Service Dog Conference

Operaration Fetch will host the nation’s second annual conference in Englewood, Colorado from July 22-24, 2016.
Real Heroes Wear Dog Tags
The Conference is for business leaders, hospitality and food service managers, first responders, service dog handlers and anyone interested in Service Dog Education and Awareness.

The conference will be held at the Englewood Civic Center, 1000 Englewood Parkway, Englewood, CO 80110

World class speakers and professionals in the service dog field will give participants a 360 degree view of problems and promises regarding service dogs.

Topics to be discussed:
–Emergency Response Procedures for people with service dogs and first respomders.
–Issues for businesses: Access, spotting fakes, ADA compliance
–New Legal issues and legislation facing handlers and businesses
–Fake Service Dogs: panels and presentations
–The Human Canine Bond and its healing power
–Types of professional canines
–Best practices for businesses
–Prison programs: promise and peril
–New Scientific Research
–Service Dog Training methods
–Veterans and Service Dogs
–Invisible Disabilities

With the increasing need for service dogs to mediate visible and invisible disabilities, especially for returning military personnel with PTSD and trauma injuries, June 5th has been declared Service Dog Education and Awareness Day. And with daily media reports highlighting access issues and conflicts regarding disabled persons in need of animal assistance the conference will provide attendees with the information and skills necessary to act as ambassadors in their own communities. The goal is to bring about conflict resolution and an increased appreciation for the role of service dogs in mediating physical and psychological disabilities.

Attendees will learn to educate and advocate in their own businesses, towns or agencies for ADA compliance and conflict free access for people with visible and invisible disabilities.

To date, there is an impressive list of proposed speakers who will lend their time and considerable talent at the event to include:

Dr. Laurel Braitman: Dr. Braitman is a science historian, writer, and a TED Fellow. She is also an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Laurel has a PhD in the history of science from MIT and has written for a variety of publications. She is the author of Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves, which was published in June 2014 by Simon & Schuster.

Dr. Margaret Glenn: Dr. Glenn is the chair of the Department of Rehabilitation at the University of West Virginia. She also works closely with the prison training program at the federal facility in Morgantown West Virginia that trains canines for veterans with mobility and PTSD issues. She also works with agencies on access for service dogs in the workplace.

Briana Ore: Briana is the senior trainer for Freedom Service Dogs in Denver Colorado. She has worked for nearly a decade training assistance animals for people with physical and emotional difficulties.

Lon Hodge: Lon,”Veteran Traveler,” who resides in Chicago and Colorado is a former military officer and professor of psychology that works closely with the Disaster Shelters Relief Foundation and Operation Fetch. He and Gander, the AKC national hero service dog of the year, travel the country giving free seminars on service dog awareness, PTSD and ADA regulations while doing Planned Acts of Community Kindness (PACKS) with their social media community of some 400,000 followers.They have worked with businesses, police and fire and organizations small and large to create a barrier and stress free environment for service dog handlers and especially veterans and victims of trauma. He is the curator of and one of the featured writer in In Dogs We Trust, and anthology of America’s Best Dog Stories, 2104.

Tickets are available here for the general public:
http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ecldlpt … =vwgto8oab

Tickets for Military ID holders, Service Dog Handlers and First responders:
http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=vwgto8oab&oeidk= … 1g8f0cfd01

Join National Service Dog Hero Gander, Speakers from the ADA, and national experts in the field for this important event.

The conference is supported by Vantage Hotels, The Meredith Birchfield Foundation, Operation Fetch, Starbucks Coffee and Team Oliver (UK, US).

Operation Fetch is a division of the Disaster Shelters Relief Foundation (DSRF) founded in 2006. DSRF has financed and built community centers and homes worldwide since its inception when it worked to assist survivors of the devastating earthquake in Sichuan, China that claimed thousands of lives.

Disaster Relief Shelter Foundation (DRSF) has expanded its mission. In addition to its registered focus and mission statement DRSF serves all survivors of disaster and trauma:

Disaster is defined as any extreme hardship be it physical, mental, economic, environmental or accidental.

