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Alzheimer's/Dementia Service Dog
BillBRNC
Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2015 7:43 AM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


I have been thinking about this for some time now. It seems to me that the biggest issue for folks with Alz or Dementia is being able to live at home for as long as possible. It also seems that the biggest problem to staying at home is that the spouse or caregiver will slowly go crazy taking care of the one with Alz. My wife and I were primary caregivers for my Mom, who had Alz. We finally ended up putting her in a care facility, where she ultimately dies from cancer, although she didn't have any idea what was going on at the time. We have friends who have had spouses with Alz, and we watched it crush the spouse taking care of them. 

Now that the shoe is on my foot, I want to stay at home for as long as possible, but I don't want to crush my wife in the process. With a little help, I think staying relatively independent might be possible for any number of years, who knows. The deal is for my wife to be able to leave home without me, and not fear that something terrible might happen. She could be gone a few hours, or possibly even a few days in the beginning. Right now, I fully independent, even if I am screwed up. But this wonderful state won't last forever.

I have been thinking about getting an Alz/Dementia Service Dog. I have found a very honest and reputable trainer of top Service Dogs about 2 hours from where we live. Just assume I'm right about the honest and reputable part, because I realize there are lots of frauds and scams out there. They can take a fully trained PTSD Service Dog and give it additional training for a number of specific tasks. The task would include bringing me home if I get lost. Finding my car if I can't find it (at least for as long as I can drive). Go out the door with me and stay with me no matter what. Carry a GPS collar so my wife can find us using her iPhone. It is even possible to use an iPhone to make the dog's collar alert the dog to bring me home if I don't happen to know I'm actually lost. The dog can push an emergency button at home that would immediately notify my wife of a problem, so she could return or call for help. The dog could find me if I got out without the dog and got lost. The dog could push the same button if I asked the dog to get help. Make sure I leave if the fire alarm went off and I didn't notice the significance of the alarm. There are other things, but it would be important to keep things simple in order for a service dog to actually be able to do them consistently correct.

These basic tasks should make it possible for my wife to leave me alone for periods of time for a much longer than she otherwise would if we didn't have the dog, possibly many years. Service dogs aren't cheap, but they cost less than in-home care for a year or less, plus the person with Alz has a best buddy to keep them feeling safe and secure, which is what any regular dog can do.

Am I crazy for thinking about this? I have already spoken with the trainer, who says that these tasks would be fairly easy to teach a trained dog to do.

Just thinking about options. Personally, and I know everyone is different, I don't plan on ever entering a memory care facility, so anything that can allow me to stay at home and not crush my wife is literally a life saver for me.

 


Mimi S.
Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2015 9:05 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Bill.

Sounds fantastic.

Why not post a question on both of the caregiver's pages asking if anyone has had experience with a service dog.


Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2015 1:00 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362


Hi, Bill.  There are many threads on using a service dog.  The problem that I see, is that the dog must be supervised by the handler.  In the usual cases, the handler who might be blind, deaf, or of limited mobility, has normal cognition and can direct the service dog on what to do.  You cannot rely on a dog to be aware of all safety issues and to get help.  

There are known issues on having a patient with dementia  remain at home throughout the illness.  The main issues are aggression and violence, incontinence, repeated falls and inability to provide personal hygiene care in the home.  You cannot expect a dog to deal with aggression and violence, incontinence, repeated falls, and personal hygiene issues.

The Spouse/Partner board has many members who cared for their spouses throughout their illness.  It would help you and your wife to visit that board and share your concerns with them for more perspective.

I too, plan to remain independent for as long as I can.  I have learned so much about independence from my fellow members.  It's great that we can share what we learn here to promote independence.

Iris L.


BillBRNC
Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2015 2:05 PM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


Iris L, thanks for your comments. Yes, there are a whole lot of things a service dog won't be able to do, but there are some things that a service dog can do. For me, anything is better than nothing, and I won't allow my wife to be chained to me 24/7, and I won't have strangers in my house watching over me. A service dog seems to me to be a good middle ground that might actually help some, not completely, but some.

It is possible that I might look at things a tad different from some other folks. About 6 years ago, some of the best cardiac experts around told me I was dead meat if I didn't get a transplant immediately. Even as I improved, they still told me that I had only a year or two. I had lost 90% of my heart function, so I understood the reality of my situation. Even now, the docs say it could come back with a vengeance at any point in time. I want to live as long as I can have a halfway decent quality of life without ruining the lives of those I love. I now find this new challenge confronting me just as things seemed to be getting better. Just another bump in the road of life, I guess. I well and truly hate it, but there isn't a thing I can do about it.

