Saturday, December 18, 2010

Don't forget the furry babies at Christmas!

I know that Christmas is next week.  I know that most of us are all tapped out from buying presents.  I also know that I don't want to forget to do something "special" for my boy at this time of year.  I found the perfect tutorial for making a cozy and comfy doggie bed in an afternoon and I want to share it with you here.  The original is posted on and I suggest you check it out for other wonderful ideas.

Here is the doggie bed tutorial.  I'm off to the thrift stores to find sweaters!

How To: Make a Patchwork Pet Bed

We've got a new puppy named Dizzy calling our apartment home, and were in need of a snuggly, pet-specific place for her to hang out and snooze. We're also on a budget (and obedience school wasn't cheap), so we didn't want to spend a lot of money. So we hit the thrift stores for some wool sweaters, dug an old pillow out of the linen closet, and stitched together a colorful patchwork bed for her. If you've got basic sewings skills and an afternoon to spare, you too can make your four-legged friend the happiest dog or cat on the block.

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• an assortment of old sweaters (at least 50% animal fiber such as wool, alpaca, cashmere, etc.)
• an old pillow
• scrap paper and tape
• ruler
• scissors and/or rotary cutter
• pins
• access to a washer, dryer, and sewing machine
Note: Seam allowance is 1/4".
1. Start off by "felting" (or "fulling") the wool sweaters. Everyone has done this at least once, often by accident! Simply place a few sweaters in a hot washing machine with a bit of soap. Agitation plus water plus animal fibers equals felt! Throw the sweaters in the dryer afterwards to help shrink the fibers even more, and you will be left with a sturdy, fray-free material to craft with. Try to group like colors with like so there are no color-bleeding issues. It's also helpful to cut the sweater up before washing and drying (separate the arms from the body, and cut apart the front and back).

2. Create a pattern template by taping together scrap paper to approximate the size of your pillow. It doesn't have to be exact, just as close as you can manage.

3. Use a ruler and rotary cutter (or scissors) to cut strips and squares of sweater fabric. You're basically trying to create an assortment of pieces to choose from that all have straight edges. You can cut a bunch of pieces out and then skip to Step 4, or you can work steps 3 and 4 in tandem and cut out pieces to fit the size of your as you go.

4. Lay the paper pattern template down and start covering it in sweater pieces until you get them arranged just the way you like them. We wanted a patchwork effect, so we varied the size of the sweater pieces used—but you can make this in any style you like. Use larger, monochromatic sweater pieces or go for the hyper-patterned look, it's up to you. The pieces we used at each end were long, single strips, while the center area was created by joining together smaller squares. Any arrangement you come up with will work as long as the "puzzle pieces" fit within the paper template and you've got straight edges to sew together.

5. Once you've found an arrangement you like, it's time to start sewing. You'll want to pin the sweater pieces with right sides together, then sew along the pinned edge. Sew the pieces together section by section until it's done. If your sweaters are wrinkly or could benefit from loosening up a bit fiber-wise, feel free to iron your seams as you go with an iron set on the wool setting.

6. When you've finished sewing together the top of the bed, you will probably notice a bit of wonkiness—things likely won't be perfectly straight anymore. Using a ruler and rotary cutter to square up any uneven edges can be really helpful. Felted sweaters are very forgiving though, so don't worry about it looking perfect.

7. Set aside the top of the bed and get to work on the bottom piece. You'll use the same paper pattern template, but since the bottom edge won't really show you can be less fanciful here. We used just four pieces of sweater fabric to create two panels for the bottom of the bed: two skinny strips at each edge, sewn to two larger pieces (one pink and one blue). Overlapping these panels in the middle will give the pet bed an "envelope" style opening once it's all sewn together, allowing you to slip the cover on and off for easy cleaning. We made our bottom panels large enough to overlap by 5".  We used the fronts of two sweaters for back panels and recommend you do the same. Since the edges of these sweater segments already have ribbing on them, there's no need to finish those edges.

