Animal Health Foundation Blog

Archive for the ‘Animals with Jobs’ Category

10 Signs That a “Service Dog” is Actually a Fake

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

from Iheartdogs.com

You’re out shopping when you turn the corner to find a cute dog browsing the merchandise. Your first instinct tells you it’s someone’s service dog, but then something doesn’t seem right. People posing their pets as fake service dogs has become a widespread problem. Real service dogs can be any breed, their owners don’t always have visible disabilities, and they’re not required to carry any kind of identifying paperwork or distinguishing badge. This makes spotting the fakes exceptionally difficult, but if the dog is showing any of these behaviors, it’s most likely an impostor.

#1 – They’re Being Carried or Pushed in a Cart

 

Service dogs are trained in countless different kinds of jobs, but no matter what their specialty is, they always need to be alert and ready to work. If the dog is being toted around in a purse or getting a free ride in a shopping cart, they’re unable to perform their duty. There are exceptions, however, if a small dog is being held close to person’s chest. Some small dogs are trained to monitor certain bodily functions and need to be kept close to their owners.

#2 – They’re Not on a Leash

It seems ironic, but you’ll never see a highly trained service dog out in public and not on a leash. They’re more than capable of staying by their owner, but leashes are used to protect the dog. Always using a leash is a basic part of being a responsible dog owner.

#3 – They’re Pulling on the Leash

Because they’re always leashed while they’re working, service dogs have impeccable leash manners. They never pull and always stick close to their owner’s side. Dogs used for mobility and support assistance may lean into their harnesses as part of their job, but they don’t yank their person in different directions as they feel like it.

#4 – They’re Barking or Whining

Some dogs are trained to bark or whine as an alert to warn their owner of an impending medical emergency, like a stroke or panic attack. But besides these infrequent sounds, a service dog would never bark at another dog or whine out of impatience.

# 5 – They’re Sniffing Everything

All dogs rely on smell more than any other sense, and taking your pet on a walk usually involves a whole lot of sniffing. When a dog has a job to do, those scents are a distraction. Service dogs are trained to stay focused, and they won’t be careening down aisles sniffing everything on the lower shelves.

#6 – They Have Indoor “Accidents”

A dog that isn’t fully house trained should never be taken into an indoor public area. For male dogs especially, indoor accidents are not always accidental, and instead, it’s the dog’s way of marking a new territory. Whether they did it on purpose or not, urinating or defecating indoors is an unacceptable behavior for service dogs.

#7 – They Steal Food

Stealing food—whether it’s off a table, out of someone’s hand, or something they found on the ground—is a hard habit for pets to break, but resisting temptations is one of the first lessons a service dog learns.

#8 – They Look Nervous

Socialization is a major part of service dog training, and if the dog in question is the real deal, they’ll seem calm and confident no matter what’s going on around them. They won’t be spooked by loud noises or big crowds, and they won’t cower or tuck their tails between their legs.

#9 – They Seek Attention

Service dogs know they have a job to do, and they only have eyes for the person on the other end of their leash. They don’t put their noses into other people’s space seeking head pats or belly rubs.

# 10 – They’re Aggressive

Some service dogs are trained in protection, but that doesn’t mean they lash out at other people or animals without being explicitly told to. A dog that is growling, lunging, or showing other signs of unprovoked aggression is not a real service dog.

Fake service dogs put unfair scrutiny on the people who actually need their animals for medical or emotional purposes, and they’re an insult to the dogs that go through months of intense training to be good at their jobs. The service dog reputation is at stake, and it’s because some pet owners think “no pet” policies shouldn’t apply to them. If you decide to approach someone about their dog, remember to do so politely and realize they have no legal obligation to answer a long list of questions.

We Finally Know How Dogs Sniff Out Diabetes

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

From Gizmodo

George Dvorsky

George is a contributing editor at Gizmodo and io9.

For years, assistance dogs have been used to detect low blood sugar levels in their diabetic owners and warn of an impending hypoglycemia attack. Scientists have finally figured out how dogs are able to accomplish this feat—an insight that could lead to new medical sensors.

Dogs don’t so much see the world as they do smell it. Our canine companions can detect the tiniest odor concentrations—around one part per trillion. For us, that would be like detecting a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic sized swimming pools. This allows them to work as medical detection dogs, where they sniff out various forms of cancer and diabetes.