I already like this Board because only folks who have walked in the same shoes can truly know what us cognitively challenged folks are going through. I had wanted to say dimwits or brainless, but I didn't want to offend anyone. It is what it is. I'm not going to hide it or hide from it. I just want to know the facts so I can prepare, plus enjoy hopefully many more years of playing the banjo and guitar with a lot of other older folks and younger ones too.

Good luck to us all as we find our way through this mess.


Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2015 6:47 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362


I am not a dimwit nor brainless, nor are the members of this board.  I have read some of the most amazing posts from members here.  One thing I have noticed about myself and posting, is that I can write an amazing post, but as soon as I post it, I forget what I have written, and I cannot go back and dredge it up again.  So, that tells me that I still have amazing things within me, but they are fleeting.

I think of myself and of my fellow members as being Dementia Pioneers.  I take comfort in being a Pioneer, and perhaps making things better for those who come after me.

Back to the dog.  I posted about a wonder-dog who helped around the house.  Is this what you were thinking?

Here is the perfect service dog for us!
The pet guardian of Jesse is 21 years old and had never trained a dog before.

 

 


BillBRNC
Posted: Friday, December 4, 2015 7:39 AM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


Iris L, you and I obviously don't know each other. I am sorry if you were offended, but when I referred to dimwit and brainless I was joking about myself. I guess it might have been sick humor, but I certainly did not mean to make anyone upset or feel badly. To give you an idea of my twisted way of dealing with adversity, when I was racing towards death on the transplant list, a very good friend of mine with cancer and I had a private contest going over who would die first. The good news is that we're both alive and kicking 5 years later. One of the only ways I can get through all of this is to make light of it sometimes. We are all carrying a very, very heavy load. I know it, you know it, and unfortunately many others will never know or understand it. In fact, many of those closest to us want nothing to do with our afflictions, as they fear the day when they might be walking in our shoes. The nice thing about this Board is that we're all in the same boat together. I'll do my best not to rock it any more than I apparently already have. I certainly don't want to be the source of discomfort for someone else in the same boat I occupy.

What upsets me the most is that so little has been done to find a cure or method of prevention for dementia in general, and Alz in particular. We spend tons of money on other things that afflict fewer people and that cost the overall system less to take care of. Why the lag on Alzheimer's? I personally plan to do what I can to let folks know that Alz isn't limited to little old ladies and gents in their 90s in nursing homes.

Have a nice weekend. The sun is out this morning, and the temp is in the mid-20s around these parts. Since the wind is not blowing much, my wife and I plan to go for a walk around a nearby lake later this morning. Take care.

Bill.


Mimi S.
Posted: Friday, December 4, 2015 10:06 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Hi Bill,

Twenties ib NC! Wow!

Yes, we with the disease do have our inside jokes. 

 

My response thought is gone. I'll go back and reread what you wrote.

 

You can do a lot yourself rot keep you where you are for a longer time. tTey are called Best practices. Iris and I are some examples on this Board.
BillBRNC
Posted: Friday, December 4, 2015 12:40 PM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


Mimi, thanks for your reply. I didn't know what Best Practices meant, so I checked around the Board and found out. I like the part about red wine. I get as much exercise as I can consistent with my heart failure, but I've actually gotten to a fairly good place on that score, so I think I get enough exercise, even though I can't really exert myself too much. My wife and I just got back from about a 1.5 mile stroll through the woods and then around a lake, then back home. As for socializing, I have real problems with confusing situations where there is lots of noise and people I don't know running around. On the other hand, I go to a local bar every Wednesday to jam with some buddies in return for free beer and food, although I don't eat the food because I've already had dinner. I've getting uncomfortable lately around the crowd, but I've forcing myself to go, plus I truly enjoy playing the banjo and tenor guitar with these guys. My wife and I also socialize in smaller groups where I feel much better. We have a Friday night group that has been meeting at the same restaurant/bar for the past 8 or more years. Even when I was in the tank with heart failure, I still made it there every Friday night. My wife is a super extravert, so it is hard for me to avoid a certain amount of socializing. Now, the diet part is more difficult. I already eat lots of fruit and grains, but I am a meat and cheese guy from way back, so that will be hard. I have cut back, because I had to get my AIC down due to my heart messing with my kidneys, but I lost 30 pounds in order to avoid going on yet another medication. Sorry to bother you so much, but I am very interested in this Best Practices thing, so I'll be trying to learn some more about it. Sorry you lost your train of thought. I do it at least a dozen or more times a day, so I just push on and forget about it, and forgetting is very easy for me. Beautiful day here in the NC mountains today, and for the next several days they say. Hope you have some too. Thanks. Bill.
Iris L.
Posted: Friday, December 4, 2015 12:47 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362


