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Few more questions and a bit of a rant

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

  
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Rickards

I'll always love- you...
 
 
Barked: Sat Aug 7, '10 2:52pm PST 
Hi all,

I wrote a little while back asking a few questions about Services dogs and well, I have a few more smile I appologize in advance this will be long.

I made a bunch of phone calls yesterday to try to find out more about getting a PSD in Alberta and if you can certify an owner trained dog. I called a number on the Alberta Governments site "Service Dogs for Albertans with Disabilities" and I'm sort of confused by what I was told.

According to the Government of Alberta website in order for someone to recognize a dog as a Service dog they have to have a license saying they are a Service Dog which is issued from the government. The only way to get these licenses is to have a dog from an accredited ADI trainer or institution. Just stating that ahead of time.

So the lady I spoke to did confirm I can't certify an owner trained dog. She said they tried a program a few years ago with owner trained SD's and she said alot of the dogs failed so they scraped the program. Then she told me that I didn't need to certify my future SD. She said I wouldn't be covered by the Service Dogs act, but I would be covered by the Alberta Human Rights act. She explained the difference is if I'm declined entry somewhere and my dog is certified, I would go to the police to report it. But if my dogs not certified I would make a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights place and that it could take a while to have the complaint heard. Her first suggestion was to call places in Alberta that train SD's to try to get a dog through them. Then she said if I go the owner training route to help identify my dog as a SD instead of having the license she said to get it a vest stating its an SD. I asked her if that was legal if my dog wasn't certified and she said it was as long as I actually needed the dog. She said to carry my letter from the therapist that says I need an SD as well as the dogs vet records and any training they've completed.

Okay, so thats fairly reassuring. So according to her I can owner train and have public access, but I could be challenged more if I don't have the license. And I can still make complaints if I'm denied, but it takes longer. But then if I can do that whats the point of getting the license anyway?

Anyway, so I decided to call the nearest facility to me and ask if they train PSDs. She said they don't, but she would check to see where in Canada does. So she comes back on the line and says the only place is the Delta Society. After I got off the phone I googled it, I found out the Delta Society is in the USA and there is no mention of them specifically training PSDs. I tried the searches on there site to find PSD trainer or facility and nothing comes up in Canada.

So I'm I missing something here or is there no where in Canada that trains PSDs? And why if thats the case can't I get my future PSD certified, I know you guys can't answer that, but its frustrating. It just doesn't make sense. So am I misunderstanding things?
I'd really love someone to help me sort through this, because I'm confused.

Thank you in advance.
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Rickards

I'll always love- you...
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 8, '10 10:20am PST 
Anyone able to help?
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Reboot - Retired SD

Retired and- livin' it up!
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 8, '10 10:44am PST 
I asked some people on another board, just because I'm interested to know too-- there's potential that I'm moving to Calgary in the next few years, so the SD thing will affect my decision.
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Rickards

I'll always love- you...
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 8, '10 11:24am PST 
Thanks Reboot smile I know most of you on here are from the States and the laws are different there. I could be wrong, but the laws regarding SDs don't seem as harsh in the States. So I'm grateful your asking around about it.
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Reboot - Retired SD

Retired and- livin' it up!
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 8, '10 2:37pm PST 
The laws are way more lax here than they are there, yeah. It has its benefits definitely, like being able to owner-train and being able to select your own dog and breed and everything, and not having to worry about finding a program that will train a dog for you, but it has its disadvantages too like having a lot of badly trained "service dogs" and a lot of fakers.

I'll definitely report back if I find anything else out!
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Rickards

I'll always love- you...
 
 
Barked: Sun Aug 8, '10 3:11pm PST 
Ya I can see what you mean by the issues it would cause. I not too long ago read about the Iguana 'Service Animal', that was a little bizzare.
I have decided I am going to go ahead with owner training even though the laws are confusing and there are no Service Dog trainers here. I was just hoping to find another way first. I still hope whoever you are talking to has some advice or information about this. But for now I'll stick with things the way they are. I am on a waiting list for a Labrador Retriever puppy- have to wait till April or June depending on which litter I go with. I was going to withdraw that if there was a facility that trained PSDs nearby, but there isn't. So I'll do the best I can with the regular trainers here and hopefully you guys will be able to offer some training advice or help if I need it.

