Several years ago the Seacker family brought their son Jacob to Dog Wish to get help for him. Jacob has Asperger’s Syndrome, and at his young age had been beaten, urinated on, and sexually assaulted and abused both at his, and at his Autism Day Care Center. He was questioning himself, and his self-image was destroyed. We hooked him up with our dog, Thor, and for the next several years they were a wonderful team. We now are training his second dog, Jasmone, and Jacob is getting ready for College.
Jacob Saecker and his dog Thor have now gone to school together, full time, for several years, to different schools, and never had a single problem. Watch their video: Jacob & Thor on you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7s1fjDFQkk&feature=plcp.
CHANGES FOR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
We are viewing an approaching change of incredible proportions with Educational Institutions and School Districts across the Nation as they address the social phenomenon created by the massive increase in the numbers of children being born with Developmental Disabilities.
What we are experiencing on an epic scale has the ability to change humanity. Many scientists actually believe that mankind has entered into a new phase of evolution; that something has awakened in man that has been dormant for a long time. Others believe that man has reached a point in their development where they are going through a regression. Whatever, weather these developments show a dominant or a recessive trait, are part of a universal strategic theme for mankind, or just a fluke happening that we are experiencing, Autism, Dementia, Seizure disorders, etc., are a fast growing part of the present experience for mankind.
In fact, the leading Universities in our World, dealing with research on this subject, made a statement in June of 2012 that the true ratios for those with developmental disabilities and disorders is much HIGHER than previously reported to us. Instead of 1 in 150 boys and 225 girls, it is actually more like 1 in 27 boys and 54 girls, and growing at 12 to 17% per year.
Because I have been and am active in training and placing trained, Certified Service Dogs in schools with child handlers, all over the United States, I have had the opportunity to see first-hand different classrooms with young children (kindergarten through 5th grades), across the country. I have been able to watch these children as they interact with our trained Service Dogs, and see how they are affected. The affect in every case is wonderful. Teachers who have our dogs in their classrooms have noted that:
• The ability of the students to settle down and study is greatly approved.
• As a result, they have noted that the performance of the children in these classes is up 15 to 20% since the dog came to their classroom.
Of course, our dogs are trained to be sensitive to the different scents, and projected brain energies, in each child. They are slow and sensitive, without hypertensive nervous energy, and trained to focus on each person, absorbing their individual sensual data. Because of this Dog Wish Service Dogs are more approachable, responsive, understanding, and capable of being what is needed in each case.
However, because this is a new and unregulated science, based on:
• higher levels of communication
• and sophisticated psychology,
Of course, unless it is done correctly, supervised intelligently, and used with discretion, you could run into problems. I would like to say that of all the experiences I know of with Dog Wish Service Dogs that have been allowed to accompany their handlers in school, full time, the only problems that have occurred in the past 6 years, so far, have been:
• Caused by ignorant outsiders, who didn’t understand what they were doing,
• And jealous parents who have gone out of their way to cause problems themself
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems. This biggest problem is that, even with the new ADA Laws, which specifically state what a proper Service Dog is, and how they perform, the fear, anger, and self-absorbed attitudes of those in Administrative positions in many schools and School Districts who are:
• Eager to keep the status quo,
• To fight change, and
• Assert their misguided authority on vulnerable parents who need their help.
Because of the poor attitudes of many, over 2/3rds of the parents of children with neurological disabilities and disorders are not happy with how their children are being treated at school. To many, sending their children to school has become no more than a supervised day care situation, where the children learn very little if anything.
It is sad to have to admit that the majority of families with children who dealing with Developmental Disabilities have chosen to “home school” their kids. They have made this decision as an alternative to leaving them in a system that isn’t designed, capable, or honestly trying to meet their needs.
I’m proud to say that in the past six years I have been retained to work with a number of the schools that ARE not only allowing Service Dogs to attend full time with their handlers, but also are involved with me in programs to use Service Dogs to help their students, as a part of their progressive response to the needs of this community. Participating in these programs is an amazing and wonderful experience for everyone.
1. Often the dogs affect not only the performance of their handler, but of the whole classroom, raising performance from 15 to 25%.
2. The dogs also become an asset to all the children in many ways, alerting to the neurological problems in the children around them, and helping to provide a more wholesome, sensitive, and enhanced learning environment for everyone.