8. Place the top of the bed right-side up on your work table, then place the two bottom panels right-side down, with center edges overlapping. Pin through all the fabric layers, about 1" in from the edge all the way around.

9. Sew around the entire rectangle, backstitching in areas like the corners for extra strength. Once you've all the edges of the bed closed, turn it inside-out from the envelope-style bottom opening and insert the pillow. Now present it to your dog or cat and hope they love it like ours did!

Jenny Ryan is the recent author of Sew Darn Cute: 30 Sweet & Simple Projects to Sew & Embellish and also and is also co-owner of the Home Ec. Department at Reform School.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Therapy dog brings patients joy

Here's another wonderful article about the benefit of therapy dogs on patients.  Please read and enjoy!  The original can be found at Thousand Oaks Acorn.

2010-12-02 / Health & Wellness
By Stephanie Bertholdo
PUPPY LOVE—Freda Marsh, a patient at Westlake Health Care Center, enjoys a visit from Sophie, a 1-year-old yellow Lab who is being trained as a therapy dog. SANDY PEDEFLOUS/Special to the Acorn PUPPY LOVE—Freda Marsh, a patient at Westlake Health Care Center, enjoys a visit from Sophie, a 1-year-old yellow Lab who is being trained as a therapy dog. SANDY PEDEFLOUS/Special to the Acorn Sophie is a pooch with a mission, as is her owner, Sandy Pedeflous.
Sophie is a yellow Labrador retriever on the small side for her pedigree whose training as a therapy dog has made her a giant with bedridden patients, senior citizens and just about anybody who needs a little companionship and compassion.
Pedeflous said she purchased the puppy for two reasons. At the age of 15, her beloved border collie/ German shepherd mix Phoenix was slowing down. Pedeflous thought a spunky pup eager to learn might have the ability to invigorate her older dog.
She also wanted to train a therapy dog. Since Labradors are highly trainable, Sophie was a perfect candidate for the job.
Pedeflous saw firsthand the power dogs have to heal and bring happiness to patients when her sister, Robin Rodgers, was hospitalized with encephalitis and meningitis.
“I got to know patients and saw not only how they responded to (therapy dogs) but how entire families responded,” Pedeflous said.
Pedeflous got Sophie at the beginning of the year and started training her to be a therapy dog when she was 10 weeks old.
The first lesson for therapy dogs is to learn how to listen to their owners. Sophie learned the command “leave it,” which means that even if a treat is right in front of her nose, she cannot take the food. When Pedeflous tells Sophie, “Okay, take it,” the dog is rewarded with the treat.
At a year old, Sophie has a repertoire of skills and tricks that please patients young and old. When Pedeflous commands her dog to place her paws up, Sophie puts her front paws on the walker or wheelchair of a patient who is ready to pet the dog and receive a little love. The dog has been taught not to touch the body of an elderly person because their thin skin is prone to bruising or cuts.
Pedeflous learned how to train Sophie through Love On a Leash trainer Linda Voller. Love on a Leash is a nonprofit organization established in 1984 in San Diego.
Pedeflous is also training Sophie to work with children with disabilities. The dog has been poked in the eyes, had her ears pulled and her belly prodded in order to help her learn not to react negatively to a child.
“We pulled her around the house by her tail,” Pedeflous said.
The most important aspect of training is to expose therapy dogs to every conceivable experience so they do not bark or react, she said.
Pedeflous said that the first time she brought Sophie to a healthcare center in Westlake Village the dog showed fear at the sight of a wheelchair and barked at person using a walker. She was also afraid of the elevator.
“After that she was okay,” Pedeflous said. “She just needed exposure from the beginning.”
Freda Marsh, a patient at Westlake Health Care Center, said, “Sophie brightens my day and makes me smile.”
Sam Sacks of Oak Park said therapy dogs were helpful to him when he was fighting cancer.
“When I was in the (intensive care unit) for cancer and the dogs came in, it was just so uplifting,” Sacks said. “They made me smile and laugh and temporarily forget my problems.”
Pedeflous routinely brings Sophie to the home of her neighbor Jack Hague, who is dealing with several health issues.
“I love it when (Sophie) comes,” Hague said. “She kisses me and really connects with me. She makes me feel so good.”
Pedeflous said that Sophie elicited belly laughs from a 35-yearold woman with permanent brain damage.
“She was like a 4-year-old walking into a candy store,” Pedeflous said of the woman’s delight at seeing Sophie.
Sophie is learning how to entertain people. She knows how to roll over, perform the army crawl and accept a treat without touching a person’s hand.
Pedeflous is teaching Sophie how to salute with a paw and fall down at the sound of “bang, bang.” Pedeflous said the new tricks are expected to be a crowd pleaser at the Veterans Hospital.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Here is a great way to teach children about empathy for our animal friends!