In the case of diabetes, specially trained dogs can tell when their owner’s blood sugar level is low—a sign of a possible hypoglycemia attack. For people with type 1 diabetes, low blood sugar can cause problems like shakiness, disorientation, and fatigue. Failure to receive a sugar boost can lead to a seizure and even unconsciousness. For some, these episodes occur suddenly and with little warning. When a diabetes detection dog senses that their owner is in trouble, they notify them by performing a predetermined task, such as barking, laying down, or putting their paw on their shoulder.

But how do these dogs know? What is it, exactly, that they’re sensing or smelling? This question has mystified scientists for years, but a new study by researchers from the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science and the University of Cambridge has finally provided the answer.

It’s isoprene. That’s what these dogs are smelling—a common natural chemical found in human breath.

The scientists recruited eight women with type 1 diabetes, and under controlled conditions, lowered their blood sugar levels. Using mass spectrometry, they looked for specific chemical signatures to detect the presence of certain molecules. Looking at the data, the researchers found that isoprene rose significantly during hypoglycemia (the medical term for critically low blood sugar levels). In some cases, the presence of isoprene nearly doubled.

Humans are oblivious to isoprene, but the researchers figure that dogs are particularly sensitive to the chemical, and can easily tell when their owner’s breath contains too much of it. As to why the body produces more isoprene during hypoglycemia, the researchers think it’s a byproduct of cholesterol production. Still, they’re not entirely sure why this chemical rises when blood sugar gets low.

Using this knowledge, the researchers would like to develop a medical sensor that does the same thing as diabetes sniffing dogs. What’s more, a handy breath device could replace the current finger prick test, which is inconvenient, painful, and relatively expensive.

It’s important that we don’t overstate some of the purported abilities of medical detection dogs. They seem to be pretty good at detecting certain cancers (e.g. urological cancers and breast cancer) and diabetes, but many of these accounts are anecdotal, and much of the research tied to these canine abilities is still in early stages. Claims that dogs can sniff out lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and even Parkinson’s Disease are still under investigation and are far from proven.

Still, it’s an exciting line of medical research that, like this recent study, could lead to new scientific insights and powerful new medical technologies.

Jane and Kiss named Volunteer of the year

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Kiss at OCMC page 1Jane Horsfield and her wonderful border collie, Kiss, were named Volunteer of the Year at Orange Coast Medical Center!  Congratulations Jane and Kiss!

K-9 Officer Robin Receives Protective Vest From the AHF

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

K-9 Officer Robin

Courtesy photo Monterey Park Police K9 Robin, with handler Agent Peter Palomino, recently received a $950 protective vest as a donation from nonprofit organizations Vested Interest in K9s Inc. and the Animal Health Foundation of Lake Forest

 

If you live in Southern California, you probably remember the story about the Monterey Park K-9 Officer Robin being stung by bees while helping to apprehend a suspect.

Thousands of people were praying that the beautiful black shepherd would survive the bee attack.  And, he did.

Officer Robin’s handler, Peter Palomino, wanted to protect his partner in other ways as well and put in a request to receive a bullet-proof vest for Robin.

The Animal Health Foundation who had partnered with another local police department to donate a vest was contacted by Vested Interest and donated a custom-made vest for K-9 Officer Robin.

 

Press Release from Monterey Park Police Dept.

On June 26, 2015, the Monterey Park Police Department’s K9 Robin was awarded a ballistic vest thanks to nonprofit organizations Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. and the Animal Health Foundation of Lake Forest, CA who provided $950 for the vest. The vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “This gift of protection provided by the Animal Health Foundation.” This is the second vest to be awarded to a Monterey Park K9 this year since K9 Veeda in May.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA. whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950 and has a five year warranty. The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four legged K9 Officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 1,395 law enforcement canines in 49 states with protective vests since 2009 at a cost of over $1.3 million.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. also announces their signature tank top is now available online for a $20.00 donation at www.vik9s.org. Proceeds will provide bullet and stab protective vests, for police dogs actively working without the potentially lifesaving equipments.

The organization orders the U.S. made vests exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, MA. who also does the custom embroidery on the body armor. Vests are manufactured by Armor Express in Central Lake, MI.

New K9 graduates as well as K9s with expired vests are eligible to participate. The program is open to law enforcement dogs who are U.S. employed, certified and at least 19 months of age.

For more information regarding Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Tax deductible donations accepted via mail to: Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718 or via their website at www.vik9s.org

 

The Pasadena Star News wrote this story:

By Melissa Masatani, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

MONTEREY PARK >> A police K9 officer received a ballistic vest recently after the Monterey Park Police Department received the needed $950 in donations, officials said.

