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I read an emotional story in this morning's paper about a man who adopted a large, six year old German Shepard at a no-kill shelter in September.

"Myers is retired and lives alone. He felt lonesome and scared after he came down with covid-19 early on during the pandemic last March, he said. I decided it would be a good idea to get a dog after all the time I’d sat in my house by myself...”

This shelter and the previous shelters had difficulty placing her, thinking she might be aggressive. The gentleman, Mr. Myers, heard about Sadie. He went to meet her, and this turned to be a great - and life-saving - match.

"In December, when Myers came down with covid-19 a second time (doctors told him that he’d been exposed to a new variant), he said Sadie stayed by his side in bed until he felt better.

"Weeks later, he stood up in the night to walk to the restroom and his legs buckled. Myers’s doctor later told him that his stroke was brought on by blood clots due to covid-19."

He couldn't get to his cellphone, but somehow that dog knew. The man was able to grab onto her collar and Sadie pulled him, inch by inch, to his dresser where he was able to reach up and get it. His doctors later told him he would have died if he hadn't been able to get help. Here he today, recovered:

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I have read several similar stories this year, and each time I think about when one of my dogs in the past and present have been there for me and for people I know, some here on PF. The human-canine connection never ceases to amaze me. A service dog is worth it's weight in gold, but the untrained, unintentional service dogs are very much a gift too.

Do you have any experiences with your poodle or other dog, trained or not, that you would like share?
 

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Topper became my emotional support puppy even before he came to live with me. A few days after I met him as a five-week-old puppy at the breeder's, I had an adverse reaction to a medication I had been taking for years. I was put on a ventilator for two days in the ICU, then moved to a regular room for several more days. During that time, the breeder (who didn't know about this) sent several photos and videos of baby Topper. I kept looking at them on my phone and showing them to my husband and my nurses. The photos kept me grounded in reality and focus on the future, rather than thinking about what could have happened to me. They encouraged me to do the rehab that I needed to regain my strength.

Now that he's with me, Topper can sometimes add to my stress level, but he brings such joy and delight. He makes me get outside for a walk every day, helps me interact with other people and gives me something positive to focus on - raising this pup to be the best dog he can be. Per his temperament tests, he is a very stable, pack-oriented dog, so I think he's the perfect canine companion.
 

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I am hoping Bobby will someday be a reading dog at the library and maybe schools but he has a way to go. He does love kids and he is young so I still have great hope for this. Covid has stalled pretty much everything training wise except for basic obedience classes. He does get to practice with my grandkids though.😊

The story I would like to share is about my Great Dane Moose who passed a couple of years ago. I was hoping we could train him to be a therapy dog but by 3 years old we knew it wasn’t possible. He had too much anxiety and was hyper sensitive to sounds. That aside, when he was around 2, we were out walking the neighborhood. As we were walking we saw a senior gentleman, who was a veteran, sitting in a wheelchair by his home. He saw us, I waved and he asked if he could pet my dog. I was a bit hesitant as I had no clue how Moose would respond as he had never been around wheelchairs but I decided to go for it. It was such a touching moment as Moose walked right up, immediately placed his head in the gentleman’s lap and affectionately and gently nuzzled him. They had a wonderful visit. I know it made that gentleman’s day. It made my day! He was so grateful for the visit. Moose totally engaged with this perfect stranger. He was like that with people. He loved people and I think he would have been a great therapy dog but we just couldn’t get past the sound sensitivity, anxiety and his barking at certain dogs.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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That story gave me chills, @Vita. Beautiful.

I have a condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) which causes a rapid heart rate while standing, followed by a cascade of other (sometimes debilitating) symptoms. The first time I had a bad attack around puppy Peggy, I was in the kitchen making dinner. I can push through a minor episode, but this one required I lay down immediately. As I collapsed onto my back, Peggy climbed on top of me and jammed her nose into my chest, right where my heart is. She inhaled lonnnnng and deep, and then just lay there while my heart rate returned to normal.

I’ve since been in contact with someone whose spoo is trained to assist with POTS. I’d love if Peggy could alert me when my heart rate is climbing.

