Service Dogs

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Service Dogs

Postby sngmorris » Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:39 pm

Has anyone had experience getting or training their dog to be a service dog for MS? I've read about larger dogs being used as balance assistants. I am wanting to have my highly trained Yorkie (1 class & 1 test from completing therapy dog - November 17) to help remind me of middle-of-the-day medications and to help remind me to go to bed in the evening and rest when I am tired. Also, I believe persons with MS frequently have depression, anxiety, and panic - especially those of us who live alone. These dogs can be immeasurable with pain management, comfort, and hope. I'd love to learn from your experience with dogs.
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Re: Service Dogs

Postby mmpetunia » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:25 pm


my dog is my support animal. she is not trained to do anything in particular except force me to get exercise by walking her and offer me comfort when the goin' gets tough. she is recognized by the ADA and as such i am allowed to keep her despite her being a "vicious" breed (oh please, she is the biggest wuss i've ever met!), and living in a no pets building. i thought about training her in the future for something such as balance or to retrieve things for me but when i began looking into the personal attributes of a service dog i realized that she is far too social to ever be able to always be working (service dogs should not respond to people greeting them or petting them, or other distractions in the environment--their sole focus should be you). she loves people too much and not being able to meet them would be devastating i think. at any rate, it is possible to train the dogs yourself, but i think for the tasks you are requesting you might be better off seeking out a dog trainer who has experience with service dog commands.

individuals who have psychiatric conditions often have emotional support animals whose sole purpose is to provide comfort, love, and give their day structure and purpose, no special training required at all. i personally think that people with MS should take greater advantage of keeping a support animal for all of the reasons you mentioned. if you feel you can adequately care for the animal--it doesn't have to be a dog, then it's worth asking your doc for a note which prescribes you a support animal. when i asked my neurologist, i had already typed up a letter stating in specifics why i required a support animal. she loved that, all she had to do was sign! we copied the letter onto her letterhead and done! its been 2 years now and she has definitely enriched my life. and i feel so much better knowing that she is protected by ADA law and i can keep her in any housing situation.
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Re: Service Dogs

Postby rob11749 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:26 pm

[ have been diagnosed with MS for over three years. So I am a newbie at all of this, but I was a kennel master in the US Army and now retired peace officer from the State of Calif. Fed DOJ rules are very clear, Miniature Horse and K9s are the only animals that can be used as "Service Pets". You have nothing to prove to anyone, this is the DOJ directive as of 2011. I currently use my German Shepherd for balance and picking up items I drop. I encourage you to visit and obtain a copy of this document. I have also cut and pasted a copy for you below. Balance is a very valid reason for a service animal. You are well within your rights to have one regardless of his/her size. I might suggest a bigger k9 but I weigh a bit more then I should LOL. If you are interested in some tips and training please contact me. I will be glad to help you out. My e mail address is I prefer telephone due to my fatigue, but whatever you are good with. I am currently trying to find posts on Fatigue and MS without much luck. I have tried Nuvigil, Provigil you name it, I am tired of spending days in bed unmotivated from my MS. I had this problem way before I was diagnosed, this is my biggest MS complaint along with balance.

Best of luck to you, and again e mail me if you like. I only check e mails about 3 x per week.

Kind Regards,



U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section

ADA 2010 Revised Requirements
Service Animals

The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).

This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.

Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.

How “Service Animal” Is Defined

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.

Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.

Where Service Animals Are Allowed

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.
Service Animals Must Be Under Control

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.

A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.

Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.

People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.

If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.
Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.

Miniature Horses

In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.
For more information about the ADA, please visit our website or call our toll-free number.

ADA Website

To receive e-mail notifications when new ADA information is available,

visit the ADA Website’s home page and click the link near the top of the middle column.

ADA Information Line

800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY)

24 hours a day to order publications by mail.

M-W, F 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Th 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

to speak with an ADA Specialist. All calls are confidential.

For persons with disabilities, this publication is available in alternate formats.

Duplication of this document is encouraged. July 2011
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Re: Service Dogs

Postby lyndacarol » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:58 am

Welcome to ThisIsMS, Robert. Although I have no need of a service pet, I appreciate the information you have posted. Thank you for joining our group; you are a valuable asset here.

On another topic – just to satisfy my curiosity… Since you were in the U.S. Army, do you know if you received the BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine against tuberculosis (TB) as part of the military medical program? Or… Can you tell me where I can find this information?

We are glad you have found us.
My hypothesis: excess insulin (hyperinsulinemia) plays a major role in MS, as developed in my initial post: "Insulin – Could This Be the Key?"
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