K9 Robin received the equipment June 26 from nonprofit organizations Vested Interest in K9s Inc. and the Animal Health Foundation of Lake Forest, Monterey Park police Sgt. Gus Jimenez wrote in a statement.

Vested Interest in K9s provides protective vests for $950 and offers a five-year warranty. Vests provide the law enforcement canines some protection from bullets, knife attacks and other dangers.

Robin’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “This gift of protection provided by the Animal Health Foundation.”

This is the second such piece to be awarded to a Monterey Park K9 this year. K9 Veeda received one in May.

 

AHF Donates Vest to K-9 Officer Prinz

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
Board Members Dr. Glassberg, Jan Vincent, Dr. Johnson and Jennifer Dentino meet Officers Baclit and Prinz

Board Members Dr. Glassberg, Jan Vincent, Dr. Johnson and Jennifer Dentino meet Officers Baclit and Prinz

Officers Baclit and Prinz

Officers Baclit and Prinz

AHF Donates Vest for La Habra’s Police Dog, Prinz.

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Prinz Police Dog

Prinz, one of La Habra’s two police dogs, will soon be much safer while on duty, thanks to a new ballistic vest that will protect him from potential stabbings or bullet wounds.

The vest, valued at $950, was awarded to Prinz by the Massachusetts-based nonprofit Vested Interest in K9s Inc. and the Animal Health Foundation, a charitable organization located in Lake Forest.

“Prinz is just like a member of my family,” said his handler, La Habra Police Cpl. Nick Baclit. “I’m thankful that he will now be safer, when he is deployed in dangerous situations.”

Prinz is part of two K-9 teams at the La Habra Police Department. Each team is comprised of an officer and a police dog assigned to the patrol division where they are deployed to conduct area, perimeter, and building searches.

These highly trained dogs assist the officers in performing their duties in a safe manner, by alerting on the areas where suspects have concealed themselves in an attempt to evade capture.

Recently, there have been several high-profile cases where police dogs have been shot in the line of duty. The most famous is the Anaheim K-9, Bruno, who was shot and injured last March.

And on Sunday, Reiko, a police dog with the West Covina police force, was shot and injured during a standoff with a gunman. Bruno has since fully recovered and Reiko is expected to do the same.

The nonprofit Vested Interest in K9s was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with providing this potentially life-saving body armor for their four-legged officers.

Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has, since 2009, provided more than 1,125 law enforcement dogs in 40 states with protective vests at a cost of more than $1 million.

The Animal Health Foundation is committed to improving the health and welfare of animals by supporting and promoting charitable, scientific, literary and educational activities.

How dogs protect humans from illness

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Dogs’ superior sense of smell allows them to detect compounds secreted through human pores that signal health problems such as low blood sugar or an impending seizure. Diane Papazian is grateful to her Doberman pinscher, Troy, whose incessant nudging at her left side led her to find a breast lump that was malignant. “Dogs are a wonderful part of the development of new technologies,” says veterinarian Cindy Otto, executive director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. “Their incredible sense of smell allows them to detect very low concentrations of odors and also pick out specific odors from a tapestry of smells that can confuse standard technology.” Philly.com (Philadelphia)

KIM CAMPBELL THORNTON
Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2014, 3:01 AM

 DIANE PAPAZIAN was allergic to dogs and she didn’t especially want a second one, but her husband, Harry, persuaded her to let him purchase Troy, a 3-month-old Doberman pinscher. Not long afterward, Troy was in bed with the couple one evening and began insistently nuzzling Diane’s left side. It caused her to start itching, and that’s when she discovered the lump in her breast. It turned out to be malignant, but Diane is now cancer-free after a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.

The Papazians credit Troy with saving Diane’s life. And he’s not the only pet who has helped owners make such a discovery. A number of dogs and cats have alerted their people not only to various cancers and dangerous infections, but also to oncoming seizures, allergic reactions and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Our dogs and cats may not have been to medical school, but their superior senses of smell, as well as their habit of closely observing us 24/7, put them in the catbird seat when it comes to recognizing that something in our bodies has changed, even if we’re not always sure what they’re trying to tell us.

Scientific studies have confirmed the canine ability to sniff out lung, breast, bladder, prostate, colorectal and ovarian cancer, in some cases before it’s obvious through testing. They do this by taking a whiff of urine or breath samples from patients. Dogs have also been trained to alert people to oncoming epileptic seizures and assist them to a safe place until the seizure is over.