Bill, I was not offended or upset.  I was trying to offer an alternative view.  Very often caregivers and sometimes patients will come on and make disparaging remarks about our brains.  Memory loss is often a joke in our culture.  

I believe we are AWESOME people, to be going forth with our lives and learning how to deal with the new challenges despite having less cognitive ability!  People should be praising us, not mocking us.

Did you get a chance to see the little dog?

Iris L.


BillBRNC
Posted: Friday, December 4, 2015 2:32 PM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


Iris L, I'm going to keep the video to show the trainer in the event I decide to get a service dog. That dog is amazing, even assuming some behind the scenes help from the director. That was a really cool video. Thanks for posting it. Bill.
Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 12:26 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4384


I have had a dog offered for free but did not go with it. It sounds great but also a lot of other responsibility for you and your wife. There is also the issue you need to remember the commands. What happens when you can’t. It does require you to help in that training. I thought and could be wrong that I may be inconsistent in the training which would have a bad out come for the expectations. I have had small dogs and trained them so I know what it takes. It really relies on being very consistent with them. You need to also keep in mind of the huge cost upfront along with down the road. There is lots of technology today that can do many things for you if you have the money.

 


llee08032
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 9:56 PM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


I think a dog will be a wonderful companion and give you a sense of security Bill. Just that alone has a therapeutic benefit! I say go for it!

llee08032
Posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 6:20 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


BTW, welcome Bill.

socwkr
Posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 5:56 PM
Joined: 10/6/2012
Posts: 924


Hello, everyone.  First, let me extend my apologies for being on your board.  I clicked it in error, wanting to go to the discussion board for those who have lost a loved one.  However, I saw the discussion on guide dogs and thought that I would add my two cents because I have 20 years of personal experience with guide dogs.  Both Iris and Mimi know me from the Spouse/Partner discussion board.

My husband,  Dickson, had early onset Alzheimer's and passed away on February 28th.  He was 68 years old and lived as a blind person for nearly 30 years.  He had two guide dogs from the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in Smithtown, NY.  The first one, Style, was a black lab, and when she passed away, Dickson was trained with Jane Baby, a yellow lab.  Sadly, Jane Baby is at the end of her life and will be put to sleep tomorrow morning, cancer has spread deeply into her lungs and her health has declined.

I have seen my husband with Style when he was super independent, taking the bus to work everyday and then I got to experience Dickson with Jane Baby as he moved into all the stages of Alzheimer's.  The thing to remember is that no matter how well trained the animal is, it's a dog!  Both Style and Jane Baby were service dogs but they can only do as well as a dog's brain will let them.  They prefer to eat and sleep, but when working, will take the command of their master.  They are not mind readers who know to do tasks for you.  

I remember when Dickson would put Jane Baby in her harness for a walk.  I had to follow them around in the car because Jane Baby would go where Dickson told her to go.  The problem is that Dickson didn't know where he was going.  Sometimes Dickson would elude me and I'd get calls from the police that they had picked up Dickson and the dog, once in the dead of winter.  One time I found Dickson and Jane Baby at a local park.  She wasn't given instruction where to go, so Jane Baby went where she wanted to spend her time, although she did direct Dickson to a bench for him to sit.  Sometimes if you say to the dog, "take me to the park", they will know how to get you there.  However, the dog gets distracted with squirrels and other dogs, so the master has to know the park is 3 blocks, make a left, go 8 blocks, make a right, etc.  

It seems that you are adamant about getting a dog, which I think is great because the dog will provide you with a lot of love and companionship.  However, a dog is very expensive and a lot of work.  Also, I saw Style become very sick when Dickson was nearly stage 7.  I think she sensed my husband's decline and it got to the point where we almost lost her.  Thankfully, she recovered and lived a good life for another 2 years.

Again, this is just my two cents, and I do wish you well with your decision.  I admire your determination.