Make Your Gift

Every pet we save at Bideawee deserves these basics. So does Bettie.

This poor sweet girl clearly has had a difficult life. Left to die on the cold streets of New York, Bettie was found starving, dehydrated and so horribly injured that her right back leg needed to be amputated. As if these terrible conditions weren't enough, her left hip was dislocated and she had terrible skin lesions where some of her skin was actually peeling off.

But Bettie now has reason to hope. She has the hope to be healed by the excellent care of Bideawee's veterinarians that have been charged with her care.

She has hope for a family, a forever home and hope for never feeling the excruciating pangs of hunger and loneliness that she felt just a short time ago.

Bettie's Holiday Wish List will be filled thanks to caring people like you.

Please make your Year-End Gift TODAY to help Bideawee continue our lifesaving mission for all of those sweet innocent pets like Bettie whose holiday wish list includes the basics that every pet deserves.

To ensure that you receive a 2010 tax credit be sure that your envelope is postmarked by December 31, 2010.
To contact us, please send us an email:

Bideawee is funded 100% by private contributions. To help us continue our vital work to help animals, please donate today.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hope for Hank: 'Forgotten' dog a gentle giant

English MastiffImage via WikipediaHere's a story that, thankfully, has a somewhat happy ending!  What really is great, besides the rescue, is that this story made the news.  There may be hope for other abused and neglected animals out there, after all.
Just when I am ready to "give up on" human society, a story like this comes around to make my heart and soul happy.  I wish I could thank the person who made that call personally.  I wish I could thank that officer who checked it out personally.  I wish I could thank the vet who is caring for this animal personally.

Please read this article and be thankful that there still are good people out in the world besides yourself.  It gives me hope.  Here is a picture of what Hank should look like and below is a picture of what he does look like.  Makes you want to cry, huh?

Story Published: Nov 19, 2010 at 2:39 PM PST
Hope for Hank: 'Forgotten' dog a gentle giant

ALBANY, Ore. - Police seized a 5-year-old English Mastiff named Hank that weighed only 65 - nearly 100 pounds under his recommended weight - from a backyard lean-to with no sign of food or fresh water earlier this month.
More than a week later, police arrested an Albany woman and jailed her on a charge of animal neglect in the first degree and an unrelated Linn County arrest warrant.
KVAL News met Hank on Friday and talked to the veterinarians who have been caring for him. They said Hank should have weighed 130 to 150 pounds, not 65.
Hank still looks like skin and bones, and nursing him back to health could take another two to three months at the Albany Animal Hospital.
There is good news: Hank does not appear to be afraid of people. Vets said the dog doesn't appear to have been physically abused, just forgotten.
The gentle giant has behaved well around people and cats, which bodes well for his future: he might be adoptable by a family, they said.
Police get involved
The investigation started Nov. 8 with a report of an emaciated English Mastiff at 2003 SE 17th Ave.
A Community Service Officer went to the home and was able to see into the backyard and confirm the report, police said. Over the next day the Community Service Officer and police officers attempted to contact a resident at the home without success.
The next day, the Albany Police Department seized the dog and took him to Albany Animal Hospital for examination and treatment. The exam concluded he did not have any disease or parasite that might account for his low weight, police said.
On Thursday, Nov. 18, police arrested Erica Michelle Olsen, 26, of Albany in connection with the investigation and an unrelated warrant.
Hank's health is improving, and he will soon be turned over to Safe Haven Humane Society of Linn County, police said.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the Albany Police Department at (541) 917-7680.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Humane responders take on task of socializing 500 dogs from raid

