy Foster and Service Dog Tippy, Andy Kingsley and Service Dog Richie

It is vital to educate the public about the service dog. Many people still do not know that when they see a dog with a vest indicating their role as “working” that they should not approach the dog to pat or greet the dog without first greeting the owner and asking if the dog is working. Unfortunately, many members of the general public have never “met” a service dog and do not know the etiquette involved and the “awwww” response kicks in.  This is when someone sees a dog out in public—at the mall or in a restaurant, and they say, “awww, what a beautiful dog!” and the person immediately reaches out to touch the dog. It’s almost instinct, and I doubt that the person is deliberately trying to be disrespectful of the dog or their work; but as the service dog becomes more and more a part of the fabric of our lives in America, we must teach children (and adults) the proper way to greet a service dog and their owner. Now that there are so many different types of service dogs—classroom dogs, social dogs, ministry dogs, therapy dogs, and assistance dogs; we pay tribute to those who came before and NEADS is thrilled to be a leader in the industry.

For more information:
Burke, Alex. “The History of Service Dogs.” http://www.ehow.co/about_5134784_history-service-dogs.html

Cohen, Jennie. “Assistance Dogs: Learning New Tricks for Centuries.”  August 8, 2011 http://www.history.com/news/assistance-dogs-learning-new-tricks-for-centuries

Lobell, Jarrett A. & Powell, Eric.  “More than Man’s Best Friend. “ Archeological Institute of America. Vol 63, No 5 Sept/Oct 2010. http://archive.archaeology.org/1009/dogs/

“Service Dogs Through History—Work, Friendship, and Loyalty.” http://happydogconnections.com/dogs-history/

Schwartz, Marion. A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. “The Creation of the American Dog.” Yale University Press: 1997. http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/schwartz-dog.html

The History of the Service Dog, Part IV — Protected by Law

In celebration of International Assistance Dog Week, NEADS guest blogger Michele Fournier takes us on a journey through the history of service dogs. Come back each day this week to learn more about the history of working canines!

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Signs like these are more and more common, since the inclusion of service dogs in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Today, it is important to remember that service dogs cannot be refused entry into any location, or building that their owner has a right to enter. By law, they are permitted to enter schools, offices, or travel in the passenger portion of an airplane and their owner cannot be required to pay additional fees for the companion dog or be refused permission to enter. Because all of this has come about since the 1990’s and is still so new to the public, we must continue to educate employees in restaurants, businesses, schools and other locations about the service dog and their role. The service dog of today is a highly trained and specialized assistant and companion. Trained to complete tasks such as opening doors, picking up dropped items, notifying their human partner of the sound of a fire alarm, or calming the fears of an autistic child; the service dog of today has little resemblance to the average household pet. These animals are truly capable of transforming the life of their human partner. They serve not only as a helper but as a companion, friend and family member.

For more information:
Burke, Alex. “The History of Service Dogs.” http://www.ehow.co/about_5134784_history-service-dogs.html

Cohen, Jennie. “Assistance Dogs: Learning New Tricks for Centuries.”  August 8, 2011 http://www.history.com/news/assistance-dogs-learning-new-tricks-for-centuries

Lobell, Jarrett A. & Powell, Eric.  “More than Man’s Best Friend. “ Archeological Institute of America. Vol 63, No 5 Sept/Oct 2010. http://archive.archaeology.org/1009/dogs/

“Service Dogs Through History—Work, Friendship, and Loyalty.” http://happydogconnections.com/dogs-history/

Schwartz, Marion. A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. “The Creation of the American Dog.” Yale University Press: 1997. http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/schwartz-dog.html

The History of the Service Dog, Part III — The Americans with Disabilities Act

In celebration of International Assistance Dog Week, NEADS guest blogger Michele Fournier takes us on a journey through the history of service dogs. Come back each day this week to learn more about the history of working canines!

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Bonnie Bergin noticed donkeys being used for carrying wares or assistance during her travels in Asia.