3. It is a worthwhile opportunity, and can bring positive change, and optimistic hope.
Many schools do respond defensively in the initial, denial, or rejection stages of this progression, and when initially approached by parents, with traditional, ignorant comments, already covered under the ADA Federal Laws and Regulations.
However, this is just as ineffective for them as the hyper-vigilant attitude that many parents bring with them to IEPs, (not judging or criticizing any parent trying to help their child…me too!).
In some cases we had to take the School District to Superior Court, which took time and money. It is best to try to understand them, and work with them. Many do, and some in time, with our help, see things the right way. Over the process of time, many local School Administrations are becoming more intelligent and responsive to the needs and requirements of students disabled problems caused by Developmental Disabilities, disorders, etc.
However other schools go the wrong way. They actually set disabled children AND their dogs up:
• Putting stress on them
• Setting them up with improper classroom seating arrangements’
• Subjecting the dog to situations that cause them stress and anxiety
• Expecting handler performance from disabled children that they cannot handle
What is most important for you to understand is that the ADA requirement for a Service Dog is that, a Service dog must supply at least three necessary functions for their handlers, which the handler cannot supply for themselves, because of their disabled condition, and will need to function at school. Being an emotional support dog is NOT one of these functions, but is the function of a Therapy Dog. So, if the organization training your Service Dog is training them to supply emotional support, they AREN’T training a Service Dog for you. The functions the dog does provide for you must be clearly spelled out for the School to approve.
This letter explains how our Dog Wish Service Dogs are trained, and why they are capable and necessary for use in Public School. Dog Wish is working with families and School districts in several States throughout America today, and is getting Dog Wish Service Dogs accepted into their local Schools.
SOME PEOPLE HAVE TO LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE
A family came to me 19 months ago, referred by the Inland Empire Regional Center, todiscuss the possibility of getting a Service Dog for their son, a 14-year-old boy, with acute anxiety, who had suffered tremendous emotional problems at school. He quietly came with them, just there, non-participative, and like he was just waiting for the interview to be over, so that he could go back to the nothingness he had come from and forget he ever came. He didn’t expect anything from me, and didn’t want to put himself in a position to receive anything either. I’ve been with kids that were severely beaten by gangs, tortured, and abused many times, and they all feel the same way. This kid had been beaten down, over and over, by someone who didn’t want him coming back.
His family was poor and struggling, obviously had been like that all his life. He just sat there with his head down, staring at the ground, while his mom explained that he’d been like this since one day when he came home from school, and had never spoken since. Come to find out, he had several experiences at school that had all but destroyed him. I didn’t want to believe that, and when I found out, first hand, that it was the truth, I was furious. However, right then I had to make a decision, and I did. I had my staff bring out a female German Shepherd from my kennel that was looking for a handler.
She was a very nice, special, loving, good dog that was looking for someone that could see that, and accept her as their dog. Her name was Billy, and she was about the sweetest dog you could ever want. We brought her out, and sat her next to the boy. He didn’t move, didn’t reach out and pet her, and didn’t acknowledge her. She lay down by his side and I put her leash in his hand. “This is your new dog.” I told him. “You can do whatever you want with her, but nobody is going to take her away from you, ever,” I told him. His family was very excited. No one had ever done anything like this for them, and they realized I had just chosen for them a precious, special dog. After a few minutes they got him to get up and take the dog for a walk. Ten minutes later he came back, sat down, reached over with tears in his eyes, and gave the dog hug. I gave them everything they needed, and they took Billy home.
They came back for the next few weeks and brought Billy to work with me. Each week the boy would get out of the car, walk over, and give me a hug. However, something else happened. Billy started changing their lives. Because Billy was special, they began to feel special. Because everybody loved Billy, everybody began to like them.
The big, and important thing, was that for the first time in 8 years, the boy began to respond. He started to respond to his teachers at school, and began to perform. Then, he took Billy to school. For the first time in years he began to enjoy and progress at home. For the first time in years, this young man began to take shape.
They scheduled an IEP to discuss having Billy with him. Everyone was excited, his teachers, their assistants, the school employees, everyone could see a huge difference in the boy’s attitude and demeanor. I was invited to speak at the IEP and it was very positive, and very exciting.