By Dawn Majors, AP
On Sunday, a team of 11 Red Star Animal Emergency Services responders from the American Humane Association will return to a shelter near St. Louis to help care for and socialize some 500 dogs that were rescued in a July dogfighting raid, the biggest in U.S. history, which spanned Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas.This news comes on the heels of guilty pleas from Robert Hackman, Teddy Kiriakidis, Ronald Creach and Michael Morgan entered Monday to conspiracy and other crimes, admitting their roles in breeding, trafficking, fighting and killing pit bulls in a lucrative dogfighting network, the Associated Press reports. A fifth co-defendant, Jack Ruppel, pled guilty Sept. 4.
During the raid, agents also seized "rape stands" used to strap female dogs into place to be bred. One hundred puppies have been born since the raids.
Breeding is crucial to the industry because fighting dogs don't live long, says Tim Rickey, director of the Humane Society of Missouri's anti-cruelty task force.
The Humane Society of Missouri staff "is outstanding," says Red Star Animal Emergency Services program manager Tracy Reis. "This temporary shelter is one of the best run that I've seen. They've been working this shelter since the beginning and are tireless in their efforts to care for these dogs. I'm proud that they've asked us to help."
New video from the Humane Society of Missouri shows dogs chained and caged with ribs showing, lips chewed and legs missing:

"To know that three-legged dogs were forced to fight for their survival is too much," said Rickey.
--By Anne Godlasky, USA TODAY
Article from USA Today
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Deputies save injured dog with battlefield medicine

This is a really great article about the new technology and how it can be adapted to help our pets when they need emergency care.  I found this on The Gainesville Sun's online site,  Feel free to visit the site and leave them a comment about this article.

The dog and its owner were hit by a car on the morning of Sept. 8.

Karen Voyles
Deputy Kevin Davis got reacquainted with Layla, the dog that lost a leg following a September traffic crash, but whose life was saved because Davis and other deputies helped administer Quick Clot.
Published: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 4:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 11:35 p.m.
Calling Layla a lucky dog is an understatement. Sure, she lost a leg earlier this fall, but she is still alive thanks to some Alachua County sheriff's deputies and a relatively new medical substance.

Click to enlarge
Layla lost a leg in a September traffic crash.

Layla and her owner, Melisse Moehlig, were out for their morning walk on Sept. 8 when they were hit by a car. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Moehlig was propelled over the car that hit them and landed 60 feet from the point of impact. Layla, a nearly 2-year-old black mouth cur, was pushed or dragged about 80 feet before the driver stopped, with Layla's back right leg pinned beneath a tire.
Deputies Kevin Davis and Kathy Zedalis were in a patrol car about 20 feet from the point of impact and saw the accident unfold. While Zedalis rushed to comfort Moehlig until an ambulance arrived, Davis pulled the shrieking driver from behind the wheel of her car so he could get the tire moved off of Layla.
A stunned group of onlookers watched as Layla, who was bleeding profusely and crying, ran from the scene toward her home in the Reflections apartment complex about four blocks away. Moehlig, who broke bones in her right shoulder and left leg, said what she appreciated most about having Zedalis staying with her were the updates on Layla, including that the dog was last seen running on all four legs...[read more]
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Searching for answers to tracking dog's injuries

Here's an article I found on Facebook from Life with Dogs.  It originally came from

It is simply amazing to me that so many human beings feel perfectly entitled to kill and maim pets.
Where this thought comes from, I don't know and I don't really care.  I just know that it is wrong and every time someone harms a defenseless pet we all are made less.  Let me know what you think of this story, won't you?