“Courage” Photo by Graham Gordon http://www.lse.ac.uk/intranet/LSESocial/artsAndMusic/artProjectsAndExhibitions/photoPrize2010/PhotoPrize2010subs032.aspx

The use of dogs to assist blind individuals is well documented all over the world and systematic training methods were established as early as the 1750’s in Paris, France. It is known that the guide dog for the blind increased the degree of independence for a blind individual, enabling the individual to be less dependent upon another person for assistance. In America, the first guide dog school for the blind was opened in 1929 and was called “The Seeing Eye.”  For many years, this was the only type of training available for service dogs in America.  The use of dogs as service animals for individuals with disabilities other than blindness was pioneered by a researcher and doctor named Bonnie Bergin. She observed the use of donkeys as service animals during her travels around the world and wondered what dogs might be able to do to assist people. She spent a great deal of time working in kennels and documenting the traits and characteristics of different breeds of dogs. It was Bonnie who decided upon the term “service dog” to clarify the difference between this specially trained type of dog and an animal specifically trained to hunt or a dog who is a household pet. Bonnie continued her work into the realm of the development of training techniques and common commands. In 1989 she testified before Congress as they were debating the elements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and she helped to clarify and define the terms for the two types of dogs being trained at that time. The two original types of dogs were “service” dogs , which represented any animal trained to help a person with mobility issues and an “assistance” dog which encompassed any individual with a wider range of disabilities.  It was her work that led to the recognition that the service dog and their human partner have a unique bond, paving the way for social acceptance of the working dog in society.

For more information:
Burke, Alex. “The History of Service Dogs.” http://www.ehow.co/about_5134784_history-service-dogs.html

Cohen, Jennie. “Assistance Dogs: Learning New Tricks for Centuries.”  August 8, 2011 http://www.history.com/news/assistance-dogs-learning-new-tricks-for-centuries

Lobell, Jarrett A. & Powell, Eric.  “More than Man’s Best Friend. “ Archeological Institute of America. Vol 63, No 5 Sept/Oct 2010. http://archive.archaeology.org/1009/dogs/

“Service Dogs Through History—Work, Friendship, and Loyalty.” http://happydogconnections.com/dogs-history/

Schwartz, Marion. A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. “The Creation of the American Dog.” Yale University Press: 1997. http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/schwartz-dog.html

The History of the Service Dog, Part II — From the Seeing Eye to hearing, mobility and autism service dog

In celebration of International Assistance Dog Week, NEADS guest blogger Michele Fournier takes us on a journey through the history of service dogs. Come back each day this week to learn more about the history of working canines!

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Morris Frank and seeing eye dog Buddy made history in 1928 when they arrived in New York City as the first dog guide team in the United States. Frank stepped off the curb to cross West Street, astounding the throng of reporters when he and Buddy safely reached the other side.

As we celebrate International Assistance Dog Week, it seems fitting to uncover some of the distant as well as the not-so-distant history of the dog in the role of service and companion to the human. Despite the fact that dogs have long existed as pets and companions and have been used in military roles, the job of the dog in a service capacity was only defined in the legal code in 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act defined a service dog as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.”  Prior to 1990, the service dog had a very poorly defined job description, with the exception of the Seeing Eye dogs. The guide dog for the blind had become an accepted use of the dog in a service capacity since 1929 in the United States. The use and training of a service dog for a role other than a guide dog for the blind first began to emerge in the 1960’s, although there was no formal organization or training. This led the way to a more formalized set of guidelines and methods for the training and use of the dog in the service capacity. NEADS is proud to be among the first programs specifically geared to the training and placement of dogs for deaf individuals.  Beginning in 1976, the NEADS organization identified dogs suited to the task of notifying their human companion of noises such as a baby crying, the ring of a phone or the sound of a police siren. The role of the service dog has continued to expand to include social dogs for children on the Autism spectrum in 1996 and, in 2012, dogs for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress as a result of combat trauma. Each time the job description is expanded, it is accompanied by clearer standards and guidelines for training and placement. NEADS has kept pace with the ever-changing landscape of training and placement of a wide array of service dogs.