Anyway, thanks again. smile
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Chiqoe

Bone Burglar- Extraordinaire
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 19, '10 8:57pm PST 
Despite what this lady actually told you, it is illegal to have an uncertified service dog in Canada. You will not find anyone to train a psychiatric service dog for you in Alberta or even Ontario (I have been looking for years, only found one place, and was scammed out of 5000$ by Thames Centre Service Dogs, so please if you come across them, run for your LIFE). I do know of one place in BC that trains PSDs but I forget the name. You CAN find any dog trainer or veterinarian who is certified to train service dogs, worked for an organization in the past, etc. who may train a dog for you for a price. You cannot "owner train" as trainers in Canada do undergo testing to become certified Service Dog trainers or testers. So in fact, it is not the dog really who is certified, it is their trainer. I encourage you to search your area for a trainer qualified to train service dogs. Email everyone, including people in the US. My partner is currently working with an agency in the US to receive an Allergy Alert service dog who is trained to search out peanuts. Canada has stricter laws, the kind I see many people from the US in this forum praying for, about PSDs. You have to have Proof of Disability to receive a service dog from an agency or trainer in Canada. If you do not have proof of disability (ODSP pay stub, not a Doctors note saying he approves a dog but a legitimate letter stating your disability and how it impacts your daily life) , and you use a service dog anyway you can be charged for fraud.
I am not questioning your disability, just letting you know what the laws require in Canada for you to work with a service dog. And know that its a VERY long process - I've been at this three years and will have to wait another 12-34 more months for my dog to go through training.
Don't believe anyone who tells you that you can owner train a dog in Canada - they're usually misguided, confused between ADA (American's Disabilitys Act) and whatever act our individual provinces enforce (Ontario's isthe AODA - theres where the confusion happens ADA vs AODA)
If you inquire into services here in Canada and you cannot seem to qualify, look to the US. They're a bit ahead of us as far as variety of service dogs which is unfortunate for us, but on the good side we are protected by much stronger laws than they are. There are no "Fakers" here, because it's just too easy to clear yourself if youre legit and impossible if you're not.
Best of luck!

Edited by author Sun Feb 12, '12 10:43am PST

Approved by forums moderator
Chiqoe

Bone Burglar- Extraordinaire
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 19, '10 9:01pm PST 
PS: Getting a vest for an owner trained dog instead of a license for a legitimate one is like buying a fake ID. You might get by for a while, but as soon as you have an issue and try to defend yourself, its that you can get charged.
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Rickards

I'll always love- you...
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 20, '10 1:51pm PST 
Thanks Chiqoe for all the information.
I'm extremely confused as to why this lady from the Alberta Government would tell me that then? I'm not saying you are wrong, but what you said confirms my fears about what she said. cry
I wish you could remember the place in B.C, I personally can't find anything there about PSDs. I called "Dogs with Wings" that are in Edmonton and they said the only place they knew of was the Delta Society, which lead me to another dead end. I can't find anyone in Alberta or Canada even that trains PSDs. And I have no clue on how to even begin finding a trainer who is a certified service dog trainer other than the ADI site I tried and the Delta Society I already tried (they both have search engines to find trainers/ facilities and nothing turned up). I would look into the states but I've heard that runs in the $5000+ dollars and I just can't afford that.
And I'm not sure how to get anymore proof of my disability other than a letter from my therapist. The Alberta Government sites are confusing and most seem to be for seniors. I can't find anything on mental disabilities or even know who to talk to for help.
I know you only responded to help, but I can't help but cry reading what you wrote. I'm so frustrated and sad that I can't seem to get the help I need.
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Chiqoe

Bone Burglar- Extraordinaire
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 20, '10 11:49pm PST 
Oh honey! I know the feeling.
Okay, I did some more research into this for you.
Stalworth kennels is located just outside of Ottawa Ontario and they primarily train police dogs but do PSDs on the side, very professional looking, and they have a scholarship program you can apply to to help with some/all of the money required to obtain a dog through them depending on your financial situation. Google Stalworth Kennels and you'll find them.
A letter from a therapist isn't enough in Canada - you'll need to get your therapist to refer you to a psychiatrist and get a diagnosis from said psychiatrist. You will also need this psychiatrist to state that you arent TOO disabled to take care of a dog.
K9 helpers is located in Guelph Ontario and they serve guelph/surrounding area, but you could try applying to them and see if you get accepted despit your location. http://www.k9helpers.org/k9/
These are the only two I know of, I was turned down by K9 helpers and just recently (as in yesterday lol) my application to the Stalworth scholarship was accepted.
These people I just found on a google search, they're located in winnipeg and do PSDs for Veterans, so it's worth applying to them, they may be willign to help you out. Here's the artical i found: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/the-dogs-of-war-99162684.html
I reaalllyy hope somehow I've helped. I know it's hard with the nature of our disabilities, being mental health, but try not to get too too stressed. You will get a dog. Some way, some how, you can make it happen, and if you do it with a legit trainer you will be so much happier in the end with a dog you can trust to keep you safe no matter what.
Keep posting if you have any more questions or need more help. smile chin up. you can do this.
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