Croft firefighters want to know who shot search and rescue animal

Injured by birdshot
Injured by birdshot
Casey, a Croft Fire Department search and rescue dog, has been wounded. Here, Joe Merritt, Casey's handler, looks over the dog's wounds.
Published: Monday, November 8, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 8, 2010 at 12:18 a.m. 
Who shot Casey?

Why did someone commit such an act against a creature whose job it is to search and serve?
That's what folks at Croft Fire Department want to know.

They're not even sure exactly when the fire department's search and rescue dog was shot. Their first clue that something was wrong came Friday, when Casey's handler, Joe Merritt, noticed she was lethargic.

Merritt thought her behavior was probably due to the annual vaccinations she received Thursday. But by Sunday, she was no better — she wasn't eating or drinking or leaving her crate.

So on Sunday afternoon, Merritt took Casey to the veterinary emergency clinic, where the staff discovered she had been shot.

Croft Fire Chief Lewis Hayes said they think Casey, a 15-month-old German shepherd, was shot at least twice with birdshot from a shotgun.

“Her whole life is to save people, and then you have a person that tries to kill her. ... It's senseless,” Hayes said.

Firefighters suspect Casey was shot either at the fire station on Thursday night or at Merritt's residence in an Inman subdivision some time Friday. Hayes said she was secured in a pen at both locations.

Hayes said some people have complained about her barking. The department purchased a bark collar, and firefighters bring her inside the fire station at night, he said. Most nights, she sleeps inside Merritt's house...[read more]

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday True Story -- Believe it: The story of a dog named Ripley

Here is a story from the Orlando Sentinel about a dog that was discovered and saved.  Enjoy!

Believe it or not, this picture is of a dog.

The poodle was found in a ditch in Houma, La., with hair so matted that he couldn’t walk. He was taken in by My Heart’s Desire, a local animal-rescue group, given a shave and a name — Ripley.
“You would have never believed there was a dog under there,” says Tracey Lapeyrouse, co-founder of the shelter. “He looked like the elephant man. All you could see was his snout.”
Enter Orlando-based Ripley’s Entertainment Inc., which is making a $400 donation to the shelter and will give a gift card to Ripley’s future family for pet-related expenses.
“Ripley the dog is what Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is all about,” says Tim O’Brien, vice president  of communications. “It’s unbelievable that a dog could even be in this condition, let alone survive and go on to potentially become a great pet for someone.”
Ripley, after
The company’s connection with animals goes back as far as founder Robert Ripley, who once had a one-eyed dog named Cyclops. So it’s not hard to imagine that Ripley the dog’s story is being considered for an upcoming Believe It or Not book.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Animal Rescue Organizations

I regularly receive emails from various rescue organizations.  I thought I would post some of those now for you to see the desperate need of these animals.  Please help if you can.  You can make all the difference for a small soul just by helping out.

Just look into Chloe's eyes. The pain and sadness are obvious.
But there is also a glimmer of hope.
Donate Today!
Can you see it?
In spite of the horror that this sweet
kitten has suffered,you can tell in her
eyes that all the good that's happened
to her since arriving at Bideawee - the
tender loving care...the nutritious food...
the warm bed - have given her the hope she needs to keep going.

Donate Today!

Now I hope you'll look into your heart and make a generous tax-
deductible donation to Bideawee today to help us give innocent,
abandoned kittens like Chloe a second chance at life. You are the
reason for her hope.

Chloe was found taped inside a box outside an apartment building
in New York City and left to die. Thankfully, a kind soul heard
her weak cries and immediately brought her to Bideawee and
asked if we could care for her. Chloe was emaciated, had
diarrhea, and a horrible respiratory infection. Of course,
we couldn't...we wouldn't turn our backs on a helpless pet.
Would you? Chloe is now healing, adding weight slowly,
and each day growing more comfortable in our adoption
center. Soon we know that we will find a new home for 
Chloe...a family that will care for her and love her forever.
Frankly, Chloe is one of the lucky ones. Thanks to the
kindness of a stranger she is now receiving the care she
deserves. But there are hundreds of other kittens
abandoned on the streets of our city right now. Pets that
need us. Pets that need you.