The History of the Service Dog, Part I — Ancient humans and dogs

For more information:
Burke, Alex. “The History of Service Dogs.” http://www.ehow.co/about_5134784_history-service-dogs.html

Cohen, Jennie. “Assistance Dogs: Learning New Tricks for Centuries.”  August 8, 2011 http://www.history.com/news/assistance-dogs-learning-new-tricks-for-centuries

Lobell, Jarrett A. & Powell, Eric.  “More than Man’s Best Friend. “ Archeological Institute of America. Vol 63, No 5 Sept/Oct 2010. http://archive.archaeology.org/1009/dogs/

“Service Dogs Through History—Work, Friendship, and Loyalty.” http://happydogconnections.com/dogs-history/

Schwartz, Marion. A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. “The Creation of the American Dog.” Yale University Press: 1997. http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/schwartz-dog.html

The History of the Service Dog, Part I — Ancient Humans and Dogs

In celebration of International Assistance Dog Week, NEADS guest blogger Michele Fournier takes us on a journey through the history of service dogs. Come back each day this week to learn more about the history of working canines!

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Annubis, Ancient Egypt, 3000 B.C.

Since 2009, International Assistance Dog Week has been celebrated in early August. It is important to honor and pay tribute to the thousands of dogs who have served their human companions as well as those who raise and train these amazing animals. Humans and dogs have enjoyed a unique and mutually beneficial relationship for tens of thousands of years. No one knows exactly when the first canine (probably a wolf) first overcame their fear of the human and entered into the camp. Initially, the dog must have lived on the outside edge of the human’s circle, eating the scraps of food left behind. But then, the humans noticed that the dog would sound the alarm and protect everyone from outside harm. Perhaps that was the beginning of the human and dog living alongside one another to hunt, live and take care of one another. We know that dogs have served as friends and helpers to people since the early days of history and some archeological finds have uncovered scenes of dogs and humans living together in a peaceful relationship. The Ancient Egyptians kept dogs as treasured pets and some even went to the expense of mummifying the dog in exactly the same way as the human was preserved for the afterlife. A fresco discovered in the ruins of an Ancient Roman city depicts a blind man being led by a dog and Chinese scrolls show similar scenes of dogs acting as a helper to a person. It is believed that prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus; the Native Americans had no notion of a domesticated animal except the dog.  These people lived with no goats, sheep, cattle, pigs or horses—only dogs were a part of their communities. Of course, we know that dogs have been used in military capacities since the Roman Empire as well. In the 1700’s dogs were used in Europe to track down wounded soldiers and carry messages to the front lines. In all of these ways, dogs have been used as “service” animals for humans, and could be considered the forerunners to the highly skilled and amazingly talented NEADS dog of today.

For more information:
Burke, Alex. “The History of Service Dogs.” http://www.ehow.co/about_5134784_history-service-dogs.html

Cohen, Jennie. “Assistance Dogs: Learning New Tricks for Centuries.”  August 8, 2011 http://www.history.com/news/assistance-dogs-learning-new-tricks-for-centuries

Lobell, Jarrett A. & Powell, Eric.  “More than Man’s Best Friend. “ Archeological Institute of America. Vol 63, No 5 Sept/Oct 2010. http://archive.archaeology.org/1009/dogs/

“Service Dogs Through History—Work, Friendship, and Loyalty.” http://happydogconnections.com/dogs-history/

Schwartz, Marion. A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. “The Creation of the American Dog.” Yale University Press: 1997. http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/schwartz-dog.html

Happy Independence Day!

independence dayHappy July 4th! Here at NEADS, we celebrate independence day every single day of the year. That’s because our assistance dogs provide a unique kind of independence for all of our clients. When a service dog picks up a dropped item or opens a door, when a social dog helps a child with autism interact with his or her family, when a hearing dog alerts a Deaf person to sound of the doorbell ringing, these are all ways that our dogs offer independence to men, women and children.

We hope you and your animals have a safe and happy July 4th!

2013 Worcester Firefighters Memorial 6K

The Worcester firefighters enjoyed great weather and a wonderful turnout for the 13th annual Worcester Firefighters Memorial 6K! NEADS loves being a part of this annual event, and is so grateful to be one of the recipients of their fundraising. Maurice, Rescue and Currahee had a wonderful time!