Kindest regards, Debra.


Iris L.
Posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 6:44 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362


One thing I did not mention before is this.  The caregiver spouses are always complaining about their LOs repeating themselves, or being inconsistent or vague.  How would repeating, inconsistency and vagueness appear to a dog?  It would be traumatizing.  The cgs want to pull their hair out.  We can't allow a dog to become so stressed.

Iris L.


BillBRNC
Posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 8:38 PM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


I truly appreciate the recent replies. I realize that a service dog it not the answer to all this Alzheimer's. I'm just trying to find my way through the initial phases, and I think a service dog will give my wife the peace of mind to leave me along for longer periods of time over the first few years. I have no idea if this will work. I have the money to pay for a fully trained dog, so I don't see any reason not to try. Also, even if the service dog doesn't perform as hoped, it should still be a source of comfort and peace for me during the final years, at least I hope so. Nothing to lose, and much to possible gain. I hate this, I truly hate this. I can't believe that I survived being a 10% heart function to become screwed by the terrible this called Alz. Well, that's the way the cookie broke, so I'll have to live with it. I just want to do whatever I can do to help my wife feel comfortable leaving me at home alone, even if just for a few months or years. The end will come soon enough, but I've lived with that for many years with my heart failure, so what will be will be. Just saying.
socwkr
Posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 9:13 PM
Joined: 10/6/2012
Posts: 924


Maybe you could keep a journal of your adventures with the dog?  It might be an important document for others who'd like to travel this path as well.

Best wishes, I'm going back to my thread now!  Nice speaking with everyone.

Take care, Debra.


jfkoc
Posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 9:29 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21138


We have always had 1-2 dogs so when we found ourselves dog-less went rescue shopping. My one must was that I could wash the dog in the kitchen simk.

Well, Luke found us and he weighs 85 lbs. Best therapy every for my husband...the responsibility falls on me. Get a dog if you want a dog but know full well that the day is going to come when you are going to need something more. Get a dog because you love dogs.

If you want your wife to really not worry then please rethink having someone with you. I seriously doubt that she thinks the dog is going to take care of you...help yes but not like a person on the premises would. Do ask her what she would be comfortable with and if she is up for the responsibility of a dog.

 


BillBRNC
Posted: Saturday, December 12, 2015 8:14 AM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


jfkoc wrote:

We have always had 1-2 dogs so when we found ourselves dog-less went rescue shopping. My one must was that I could wash the dog in the kitchen simk.

Well, Luke found us and he weighs 85 lbs. Best therapy every for my husband...the responsibility falls on me. Get a dog if you want a dog but know full well that the day is going to come when you are going to need something more. Get a dog because you love dogs.

If you want your wife to really not worry then please rethink having someone with you. I seriously doubt that she thinks the dog is going to take care of you...help yes but not like a person on the premises would. Do ask her what she would be comfortable with and if she is up for the responsibility of a dog.
 =================
 Of course you are right, and I know it, but I just feel like I have to do something. And yes, even if the dog doesn't prove to be able to help, I'll still love having the companionship and friendship that dogs are so good at naturally. It would just be a bonus if the dog could be a super dog to. And I know my wife will end up with the dog, so she would have to be 100% in favor. I'm just kind of lost right now, but I'll find a way out of all of this.
 

 



llee08032
Posted: Saturday, December 12, 2015 10:11 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


Jkoc,

Got a good kick out of picturing you sink washing a dog and Luke picking you and your husband. As some of you know I lost my dear pal Diesel in October. That is the hard part of having a dog but I'd never change anything! If your a true dog lover the love of a dog always outweighs the hard parts of caring for a pet. I probably will get another dog someday when I retire. My granddaughter wants to get me a puppy for Xmas! I would want another rescue dog vs a puppy but I'm not ready yet. When I was a young widow my niece showed up at my house with my Boomer. He was abandoned, a beautiful Shepard-Golden mix. He lived 14 years and set me on the path to healing. 

Bill,

There are pro's and con's with everything. I think a dog will be a new and wonderful adventure for both you and your wife. Documenting your experiences with a service dog could prove to be useful to others in years to come. I am looking forward to hearing about your adventure.


BillBRNC
Posted: Saturday, December 12, 2015 11:12 AM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


jfkoc wrote:

We have always had 1-2 dogs so when we found ourselves dog-less went rescue shopping. My one must was that I could wash the dog in the kitchen simk.