Trauma is defined as extreme stress and/or threat to minimum quality of life brought on by socio-economic difficulties, psychological stress due to conditions like PTSD, weather related disasters, physical impairment related to accidents, criminal actions resulting in loss of property or mobility be they psychological or physical.

DSRF will expand shelter services to veterans and their families in the following ways:

Provide temporary and long term housing as deemed by DSRF to assist former servicemen and women and their families who do not immediately qualify for assistance from the Veterans Administration:

Homeless or impending homeless men and women veterans awaiting probable VA benefits
Homeless or impending homeless men and women and families who appear eligible for benefits and are rebuilding appeal cases with the VA. Tens of thousands of veterans who served prior to 1973 had records destroyed in a personnel center fire and need assistance while awaiting appeals adjudication.

DSRF will work to assist veterans and civilians with service dogs needed to mediate the stress of physical and emotional trauma suffered during wartime, peacetime, or as a result of disasters in their lives. There will be special focus on veterans as the VA currently does not provide or assist with service dogs for veterans with PTSD or other traumas not service related or not completely physical in nature. Veterans will receive first priority when DSRF allocates funds for service dogs.

DSRF will promote education and advocacy to schools, community organizations, government entities and businesses to help ensure unfettered access, in accordance with ADA regulations, for those in need of a service dog.

DSRF will grant small financial requests, through Operation Fetch, by dog handlers and service dog agencies in need of emergency funds to ensure handlers can reintegrate into society with a minimum of difficulty.

DSRF will assist us with our Planned Acts of Community Kindness as needed.

 

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Quarterly State of the Fetch and our Semi-Annual Fundraiser

 

FUNDRAISER:

  • Our current fundraiser is underway. We need your help.
  • Please go to our  Fetch Store
  • Each donation receives a Gander for Prez campaign Button…

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  • Our new book The Dao of Dog: Travels with Gander is available for pre-order…

dao of dog

  • Our New Wine is there too!

winery

  • About two dozen times including an all-expense paid trip to Colorado…
 Funds to be used for: Travel costs, educational brochures, PACKS (planned acts of community kindness), expo appearances, school appearances ( we do not charge), website hosting, store fees..

Biggest Needs:

–A new Booth for Expos ( Approx: $2,500)

–More educational handout material ($1,000)

–A new trailer ($14,000) This one will be outfitted for camping so we can reduce travel fees

–Printing of the new book, The Dao of Dog ($8000)

–New Vehicle downpayment ($5000)…Bettenhausen Jeep in Chicago has agreed to sell us a car at absolute cost

–Repairs to existing vehicle ($2500)…Heating and A/C, Underskirt, Interior repair
Our fundraisers generally net us between $2-3000. Our average trip costs about $900. That is why we schedule events from morning until night as we travel.

 

 Operation Fetch
 
A FEW highlights from the last three months. (Note “We” means OUR community):
  • We traveled to 17 states and met literally dozens of you.
  • We gave lectures to over two dozen service groups, business entities,schools and government agencies: Sons of the American Revolution, Rotary International, Pet Expos. Colorado Department of Corrections, Vantage Hotel Group, Peer Chain Incorporated, Elementary Schools in Colorado and Illinois, Chicago Youth Corrections and more….
  • We won 3500 pounds of food that benefit the Valor Program in Chicago. They train veterans in transition from homelessness, jail or psychiatric care to care for court case dogs to make them more adoptable.
  • We made 30 hospital visits to veterans and community members in civilian and VA hospitals.
  • We won the Patriot Pup contest and are in the running at the end of the year for $100,000!
  • We entered the AHA Hero Dog Awards. Vote for him and SSD Honza in the military category here: Hero Dogs
  • Gave over a dozen radio, TV, and news interviews: Westwood One, Overnight America, CBS, ABC Chicago, Fox Denver, Christian Science Monitor, Dogington Post and others,
  • We delivered hundreds of letters, cards and gifts to several veterans confined to nursing homes or who simply deserve a long awaited “Welcome Home” from an appreciate group of Americans.
  • Met with American Airlines senior staff to help resolve travel and access issues we had during travel with them. We have partnered with them and will help organize their annual Skyball and Snowball Express initiatives. We will serve on one development committee with Gary Sinese.
  • We counseled on the phone or over the internet over 50 individuals who were seeking service dogs. We connected them with agencies and continue to act as support for them during their wait.
  • Gander was named Oscar Mike’s Hero of the Month in December and his t-shirt (Gander for President) will aid their foundation that supports wounded warriors who compete in adaptive sports.
  • And more…