Then, the next week, the news came from the Superintendent of the School District who sent a memo that Billy was no longer allowed at school, or on school grounds. I called and spoke with the special needs department, and the County Psychologist. They were very strong, stating in fact that “there will never a Psychiatric Service Dog in this particular School District”. I was told not to call back, and that no one was interested.
The family, as they had now for years, continued to call, speak with the school, and found no help. They called me, and I informed them of the Loyola University Law Center, and Dr. Richard Peterson, who I had worked with helping several families with their disability rights. They called and contacted several different attorneys, finally ending up with:
Elizabeth F. Eubanks, Esq., the Inland Empire Regional Director of the Disability Rights Legal Center at the University of La Verne College of Law, Ontario, CA 91764.
The School District alleged:
1. Billy was not a proper Service Dog
2. Billy was not stable, and potentially dangerous
3. The boy was not able to control Billy
4. The school was not able to handle the liability of the dog
The arguments went on and on, and lasted over a year. All that time the young man was forced to attend the school and subjected to pain and torment without his dog. Finally I was asked to meet at court and help the attorney defend his rights. The night before the Attorney sent me the new papers from the School District. In those papers they made a whole new set of accusations and demands.
The next morning we met at Superior Court, and I was able to meet them face to face. They were there for a political addenda, and I was there to help my client. There were 27 of them, against the Attorney, and I. The last 2 meetings had gone against her, and she was worried. We met at Court, and I was called to testify. Five hours later the School District buckled, and we won. What I didn’t know was that the family had sued them for $85,000.00, and they won that too.
Three weeks ago the boy started school, full time, with his dog. They haven’t had a problem, accept now the school has to be a school and do what they’re supposed to do. Unfortunately, after our Court appearance, the Court now wants to know how the boy is doing, and this School has a lot to make up for. That was now 1 ½ years ago, and Billy has become the school mascot.
Schools do try to push arguments directly rejected by the ADA Federal Laws, and put unnecessary rules and restrictions with you, so beware. I tell my clients that if they want to place their dog in school, to let me do it, and not to try and accomplish this on their own.
Necessary Functions of a Dog Wish Autism Service Dog
There are numerous functions that a Dog Wish Service Dog will provide for their handler, which have greatly benefited them and improve their over all life. These many functions make their presence with their handler at school imperative:
1. First of all, Dog Wish changes the mentality of each dog we train as a Service Dog, teaching them on command to go into “command mode”, relaxing, releasing hyper-tension, becoming slow, soft, and sensitive. This behavior is very attractive to a child with Developmental Disabilities, and also the presence of a dog trained to behave like this is attractive to a child whose senses a hyper-sensitive. Also, this behavior counter-balances that of a child with a neurological imbalance and keeps the child from extreme high or low behaviors, which is very advantageous in a school setting.
2. Dog Wish Service Dogs are trained to smell abnormal body odors, and detect abnormal energies when their handler is projecting stress, and physically alert them by getting their attention through physical contact, whining, or barking at them, (whatever is appropriate). Once the dog knows the teacher or aid it will go to and alert them of an approaching problem.
3. They are also trained to smell the specific smells their handler’s body produces when they are going to have an emotional “melt down”, or is reacting to a stressful situation, and to physically distract them with calming movements.
4. These behaviors are important for all K9s being trained to work with people that have Autism, because they have trouble verbally communicating their thoughts and feelings, and acting on them. Therefore, the K9 must be trained to be sensitive to their electromagnetic energies, and corresponding body smells, and learn to respond to them.
5. As the Dog Wish Service Dog makes physical contact with their handler they provide emotional security: a healing and calming presence through their emotional and electro-magnetic bond, which they develop quickly. This past year several Dog Wish Service Dog handlers have gone from lower grades, to becoming ‘honor roll students’ specifically because of the presence of their dogs at school.
6. The dog is trained to be alert to the physical and social world around their handler, and to help them socially interact in a positive way, and to keep their handler safe. This year 2 different children were saved at school from ‘Child Predators’ by their Dog Wish Service Dogs.
7. The Dog Wish Service Dog has had its metabolic hypertensive energy output modified to be emotionally balanced, and has been trained to work slower, with less nervous energy. Its emotional output has been stabilized which greatly affects the handler, and others it is around, helping them to remain calm and think more rationally.