She recently did something similar when one of my hypermobile joints was about to go out of place. She jammed her nose right in there! She took a deep sniff, and then gave it a few tentative licks. I was baffled until I tried to move and realized I couldn’t.

Peggy’s much more protective of me than my husband, and I do wonder if my chronic health issues are to blame. I’m sure she’s aware of all of them.
 

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As I collapsed onto my back, Peggy climbed on top of me and jammed her nose into my chest, right where my heart is. She inhaled lonnnnng and deep, and then just lay there while my heart rate returned to normal.
I had never heard of POTS before, but I know that feeling where you have to lay down for various reasons. Back in late January, I suddenly became very sick, and Bella knew. She started whining and barking. I took her to bed with me to sleep it off. A few days later I still wasn't feeling up to par, and Sachii became more affectionate and cuddly than ever. At night she would snuggle deeply in my back with Sachii curled up into my stomach. They provided great comfort and still do.

I read that dog owners live longer than others. It's like they try to suck any stress, pain or illness away with their bodies, sorta like little heating pads provide warmth and comfort. It's always struck me as odd that another species is so kind, caring and loyal to us when we treat them right. Their nose knows, their heart knows, when we are distress. I think it was Will Rogers who said that wherever dogs go when they die, that's where he wants to go too. 💖 🐩🐾🐕💖
 

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I had Lasik done early in October. For most people it goes perfectly, they recover within a month. For me, my eyes recovered mostly fine but my light sensitivity never went away. I am stuck in sunglasses and closed blinds (and I live in Florida), and when a light shines just so I get debilitating migraines. My doctor has been checking me out for other issues but these started as soon as I first exposed my new eyes to light... and nothing else seems to be wrong (so far). They aren't too frequent, maybe 2-3 a month. But when they come, I can't see or think or anything.

Well, Fenris and I go out a lot. I've always likes walking/hiking and just being in nature. We were at the beach, me with sunglasses and hat on, but somehow light did something in my peripheral vision and before I even realized it I was down, head swimming, so bright I could not see. Fenris knew something was wrong. I sat down on the beach, he settled next to me despite being off-leash and cuddled.

Eventually, I got a leash on him and started stumbling through the sand (it was a pretty desolate spot, not many people) hoping to find my car. But it's like Fenris knew we had to get to the car because usually he walks next to me, instead he pulled me and I thoughtlessly followed. I had no idea where along the tree covered shorelines I parked the car, but he found it. We went in, I put some AC on, took a pain pill I had in my glove compartment, and threw a towel over my head. We laid together in the backseat until the painkillers started to work and a small cloud made it more bearable to drive. I didn't even realize he did all that for me until later because I couldn't even think. But he seriously saved me that day.

I don't know if there can be service dogs for migraines but I honestly don't see myself hiking alone anymore without his support, and maybe I can train him in the future to actually intentionally help me out. These migraines have actually made me fear going off alone without other people around. Oh, it sucks.
 

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@AliFenrisMom , holy cow! It sounds like Fenris sensed you could barely see and also stepped into the role of being a guide dog. Sorry you experienced light sensitivity, it's a monster. I developed that when I caught Lyme disease around 20 years ago and it lasted until after one doc actually listened to me that this should be tested and I was treated. So many poodles and other dogs have this gift to just know when we need help.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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That is awful, @AliFenrisMom! I’m so sorry. I hope you get some relief as your eyes continue to heal. :(

As a lifelong migraine sufferer, I can relate. And while I’ve never had a migraine service dog, I definitely had a migraine support dog in my last girl, Gracie. She would lay in the dark with me, sometimes for days. She never complained. Never got restless. Just tucked in and did her “job.”

I think there are definitely some migraine-related tasks that Fenris will be able to assist you with, and he may even be able to alert you of an impending attack, so you have time to get somewhere safe.
 

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Meisha is an emotional support animal. I have severe hearing loss and don't like to stay in hotels without her. She alerts me to knocks on the door. She is also good about letting me know when there is someone coming up behind me. And she let me know the other day that I had accidentally locked the cat outside.

I would like to have her as a service dog but she isn't specifically trained. I called a trainer and they wanted 3500 to train her as a service dog. I'm not sure if it is legit.