More Events and Activities:   

  • We are planning our Annual Service Dog Education and Awareness Conference for Denver Colorado in Late July. Presenters include Fortune 500  companies, Correctional facilitiy staffers from programs that train dogs, pet journalists, law enforcement, and lawmakers. More on the conference in 1-2 weeks.
  • Filed suit against Bass Pro Shops for continued negligence regarding service dog access. We have reached a tentative agreement, but Bass Pro has been slow to resolve the matter. Please visit their page on FB and ask them to expedite trading their staff.  BASS PRO SHOPS
  • In the final stages for The Dao of Dog: Travels with Gander. The book will be available for ebooks in 4-5 weeks and set for paperback launch in July! The Dao of Dog is a collections of heartwarming aphorisms and stories of lessons learned from the wise counsel of Gander Service Dog as we have traveled the country. It is available to pre-order here: Operation Fetch
  • Gander’s Choice Wine is bottled and ready to ship in a couple of weeks! Pre-order here: Gander’s Choice Wine

 

Plans/Goals for the Next Quarter:

  • Service Dog Education and Awareness Conference final announcements
  • Honor veteran suicide deaths in each city we visit with the playing of Taps and the reading of 24 names of those lost to home-front battles.
    Gander and I will travel and camp across America for two months beginning in April 
  • Build a vehicle fund. Our car now has 145,000 miles on it. We have done a lot of traveling in three years
  • Finish the ebook version of Fetch
  • Produce a line of treats and products to build sustainable income for the mission
  • Give 50-60 talks on Service Dogs and ADA access

 

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State of the Fetch

Recap and Thank You
 Thanks to everyone for an amazing year. We were privileged to be the conduits of amazing acts of kindness, education and advocacy. All of you, whether you simply “like” and shared a post or participated in one of our PACKs or chipped in on our requests made this happen. You get the credit, not Mark or G or Me…

 