Well, Luke found us and he weighs 85 lbs. Best therapy every for my husband...the responsibility falls on me. Get a dog if you want a dog but know full well that the day is going to come when you are going to need something more. Get a dog because you love dogs.

=============

Yeah, I would love to see an 85 pound dog get washed in the kitchen sink. It would take a very large sink for sure. Love the story and the picture in my mind. Thanks for sharing.



mrranch2
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 12:31 PM
Joined: 6/26/2015
Posts: 5


Service dogs are GREAT, but they can't do it all.  The gps collar you mentioned would be terrific and you're right about their being able to notify in case of emergency (I recently saw a demonstration by a PTSD dog dialing 911).  Two problems:  (1) you have to take care of the dog and (2) you and the dog must be a fit.

My wife works and I stay home alone (so far), even when she has to be gone for several days.  I have a care-partner dachsund (a variation on a service dog).  Couldn't make it through the day without her.  She let's me know when someone is at the door, she's adapted to my routines so she makes sure I take her out, including for walks, at certain times of the day (even if it's cold and rainy), reminds me (not very accurately but still a reminder) when its time to take meds, she is generally a few feet away in a protect position (tail toward me, facing the other way) and because I have hallucinations (FTD/LBD) she keeps me honest (if I hear or see something and she doesn't react I know it's me, not real).  Otherwise she is a loving companion. 

There are, of course, some things she can't do (hygiene reminders, as someone mentioned earlier, for example), but she is a loving and strong companion.  Not long ago my legs decided not to work and I wound up on the floor wedged between the bed and the dresser.  No way she could help me up (a large PTSD dog is trained to support you as you get up).  I called for assistance on my cell.  She curled up next to me until she heard someone at the door, then she went bouncing and barking till they came in and she led them to me.

I strongly recommend a companion that matches you.  An older dog (not as rambunctious as a puppy or 1-2 year old--we got ours when she was 12 and have had her for two years), well housebroken, generally friendly with everyone unless threatened, and as a rule not a risk to push you over or trip you.  Remember, dogs are territorial (your house becomes theirs) and they are pack animals (you become theirs, not the other way around).  Regardless of the breed, be prepared to bathe them, feed them, give them a bed, have them go on trips with you, lay on you, sit in the same chair with you, and sleep with you (our Dee Dee is extremely disturbed by thunderstorms and the only way for us to get any sleep is for her to be in bed with us).  And then there is the vet (especially with an older dog).

Whatever you decide, best of luck, and enjoy every moment of every day.


Iris L.
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 12:58 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362


Welcome to our online support group, mrranch.  Your doxie sounds great.  I hope you were not hurt by your fall.  

I look forward to hearing more from you.

 

Iris L.
BillBRNC
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 2:39 PM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


mrranch2 wrote:

Whatever you decide, best of luck, and enjoy every moment of every day.

==============

Thanks. Luck to us all.



The_Sun_Still_Rises
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 8:29 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020


Hi Bill, and welcome to the forum.  I am not sure what country you are in, but am assuming the USA. 

There is a trainer in California, is that the one you were thinking of? 

We were considering buying a dog from him. It is $15,000-$20,000 for a dog from him.  However, I found (as a previous horse and dog trainer) that he makes a lot of promises that seemed iffy to me, and the more I talked to him, the weirder it felt.  My daughter looked him up and found some very negative reviews.  Then I saw a YouTube training video on his site and that was enough for me...to me, it spoke volumes.  The dogs were scared and intimidated, and it was not him asking the dogs to do and letting the dogs sort it out, as he had promised.  For me, it was epic disappointment.    

Bob, at Dog Wish in California has this training video on his site (the dogs seem stressed and scared)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hKBUtiQabA

I have since found, that there is another person with dementia who DID purchase a dog from him, but had to hire another trainer to fix the dog.  And he can't say enough for the dog - he loves the dog to bits and is very glad he did it.  I wish I could remember his name.  He is still active online, just not here.  He is part of the DAI online video groups...the leaders of those groups know who he is. 

I thought that I would do better to get a dog and have it trained for the basics and then do the specific task-training myself.  Fairly near me is a trainer, for $6,000 turns out amazingly well behaved, reliable, calm dogs.  However, I held off.  Decisions can take a bit longer when you have dementia. 