I just got my hearing aids yesterday and they are wonderful! But as I don't sleep in them I still treasure her help.
 

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As Meisha already performs specific tasks to help with your medical situation, she is already your service dog (Click, let me know if I am wrong about this) Click is our resident go to gal for training service dogs. www.poodleforum.com/threads/diabetes-alert-dog-training-update.
From here I would make suggest that you work on basic obedience commands - then slowly introduce her to all the ways she can help you. Sometimes it helps to have specific commands like "Who's behind" "At the door?"
I have been training my own service dog for sometime now and like you I thought he was just an emotional support dog but found out here that he was my service dog. Since that time, we have been working together to strengthen and add commands that are useful for me. He wakes me up reminding me I need to take medicine, he puts me to bed for the same reason. He will go find my husband if I am in need of him, leading my husband back to my location. He will stay close and lean on me to apply pressure, he will fetch a water bottle. Anyway look at my training thread and you can see my starts and stumbles. Asta's training thread
I would never pay 3500 to train your dog. You know what you need help with and you want to build a strong relationship so that she will always look to help you before anything else. Owner training takes time, patience and a lot of work but well worth it. Just my opinion.
Good luck - and keep us posted as you go along.
 

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That is awful, @AliFenrisMom! I’m so sorry. I hope you get some relief as your eyes continue to heal. :(

As a lifelong migraine sufferer, I can relate. And while I’ve never had a migraine service dog, I definitely had a migraine support dog in my last girl, Gracie. She would lay in the dark with me, sometimes for days. She never complained. Never got restless. Just tucked in and did her “job.”

I think there are definitely some migraine-related tasks that Fenris will be able to assist you with, and he may even be able to alert you of an impending attack, so you have time to get somewhere safe.
I'll think about it if these migraines won't go away. But I am hopeful still they are temporary. Fenris is only 6 months so we are still focusing on general training. He is doing so good though, proud of my boy!
 

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Meisha, I definitely think she falls into the service dog category. Just for fun, I checked the ADA definition of service dogs, and this raises an interesting question:
"A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability." (ADA 2010 Revised Requirements: Service Animals).

She definitely is doing work or performing a task for a person with a disability. But was she individually trained to do this?

I suspect you did train her, without really thinking that was what you were doing. I'm sure you praised her lavishly when you found that she was alerting you to the knocks at the door. Specific response to a stimulus, followed by reward. That sounds like individual training to me.

If I were you, I would identify another task or two related to your hearing challenge. For example, why not teach her to get you, go to the kitchen and sit when the kitchen timer or microwave timer goes off? If you have a landline phone, why not teach her to get you, go and sit next to the phone when it is ringing. Or, even better, why not teach her to bring you the phone (landline or cell) if it is ringing? That way, there would be no question of her being a true service dog.

(I've trained several successful service dogs.)
 

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Meisha, I definitely think she falls into the service dog category. Just for fun, I checked the ADA definition of service dogs, and this raises an interesting question:
"A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability." (ADA 2010 Revised Requirements: Service Animals).

She definitely is doing work or performing a task for a person with a disability. But was she individually trained to do this?

I suspect you did train her, without really thinking that was what you were doing. I'm sure you praised her lavishly when you found that she was alerting you to the knocks at the door. Specific response to a stimulus, followed by reward. That sounds like individual training to me.

If I were you, I would identify another task or two related to your hearing challenge. For example, why not teach her to get you, go to the kitchen and sit when the kitchen timer or microwave timer goes off? If you have a landline phone, why not teach her to get you, go and sit next to the phone when it is ringing. Or, even better, why not teach her to bring you the phone (landline or cell) if it is ringing? That way, there would be no question of her being a true service dog.

(I've trained several successful service dogs.)
Thank you for this. You have given me a lot to consider. :)
 

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So I filled out the Department of Transportation Form and there were very few questions. I'll be flying with her next week assuming everything is approved. This will really be helpful to me for travelling and being in hotels when I have my hearing aids off. Even though they work well, they do make my ears sore if I leave them on all day.
 
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