Right now, please make as generous a contribution as
you can afford to help Bideawee help Chloe, and
hundreds more like her who, without us, will die on
the streets of our city. A gift today will make a real
difference and we thank you for whatever you can do.


Nancy Taylor
President & CEO
P.S. Chloe is safe now. But you and I both know that
we must do more to help abandoned pets, especially
with cold weather right around the corner. With your
support, we can and we will. Please, donate now.
To contact us, please send us an email:
Bideawee is funded 100% by private contributions. To help us
continue our vital work to help animals, please donate today.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Videos

Canine Cops in Training

The Life Of Riley

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Therapy Dogs -- Who Let the Dogs In?

Non-visually impaired kids are bringing their aide dogs to class

When 6-year-old Kaleb Drew gets ready to go to first grade at a central Illinois public school, he grabs his books, coat, sneakers—and his dog, Chewey.

Kaleb has autism. And Chewey, a yellow Lab, trained for nearly two years and learned 30 commands dealing with how to interact with autistic kids in a family setting and in school, says Margie Wakelin, an attorney for Chicago-based civil rights group Equip for Equality.
Among Chewey’s most important tasks is keeping Kaleb from running away, “which he did before when he became over-stimulated,” says Wakelin. Now Chewey is tethered to Kaleb’s belt loop, she says.
Chewey’s presence also has helped coax Kaleb to come to school in the first place. Before, she says, “his mother would pick him up and drag him. An aide would have to help put on his shoes. Now, he’s had no difficulty whatsoever.”