Then I came online to this group, and a member wrote about her dog and how he comes near to her whenever she is confused, and I was again inspired. 

I ended up getting a dog at the pound, a Belgium Sheppard (Groenendael type), we named Bodhisattva, and he has been just so intuitive and taken right to tasks that I am sort of just training him myself.  Really, I just suggest something to him and he just does it, so I really cannot take any credit. I use very few, if any, cues...it is more of a psychic bond.  Indeed, words seem to make him uneasy. 

Right now he is working reliably as a balance dog.  I use a harness on him that I hang onto, and if I start losing my balance, he moves to block me.  He will stand there, bracing on me, and I can lean my whole weight on him...and he will stay there until I catch my balance and am ready to walk again.  He's been the best deal ever, for me, as I very much need to use a cane for frequent falls and balance issues, but can't due to chronic tennis elbows.

As always, it has to be the right dog for you.  If you have the time and money, take the time to sort through the dogs (knowing you will like every one of them) until you find just that right mix of unnamable *something* that they need to have...because they are out there in all walks of life. 

I have mixed feelings about dogs bred and trained for the work, as I feel they miss *something* I personally need them to have.  Like the other poster's story of the blind dog, my ex-husband's brother was blind and his dog from the wonderful complex in Marin, California, led him out into the street and he was hit by a car and killed.  I think you need a dog that pays attention to, and tunes into, you.  Unlike a guide dog, and most other service bred dogs, you need one that is so tuned into you, that they would break training to alert you or others, or break training to pull you home...those others are valued because they will not break training.  I picked Bodhi because he leaned on me and stuck at my side (and was good with the baby), beyond that I cannot put into words how I knew it was him, I just knew. 

Like you, I too have an extensive list of tasks I would like to teach him to do for me.  Bodhi, seems smart, willing, and very much wanting for a job to do...and seems to take a lot of pride in doing it.  And there is just something beyond words about when we are out walking and he catches me, that he is doing something I cannot do for myself, and he knows it and is happy to be there for me...it is truly awe-inspiring to be a part of that partnership. 

I say go for it.  And I second the notion of writing about it, as I am sure many would appreciate following the journey...and you never know who you will inspire to try this for themselves. 

Also, the training work you do now with the dog, in the earlier stages of the disease, can (and will if you let it) push you to be and do more than maybe you would otherwise do and be.  Learning about training, and trying things...these are all good ways to evoke neuroplasticity...and, in my humble opinion, should be included in the Best Practices line up to stave off the effects of the disease process for as long as possible.  I am stage 5, but I am all about doing everything I can to slow this disease down.

Aside from me and that other guy, we are the only two that I know of who have done it...you would be the third.  He is a part of the support groups through Dementia Alliance International or DAI, you may want to contact them and see if they can't put you in contact with him, the leaders know who he is.  He would be a real good guy to speak to if you are considering buying a dog from Bob, in California. 

Dementia Alliance International (DAI)

http://www.dementiaallianceinternational.org/membership/

PS:  I put up some dry erase boards, that I mark off that I have fed and watered him each day (just in case he didn't remind me), and one by the door, that I mark off each time I let him out.  However, he is great about asking to go out when he needs to.  I don't feel the cold, and now that winter is upon us, so I am working on a plan to stay safe walking him.  I write about it, here and in a blog. 

https://www.alzconnected.org/discussion.aspx?g=posts&t=2147520896

Best of luck to you, how you will tell us whatever you decide to do and how it goes.  Again, welcome to the forum. 

 

 


BillBRNC
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 10:01 AM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


TSSR, thanks for your information. Early in my looking around, I found a fellow that was all over Google from CA that advertised about Alz service dogs. It sounded great, a little too great to me, so I kept looking. Turns out the guy is a total fraud. He does business under many names all over the country. I won't name the guy, because that not for me. I also found a great article in a reputable magazine about a fellow who claims his life has been changed by a Alz dog provided by the same fraud guy. I think the article was a plant. I continued my looking, and I found several really nice looking options of places to go, but they all turned out to be frauds like the first guy. The entire area is covered with fraudulent people claiming to sell service dogs. Anyway, I finally found a really top one not to far away (I'm in NC) that the Alz Association pointed me towards, even though the Alz Association had never really heard of service dogs for Alz people. The person they pointed me to trained service dogs for a lot of other things, and they had never done Alz. But the stuff needed for an Alz service dog is really the same or very similar to what service dogs in many other disabilities have been doing for decades. Anyway, I think I'm going to get a dog via the nearby place, but I'm still pondering on it, but I'm fairly sure that's what I'm going to do. The lady who runs the place is a first class lady, who does all kinds of good stuff all over the country, and she is supported by many very important folks, some of whom I actually know. Anyway, this is totally a buyer beware area to be into. The first articles I saw on Alz service dogs were from European government health places that were trying out the idea as a way of saving money and improving quality of life, but it is still just experimental over there right now, at least I think so. Glad you are having good experiences with your dog. Problem for me is that I just could not take an untrained puppy or rescue and train it. I don't mind paying for it, so why not go with an expert. You should be proud of what you have accomplished, because training a dog takes patience, love, and focus.
Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 11:02 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4384