8. It has been documented that because of the calming presence of the trained and Certified Dog Wish Service Dog, in therapy and school sessions, those children with a 25 to 30% attention factor can now be 75 to 85% attentive in the presence of their dogs.
9. Every dog trained for someone with a neurological disability or disorder is trained to communicate non-verbally, without hand signals, by becoming sensitive to the electro-magnetic energies produced by the brain of that person, and by responding to the energies and projected images projected by them. This is essential for proper performance as many of these individuals cannot verbalize or communicate what they think or feel, and live in a right-brained world that others are not aware of or sensitive to, and which their dog must be aware of and sensitive to. This is a huge reason for the dog’s presence and performance with the child.
10. Many children affected with Autism can be a danger to them self because they are too involved in their own world of thoughts, and at those times have trouble relating with the outside world. They will forget where they are, or what they are doing, and can place themself in serious jeopardy. Their dog becomes a constant door connecting them to the outside world. Many, through their dog, learn to communicate and react in a more normal, comfortable, and even enjoyable manner with others, and their environment.
A Dog Wish Autism Service Dog has been trained, just like a Police K9, or a Guide dog has:
A. To stop at curbs, watch for traffic, and to perceive when it is safe to continue. Dog Wish trains Sight Assistance K9s, and Hearing Assistance K9s, and includes those exercises for Autistic K9s, that will benefit their handlers as well.
B. To walk around groups of people involved in social interaction instead of walking through them, interrupting them, or bothering them.
C. To keep proper social distance allowing others to be more comfortable around their handler.
D. Dog Wish Service Dog is trained to detect, recognize, and respond to their handler’s scent. They can search out and bring their handler home. If the handler were to wander off, become lost, become confused and forget where he was, etc., the dog has the ability to find them through tracking, and return them home. *Every week this past year some Dog Wish Service Dog has saved the life of their handler.
E. Many times a child with these disabilities and disorders will be feeling sick or ill, and not even consciously recognize this. The dog will smell and feel the problem, and react, alerting the handler and their care takers to it. Learning to be sensitive to a Dog Wish Service Dog is an important part of the process, and can greatly help the caretaker, parent, associate, teacher, or assistant understand and relate to the affected person.
F. Dog Wish Psychiatric Service Dogs come “passively protective” of their handlers and are hyper-vigilant. They are strongly connected, and do not like to be separated.
AMELIA AND HER PSYCHIATRIC SERVICE DOG CORA
This last fall, through the efforts of a Charitable Foundation, a woman named Rebecca brought her daughter Amelia to Dog Wish for a Service Dog. Amelia has been disabled with Autism like symptoms for several years now. At 11 years of age she doesn’t speak, lived in her own world, and was uncontrollable and non-responsive to her care takers. Amelia bolted, escaped, and eloped several times the year before she got her dog, and almost was killed a couple of times. Amelia had severe ‘melt downs’ that were violent, and dangerous. Several times, while working with Amelia, she attacked and endangered our staff. However, our training worked. Amelia and her Dog Wish Service Dog bonded immediately, and intimately. The second day of training, her dog Cora saved her life, when she bolted, after training, while playing at a park. Cora stopped, controlled, and returned her back to Rebecca. Since that day Cora is her constant companion, and goes to school with her full time. Amelia is tethered to Cora at all times, outside of her home. In fact, without Cora, she doesn’t go to school. Cora has changed her life, and made School successful for Amelia, who, as long as Cora is with her, has become responsive, cognizant, and workable! It has now been 2 years, and Cora is still in school, and doing well.
This year Dog Wish has placed a Psychiatric Service Dog in School every single month, with great results! This is a powerful and dynamic job, and there are very few Service Dog Schools in the world that have enjoyed the success we have achieved. We CAN do the same for YOU.
Dog Wish trains each dog according to the needs and desires of the client. We would also include the school in this process, and make sure that the desires of the school for the student and the dog are attended to on a professional level. This would include taking the dog to school, working with staff etc., to make sure handling concerns are provided for, and that the handler themselves will have the knowledge and ability they
need to be safe and responsible.
For any other questions and concerns please contact Bob Taylor, President and Chairman of the Board of The DOGWISH, Inc. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 760-662-3767.
Bob Taylor, President
Dog Wish Incorporated