Special thanks go to a few folks without whom we could not have done anything this year. They were our foundation:
Mark Racas, Jack Cochonour, Sherry Fencl Carroll, Jill Kammerzell, Ellen Sivers, Carol Loft, The Meredith Birchfield Foundation, Joe Saloom, Stel Pontikes, Kathie Pontikes, MaryAnn Helpern, Chalkie Davies, Robert Hill, Bonnie Nevins, Kathy Paulsen, Gilda and Werner Kaplan, Frankie Franks, Sharyl Norman, Jennifer Dantzler, Audie Marks, Team Oliver, Margaret Glenn, Nicole Totoni, Luther Oliver, Michele Hollow, St Mary Corwin, Mary Humbert Knight, Julie Irsch, Jim Poland, Mike Masin, Bob Desruisseaux, Prairie Fire Winery, Cathlin Parker,Alan Paul, Tim Martin, Kate Lee, George Lee, Hansa Coffee, Christina Weins,Candy Hernandez-Strickert, Bob Cozemius, Jon Grayson, Nikki Russ, Wendy Hosmer, Steve Hosmer, Jean Meade, Erin Beth, Kelli Dettor, Kevin Kane and Tom Maegdlin and all those I did not intend to exclude….
A FEW highlights from the year:
  • We became a 501C3 organization known as Operation Fetch. We work under the disaster Relief Shelters Foundation. Our board is international and is made up of experts in a number of fields: Law, Charity, IT, Education, Medicine…
  • We traveled to 36 states this year including Gander Rapids (Grand) Minnesota where we met Garrison Keillor. A magical event facilitated by Mary Corwin.
  • We have been able to facilitate planned acts of kindness (PACKs) for a number of people:
    • Helped provide adaptive equipment for a four-years old in Colorado who is paralyzed. You helped raise the funds for us to deliver a harness that allowed Cameron to feel the sensation of walking for the first time in his life.
    • Sent over 700 pounds of Ganders Choice coffee to troops deployed overseas, veteran homeless shelters, and VA hospitals
    • Helped land a $25,000 grant for Soldier On Service Dogs
    • Donated the same service dog group above, 100 pay-it-forward copies of our book so they could capture another $2500 grant.
    • We helped raise $1500 for a community member who just received her service dog.
    • Scored an autograph by Lt Dan for our own community Lt Dan, Norb.
    • Continued our connection to the Miriam School for Special Needs Children in St Louis through June. New staff changes have precluded us being more actively involved. Sent them pocket calendars and gifts for Christmas.
    • Attended the Lt Dan Weekend in Charleston, SC with Gary Sinese and the Independence Fund.
    • We raised $1600 for Jill in Utah, a wonderful lady with TBI induced mobility needs, to enable her to travel to Colorado to train with the dog gifted to her by Freedom Service Dogs. We also repaired her car and provided a gift certificate for pet supplies to start her out right.
    • We raised $2500 for Nepal to help our friends who manage Search and Rescue Dogs there. They have been providing search, first aid, and food assistance to those most in need in the most remote areas of their country.
    • Drove to West Virginia to deliver Lucas the cute doodle in training to a new training home. He is being trained for a member of our community. Gave lectures while there.
    • You provided funds to bridge the gap created by the growing VA backlog for a veteran living on a wintry Lake Michigan beach. We provided food and shelter until he could enter a long term recovery program at the VA. And we facilitated expediting benefits to which he was entitled.
    • You provided the funds for us to help a veteran’s disabled widow in Colorado who was left without any resources. And you enabled us to travel to help her understand and apply for VA benefits she did not know that she was qualified to receive. After six months of daunting delays, she received her award letter.
    • Helped a member in the southwest, laid off and in need of utility monies, who has been caring for a disabled veteran with severe health problems.
    • Sent a care package to deployed community member in Korea
    • Made a number of trips to various states to console and assist community members struck by personal tragedy.
    • Provided knitted wear made by community members to homeless veterans and veterans in transition.
    • Donated several months of dog food to Safe Humane Chicago from two contests won
    • Team members created three brochures for use at Pet Expos and presentations
    • Helped win a contest that earned several thousand dollars for a special needs school in Trinidad.

More Events and Activities:   

  • Presented to the Vantage Hotel Group in Las Vegas and used our free time there to visit PACK recipients in Arizona and Utah nearby.
  • Presented several lectures on behalf of Lovell Federal Health Care Center about dogs and PTSD.
  • Filed Department of Justice Complaints concerning problems at McDonalds and one looking for clarification of leash rules for handicapped handlers
  • Filed a lawsuit against Bass Pro Shops for repeated ADA violations.
  • Preparing a lawsuit against Simon Malls for repeated ADA violations
  • We were featured speakers at Blogpaws, the Pet bloggers conference in Nashville.
  • Met the Lt. Governor of Colorado while guests of the Avalanche and Rockpile Energy.
  • Honored with a special award from the world congress of poets as a featured poet for the Vietnam Veterans Homecoming Celebration.
  •  Featured in several books about service dogs and extraordinary canines
  • We were honored with the Rotary Humanitarian Patriot Award
  • We DID NOT meet the Pope 😉
  • We were given the first annual “Chesty” Award in Fayetteville Arkansas for “Service beyond human understanding”
  • We were honored by the Hanover Park, Illinois Village Board with a special plaque for our work for veterans.
  • Did exhibition work at over a dozen pet expos and animal events.
  • Assisted a national veteran’s charity with social media and PR advice for a national campaign
  • Gander honored as Oscar Mike Foundation as Hero of the Month for December 2015 and announced his candidacy for president.