I think you should share the names if they are frauds.  By the way I had sent you a request to connect privately.
The_Sun_Still_Rises
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 11:07 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020


Yeah, I saw the Scotland dogs too...but have had no answers from them on whether they would work with me in the USA.  I tried. 

Far from untrained, I think the dog I got was a service dog reject...as he seems to have all the training in him already.  I lucked out.  But I also spent months actively looking. 

I know what you mean about adapting the training, seems all simple enough. 

Glad you have a great place by you.  We don't.  Well we do, but they will only do dogs for kids.  However, we have a top notch trainer here, should I go that route. 

PS, the guy in the dementia groups is a real guy...and he has been glad about the dog.  But it is nice to know that you and I had the same opinion of the guy in CA. 


BillBRNC
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 11:51 AM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


Michael Ellenbogen wrote:
I think you should share the names if they are frauds.  By the way I had sent you a request to connect privately.
 
Michael, I'm not sure I know what you are referring to. I don't know much about computers or Boards, and I don't know about connecting privately. Sorry, but I don't know what you are referring to.


BillBRNC
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 11:59 AM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


The_Sun_Still_Rises wrote:

Glad you have a great place by you.  We don't.  Well we do, but they will only do dogs for kids.  However, we have a top notch trainer here, should I go that route. 

PS, the guy in the dementia groups is a real guy...and he has been glad about the dog.  But it is nice to know that you and I had the same opinion of the guy in CA. 

===========

TSSR, Yes, it sure sounds like your dog is either a genius or has had training from somewhere. It is possible the dog is just really smart. As for training, sounds like you are doing great as is, but I don't think it would hurt to have a good expert help you out. By the way, they can train a service dog to go to the bathroom when told to go and where told to go. It really is quite amazing the things a dog can do if handled properly. I'm glad to hear the guy in the dementia article is the real deal, because I figured he was part of the fraud deal. I could not believe how many fraudulent sites there are for service dogs. I came within an inch of talking with a fairly close by breeder who turned out to be a total fraud. I'm glad you have a good trainer to help you, assuming you end up going that way. By the way, you have a really beautiful dog. Good luck.



BillBRNC
Posted: Friday, December 18, 2015 7:30 AM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


Michael, just saw your note. I'll call later today. Thanks. Bill.
BillBRNC
Posted: Tuesday, December 29, 2015 12:53 PM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


Mike, I have no idea what I was going to call you about. Sorry. By the way, I think I've got the dog thing worked out, so that's a good think. Maybe that is what I was going to say.
csaxonm
Posted: Thursday, December 31, 2015 12:45 PM
Joined: 10/5/2014
Posts: 3


Dementia service dogs can be such a blessing in so many ways. Three tasks barely touches their capabilities. I would encourage everyone interested in service dogs to read dogwishservicedogs.com.

If dogs were allowed in the apartment complex I live in, I would move Heaven and earth to have one of those dogs.  Happy reading!


BillBRNC
Posted: Thursday, December 31, 2015 1:02 PM
Joined: 12/2/2015
Posts: 1018


I would say that buyer should beware when discussing the purchase of a service dog, Far too many of those who claim to train and sell them are not always on the up and up. I would at a minimum Google the organization and any names of founders or those in charge to see what can be seen on the public pages. I know I started this topic, but I just want everyone to be cautious and have someone you know (if not yourself) research prior to parting with money. A good service dog is hard to find and even harder to get, but they do exist, but be careful. Happy New Year to us all.
schooltalk
Posted: Sunday, January 3, 2016 4:44 PM
Joined: 1/3/2016
Posts: 4


I don't think it is fair to the dog.
 
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