What’s their secret? Dogs and cats live in a world of smells, and their olfactory sense is far more acute than our own. Physiological changes such as lowered blood sugar or the presence of cancer produce or change volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted through the pores of the skin. Animals smell the difference and respond to it by licking, poking or pawing at the area.

Your doctor won’t be sending you out for a “Lab test” or “CAT scan” any time soon, but scientists are working to determine the exact compounds that dogs are scenting, with the goal of developing an electronic “nose” that could detect cancer

“Dogs are a wonderful part of the development of new technologies,” says Cindy Otto, DVM, Ph.D., executive director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, in Philadelphia. “Their incredible sense of smell allows them to detect very low concentrations of odors and also pick out specific odors from a tapestry of smells that can confuse standard technology. Unlike some of the other members of the animal kingdom with a highly developed sense of smell, dogs are also willing collaborators in our work.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/living/pets/20140427_Now__dogs_will_teach_you_to_heal.html#ZRUbuBu4pfE0YScA.99

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/living/pets/20140427_Now__dogs_will_teach_you_to_heal.html#ZRUbuBu4pfE0YScA.99

Service dog recovering after surgery; veteran anxiously awaiting her return

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

CTService dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and one pint-sized Chihuahua mix is deeply missed by her owner as she convalesces at Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen, Ill., after back surgery. The dog, named Belle, developed a spinal disc extrusion that left her hind legs paralyzed on Thanksgiving, but she is slowly regaining the use of her legs after surgery. Her owner, Vietnam veteran Gary Jordan, says he misses Belle and hopes to have her home soon because she comforts him and helps him relate better to people. Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model)

By Taylor W. Anderson, Chicago Tribune reporterJanuary 15, 2014

Vietnam veteran Gary Jordan is missing one of his most important troops: she’s a 3-year-old Chihuahua mix named Belle who’s trained to help him deal with his severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

The 69-year-old is coping while Belle — a service dog trained through a Chicago non-profit that since 2010 has paired dogs with vets with post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related brain injuries — rehabilitates from a spine injury that paralyzed her on Thanksgiving Day.

“How am I doing without her? Not well,” Jordan said. “Because she’s my service dog, and we’ve been with each other since February.”

Jordan has been driving several times a week from his apartment in Markham to Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen to see Belle, who is learning to use her back legs again at the clinic after surgery. Typically, the two spend every moment of every day together.

Jordan and Belle are a team put together by War Dogs Making It Home, a charity that rescues dogs from animal shelters and matches them with veterans who need help.

“We save two lives at a time: one dog and one veteran,” said Eva Braverman, the agency’s president.

The dogs are trained to sense when its owner is stressed and comfort them.

Braverman said Jordan called her on Thanksgiving when she was cooking dinner for her family to tell her Belle wasn’t well. One of the dog’s spinal discs was extruding, and she became paralyzed. “I literally put $4,000 on two different credit cards to pay for the surgery,” she said.

Jordan is one of about 25 teams in the War Dogs program, where veterans bring their companions for training twice weekly for the first year and once a week the second. Veterans in the program have served in almost every major foreign combat since Vietnam, Braverman said. She said about half of the owners are Vietnam veterans.

The dogs learn the behavior of their veterans, moving into action when vets show signs of anger or stress. “I have to tell her, ‘Belle, I’m all right,'” Jordan said. “If it doesn’t look like it to her, she’ll just stay there (in my arms). She don’t leave.”

Dr. Amber Ihrke works at Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen, where Belle has been resting after her surgery. The site, which opened in 2013, is the third in the group, which also has locations in Chicago and Hanover Park.

“In three weeks, she’s gone from essentially paralyzed to walking around the room,” Ihrke said as Belle tried to stand on her hind legs in an IPC room in Homer Glen.

Jordan chokes back tears while getting ready to see Belle again. Doctors say they want Belle to get back to Jordan’s home so the two can help each other, but she still has a ways to go before being able to jump into Jordan’s arms.

“She helps me stay calm where I can actually deal with people better,” Jordan said. “It just helps me be more grounded.”

Integrative Pet Care is hosting an open house Feb. 8 to showcase the new partnership with War Dogs.

twanderson@tribune.com | Twitter: @TaylorWAnderson

Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

NYPD’s canine corps grows by leaps and bounds

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Police DogThe New York City Police Department increased its canine force from 60 to more than 100 dogs in the past decade, and the animals are part of the department’s bomb squad, Transit Bureau, narcotics unit and Emergency Service Unit. The department’s German shepherds can be equipped with cameras to relay information, and they live with their handlers. Daily News (New York)

The NYPD is going to the dogs.