    The shirts are available here: OSCAR MIKE

  • Taught classes and provided challenge coins to once homeless or in transition veterans in the VALOR program that successfully trains Chicago court dogs, mostly abuse victims, so they are more adoptable.
  • Facilitated the first ever national service dog education and awareness conference that drew participants from over 20 states and impacted first responders, handlers and service dog agency heads.
  • With the help of Lisa Hartman, and Rod Hartman-Stackhouse we had our conference opening day declared “Service Dog Education and Awareness Day” by several communities (Buffalo Grove leading the way) and by the Governor of Illinois.
  • Participated in over two dozen radio, TV and newspaper interviews to spread awareness about PTSD, Invisible Disabilities and Service Dog Awareness.
  • Assisted Starbucks Corporation in creating national training standards for employees regarding service dog access.
  • Working with American Air on improving access for veterans and others with disabilities
  • Acted as a resource for Vantage Hotels (America’s Best Value and others) when problems with service dog access came up in member hotels
  • Met dozens of people from this community during our 36 state of travel.
  • Connected 20 people with dog agencies that now have them slated to receive assistance dogs.
    • And more….

Plans/Goals for 2016:

  • Service Dog Education and Awareness Conference in June. Place and time TBA
  • Travel to remaining states
  • Honor veteran suicide deaths in each city we visit with the playing of Taps and the reading of 24 names of those lost to home-front battles
  • Provide three community members with needed service dogs. Disabled members who do not fall within normal guidelines for receipt of a dog from most agencies.
  • 100 school and business presentations.
  • 25 Pet Expos
  • Dozens of PACKs (Planned Acts of Community Kindness)
  • Run for AHA Hero Dog of the Year
  • Continue all of our usual activities like volunteering at VA hospitals
  • Apply for grants
  • Run in and win online contests that can bring in funds for us
  • Build sponsorship relationships
  • Two large fund raisers and two auctions are planned and several small campaigns are in the works (Valentine’s Day and such) by Team Members
  • Finish FETCH: Travels with Gander and a children’s book
  • Poppy Event that can be joined in on by members country wide
  • Create an emergency fund for our travel needs

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The 5th Love

“Nobody can fully understand the meaning of love unless
he’s owned a dog. A dog can show you more honest
affection with a flick of his tail than a man can
gather through a lifetime of handshakes.

Gene Hill – The Dog Man

Gander Dog

I just returned from a meal offered yearly to veterans every year by the kind folks at a local restaurant. I go less for the food than to see the 100 or so other vets there from every era from WWII to Afghanistan. In fact, I feel a little guilty about the free food and I donate the cost of the meal to a charitable cause.  I am especially grateful to the restaurant for making present and former service personnel feel valued and for bringing back a nostalgic spirit of comaraderie we all long for as we age.

There is a special love and respect that exists between those who served regardless of their country of origin or the job they performed. We are a sentimental lot looking for validation that our time in uniform meant something.  But, I digress…

A man in his sixties wearing a black ball cap with embroidered with replicas of  Vietnam service and campaign medals quietly approached my table and leaned over to stroke Gander. His eyes were swollen as he told me, without looking up, that he wished he could bring his dog with him on trips and into restaurants. “I have a Boxer. And since my wife died, that dog is everything to me.”

It as far from the first time Gander evoked powerful feelings and memories in people around him. Recently. there was a widow in a department store who said she wished that she could have a dog in her living facility. “It’s so lonely there.”

And then there was the 6’2″ thick muscled retired SEAL who, two weeks ago, barreled through the lobby of the complex where I live. He had been drinking and his face told me he was mentally far away and not happy about what he was finding there.

Gander uncharacteristically went against his training and headed straight for the man and leaned all 65 pounds against his shins. The tension drained from the SEAL’s face, his voice became scratchy as he gently stroked Gander and spoke with a powerful gentleness about his canine companion of 14 years and how  he had just freed from the pains of age and infirmity. He went on to talk about his fears of an upcoming trip overseas, the panic attacks he was having and how he now knew what invisible wounds and suffering were and wondered out loud why more victims didn’t kill themselves. And wished his “battle buddy” was still here to help him through this.

