Sunday, July 12, 2015

Service Dogs

An entire cabin of passengers walked off a US Airways and I wasn't there to participate!! 

It wasn't because some over-zealous TSA agent tried to make the aviation industry safer by grabbing passengers' junk. 

It wasn't because a drunken passenger claimed that he had contracted the plague. 

It wasn't even because there were snakes on the plane. 

It was because Albert Rizzi, a blind man, and his guide dog Doxy were ejected from the flight. 

The attendants seated Mr. Rizzi last and in an area where Doxy couldn't lay under the seat. The attendant refused to change seats, even though there several empty seats, so another passenger volunteered to switch. 

After a two hour delay, Doxy got restless and stretched out a bit so half of her was under the seat in front and half under Mr. Rizzi seat. 

While still participating in the popular airline activity of "waiting on the tarmac", an eagle-eyed attendant insisted that Doxy get under the correct seat. Mr. Rizzi said he would squish Doxy under the correct seat when the flight was going to do something other than remain motionless. 

The attendant demanded he comply immediately.  Mr. Rizzi used some colorful language during the exchange while Doxy calmly remained under the seats. The flight crew decided to remove the pair. 

Evidently the other passengers disagreed and staged a coup demanding that Mr. Rizzi and Doxy be returned while the abrasive flight attendant be removed. 

Eventually, the passengers ended up refusing to fly and were bussed to their destination along with Mr. Rizzi and Doxy.

The VA, per their website, does not provide service dogs for mental health conditions, including PTSD.

Research is underway to better understand if dogs can provide a disability service for persons with PTSD. VA has started a research study to determine if there are things a dog can do for a Veteran with PTSD that would qualify the animal as a Service Dog for PTSD. The study is expected to take several years to complete. The National Center for PTSD is not involved in this study, but we will provide results when they become available.

I think the Department of Defense has created enough vets with PTSD that the VA might want to pick up the pace a bit.

Fortunately there a several outside groups trying to fill the needs made by the VA's inability to get anything done. 

This is a clip that shows a service dog calming down a his owner who has Asperger's syndrome. 

Imagine if all people who struggle had a companion like this awesome dog AND imagine if all shelter and abandoned dogs had an awesome place to be and an awesome job to do! 

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