The department has slashed the number of officers by 17% over the past 12 years, but its force of crimefighting canines has nearly doubled over that same period.

“The K-9 units have expanded, especially over the last five years or so, and there are no plans to stop that,” said police spokesman Detective Martin Speechley.

He declined to give the exact number of pooch protectors on the force, citing security concerns.

There are over a hundred police dogs serving in different NYPD agencies, a source says.

But more than 100 dogs now work in the Transit Bureau, narcotics, the bomb squad and Emergency Service Unit, according to sources. That’s up from about 60 a decade ago.

The growing furry force is part of a larger law-enforcement trend nationwide and in the military.

Many of the NYPD’s German shepherds can carry cameras on their backs to check out suspicious packages or give officers an inside view of a hostage standoff.

The dogs all come from Eastern Europe when they are between 18 months and 2 years old.

“That’s the perfect time to see if they have any psychological issues, and it’s early enough for us to train them,” Speechley said.

As for officer staffing, the NYPD has dropped from its high of 41,000 at the end of the Giuliani administration to approximately 34,000 today.

The starting pay for police officers is $41,975, which rises to $76,488 after 5½ years.

But it only costs about $1,000 to feed each dog annually.

And the NYPD wants to cut that expense too.

Earlier this month, the department began to look for a new wholesale food provider, records show.

Last year, the NYPD used $100,000 in federal grants to buy two kennel trucks equipped with spacious spots for dogs to hang out during an extended tour.

The dog’s handlers bring them home at the end of each shift. And adopt them upon retirement when they get too old to patrol.

The NYPD isn’t the only local agency with an expanding K-9 force.

The MTA’s police canine unit is one of the largest in the U.S., with 50 dogs in active duty patrolling the LIRR, Metro-North and Staten Island Railway stations.

The pooches are not immune to the dangers of the job.

In June, NYPD police dog Bear required surgery for fractured teeth after a wild subway brawler booted him in the mouth.

The injury occurred as the courageous dog came to the aid of a fellow officer trying to break up a fight among four women at the 4 line station at E. 59th St. and Lexington Ave.

rblau@nydailynews.com

Dogs trained to detect human cancers using scent

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Dogs have been trained to use their noses to detect human cancers including lung and ovarian cancer with reliability, and one U.K. organization is training dogs to detect bladder cancer by sniffing urine samples. Dogs have a keen sense of smell thanks to their abundant olfactory cells, and since they can communicate with humans better than animals such as mice, they are useful for detecting cancers, said veterinarian Cynthia Otto, director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. CBS News

A dog’s sense of smell might be one of his or her best, innate abilities. And an increasing number of researchers are using that nose to help humans detect cancer.

Claire Guest of Berkshire, England runs a charity called “Medical Detection Dogs”that trains dogs how to detect cancer. One project involves teaching animals how to find out which patients have bladder cancer using only urine samples.

Guest’s connection to the project is a personal one. She was letting her dogs out one day when Daisy started jumping and nuzzling her head on Guest’s chest. She went to the doctor, and was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Without any question I would not be as well and perhaps alive today had Daisy not drawn my attention to it,” she told CBS News’ Alphonso Marsh.

Dogs trained to detect ovarian cancer have 90 percent accuracy rate

The science of dogs sniffing out cancer is emerging. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center are currentlytraining three dogs how to smell ovarian cancer in different samples.

“Mice can do a better job at sniffing out things (than dogs),” Dr. Cynthia Otto, director of the Working Dog Center and associate professor of critical care at Penn Vet, previously told CBSNews.com. “But, there is an ability to communicate between a dog and a human so they can tell us what they are finding.”

Dogs are also up to the task because they have a larger number of olfactory or smell sensors than humans do, Otto explained. In addition, the area of the forebrain that processes smell information is larger than a human’s.

Additional studies of dogs detecting cancer include a 2011 German paper that showed that dogs were able to detect people with lung cancer with 71 percent accuracy, and correctly distinguish people without lung cancer in 93 percent of the cases. Another West Hills, Calif. trainer is working with researchers to teach dogs how to detect ovarian cancer using breath samples.

Scientists are also trying to come up with technology that mimics the dogs’ natural abilities. Some companies are making electronic “noses” that can pick up on these cancer smells.

Researchers are also testing a “mechanical dog” that sniff’s a patient’s breath to tell if they have cancer markers. They hope that if all tests continue to go well the tool could be used to diagnose cancer within five years.