The Villa Grove school district is seeking to keep aide dogs like Chewey out of the classroom. While visually impaired children can have guide dogs, they say, Illinois law is vague about aide dogs for kids with other impairments.
“We don’t feel that the law is clear,” says superintendent Steven Poznic, adding that the district is concerned about both safety issues and classroom distraction. “It’s potentially disruptive for us. ... We don’t feel that it was necessary for the student to be successful.”
In a case of first impression in Illinois, the Douglas County Circuit Court ruled in favor of Kaleb and his family last November. The school district has appealed the case, and oral arguments are expected in May or June, says the school district’s attorney, Brandon Wright.
Chewey does not fit the definition of a service animal, Wright says, because Kaleb is incapable of commanding him to perform any tasks and the presence of an aide is required to control the animal.
Wright says those functions provide comfort, not service. “It’s ‘I feel better because I have my pet with me,’ ” he says, adding that school staff testified that they saw no particular benefits from the dog’s presence.
Wakelin insists there is nothing in the state school code that requires the child to be able to command the animal, although that is the goal of Kaleb’s parents. A similar case is being litigated in a school district in southern Illinois.
“There are a lot of people watching these cases to see how the definition of ‘service animal’ is affected,” Wakelin says.
“There has been sort of an upsurge in those cases,” says Kristin Hildebrant, supervising attorney with the Ohio Legal Rights Service in Columbus. “People are getting service dogs at younger ages. We’re finding out that they can be appropriate and beneficial for younger people.”
Long associated with the visually impaired, dogs are also trained to help people cope with other disabilities, such as hearing impairment, autism and emotional challenges.
When schoolchildren seek to bring dogs into the classroom, sometimes they’re not as easily accepted, experts say, resulting in administrative hearings or even legal action.
Cases have been brought under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as well as comparable state laws.
Wakelin brought the Drew case based on school code language, derived from the ADA, that says “an animal that’s individually trained to perform tasks for a student with disabilities shall be permitted in all school functions,” she says. Wright explains the initial ruling by saying that one-sentence summary proved “hard for the judge to interpret.”
School districts that object to the presence of dogs in their classrooms tend to make the same arguments, Hildebrant says. Allergic children might have reactions to their dander, dogs can carry health hazards like fleas or ticks, they could cause a danger to students if they get out of control, or they can be a distraction due to their barking—or just their presence.
“The issue comes up when it’s never been done in a district,” says Hildebrant, who has handled cases on behalf of children with issues such as physical disabilities and diabetes. “In most cases, the district has what they consider to be legitimate concerns. They need to feel comfortable there won’t be issues around the dog.”
The other Illinois case involves a prekindergarten student named Carter Kalbfleisch, who lives within the boundaries of a school district near St. Louis but attends a center for autistic children 30 to 45 minutes away by car.
In December an Illinois appellate court’s temporary injunction upheld a lower court’s ruling to allow Carter to bring his service dog, Corbin, with him to public elementary school. Carter will continue to attend the Illinois Center for Autism the remainder of this school year.
“Their main concern and their goal is they would prefer to have him educated in their home district,” says Jeremy Thompson of Columbia, Ill., who is rep resenting Carter’s parents.
Like the Drew family, the Kalbfleisches argue that the service dog “refocuses and redirects [the boy’s] attention to the task at hand,” that Carter “had a history of bolting and running off without being aware of the surroundings,” and that, overall, “he’s shown a lot of improvement,” says Thompson, who brought the case under the same state education statute that Wakelin did.
The Kalbfleisches testified that Corbin has been trained to understand 70 commands and receive specific instructions on how to respond to Carter’s issues, and that the dog is a Bouvier breed, considered to be hypo allergenic because they have hair rather than fur.
The school district has argued that Corbin is not a service dog because Carter does not command him personally, and that “the harm the other children are exposed to outweighs the benefits to Carter,” says Collinsville attorney Christi Flaherty, who represents the district. “We have other students who are severely allergic. We have a child who has a respiratory disease.” Plus, the district fears distractions and potential danger from having an animal in the classroom.
Elsewhere, the East Meadow school district on New York’s Long Island denied permission for high school freshman John Cave Jr., who is hearing im paired, to bring a service dog named Simba with him to high school.
The family brought a federal complaint that referenced the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and several state statutes. In February 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York denied the motion for a preliminary injunction.
The case is still pending in Nassau County Supreme Court, although the family has moved and Cave won’t be affected by the result, says attorney Paul Margiotta of Bay Shore, N.Y. He plans to see the case through because “there’s going to be another kid, I’m sure.”
Margiotta says the family argued that the dog alerted Cave to everything from people calling his name to fire alarms, and that without the ability to be together for the entire school day, the dog was forgetting its training (Simba was eventually returned to be retrained).
The school district, which did not return phone calls for comment, argued during the 2007 proceeding that Cave did not need the dog for educational purposes, and that the risks to other students outweighed the potential benefits.


A 2001 case involving an emotionally disabled child in southern Ohio was settled through an administrative due process hearing. The Ohio Legal Rights Service brought the case under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, says Hildebrant, who could not reveal the child’s name. The hearing officer ruled in the family’s favor, saying the child needed the dog to be able to leave her mother and transition to school.
Gallia County Superintendent Charla C. Evans, who began her position after the previous superintendent had denied permission for the dog, said she advised the school board not to fight the family of the eighth-grader. Both sides agree the child continued to bring the dog to school sporadically for the remainder of the 2001-02 school year and then did not feel the need afterward.
“It sort of became a moot point,” Evans says. “I’m not one to draw a line in the sand. ... We set up guidelines where the child was responsible for cleaning up after the animal, that sort of thing.” She adds that the district had brought up concerns about allergies, distractions and safety, but “there didn’t prove to be any of that.”
That’s very typical, Hildebrant says. “My universal experience has been that once the dog gets into the school, it’s been successful,” she says. “It has not been problematic for the school environment because these dogs are well-trained.”
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010