If Gander can do this with total stranger, imagine what he does for me. I am asked a dozen times a day what job Gander performs for me. I never know how to adequately answer. “He is my best friend”, “He saved my life” are a couple of my replies. More playfully I say: “He is a Bodhisattva here to guide me to compassion for myself and others”… But, truly? If I were Buddhist it would be easy to believe this dog was the newest incarnation for some wise Tibetan Lama.

I read The Four Loves by Christian thinker and writer, C.S. Lewis when I was in high school and it helped me make sense of the myriad feelings that relationships can conjure and kept me from confusing different types of connections. But after I had accumulated a few more experiences in my life, I came to believe that there might be other were types of love that Lewis and the Greeks didn’t codify.

Ancient Greeks had four names for love:

Storge:”It is described as the most natural, emotive, and widely diffused of loves: natural in that it is present without coercion; emotive because it is the result of fondness due to familiarity.”
Eros: Sexual love. The madness and fire that consume us and fell our ego boundaries.
Agape: Unconditional love for others. A spiritual mandate to be kind and charitable.
Philia: Friendship and the strong bond existing between people who share common interests or activities.
Most of us are confused about love and what is means to love someone or something. People who love their animals understand a special kind of affinity that is borne of fidelity not unlike that of soldiers who have relied on a comrade to carry them physically or emotionally through difficulty without the thought of reward. This love transcends Philia and is deeper felt and longer remembered than Storge. It is a love that knows it can never repay the other for what he has received. It is a love that knows fidelity is not required, as Lili Palmer once wrote, but that it is a mutual gift. And it is a love so powerful and positive that the receiver grieves the loss of the other, long before he has departed. And Marjorie Garber said, “If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.”

It has been a while now since Gander entered my life. Prior to that I was being tested by the VA for heart disease because my resting pulse was routinely above 110. It now averages 80. I sleep better. And I don’t reach for the phone in the car to quiet fears or shunt an overactive imagination because his muzzle is always resting on my shifting arm. And I don’t move him, just as you don’t wake a sleeping infant for the sense of peace he provides–something I have not known for a while.

I now call this kind of love The Fifth Love and I am still understanding it as I learn more about my new friend and earnestly work to improve the private communications we share, the ones that allow us to better care for each other.

When I was at my worst with panic attacks and night terrors I could not remember what it meant to be normal. After a few months with Gander, I remarked that I could not remember what life was like before him. And I don’t ever want to .

Here is to battle buddies past and present, their selfless sacrifices, and the fifth loves in their life they hold dear.

Listen to this story on mp3 here:

 

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Fetch: 1st Quarter 2015 Accomplishments

Dear Friends,

What a few months this has been. To say we were busy would be euphemistic. Thanks to this community we have been able to advocate, assist and educate in many places. A few of the more recent events:

We successfully joined forces with the Disaster Shelters Relief Foundation and are now 501C3 as Operation Fetch
We have given presentations in Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas, South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois and West Virginia among others. We have visited small community groups, schools, universities and fortune 500 companies across America.
We have been able to facilitate planned acts of kindness (PACKs) for a number of people:
Donated $1700 back to a service dod agency, via Facebook Ads, in a successful effort to win them a $25,000 grant
Donated the sane service dog group above, 100 pay-it-forward copies of our book so they could capture a $2500 grant.
We helped raise $1500 for a community member who just received her service dog.
We raised $1600 for Jill in Utah, a wonderful lady with TBI induced mobility needs, to enable her to travel to Colorado to train with the dig gifted to her by Freedom Service Dogs. We also replied her car and provided a gift certificate for pet supplies to start her out right.
We raised $2500 to help our friends who manage Search and Rescue Dogs in Nepal. They have been providing search, first aid, and food assistance to those most in need in the remotest areas of their country.
You provided funds to bridge the gap created by the VA backlog for a veteran living on the wintry Lake Michigan beach. We provided food and shelter until he could enter a long term recovery program at the VA. And we facilitated expediting benefits to which he was entitled.
You provided the funds for us to help a veteran’s disabled widow in Colorado who was left without any resources. And you enabled us to travel to help her understand and apply for VA benefits she did not know that she was qualified to receive. After six months of daunting delays, she received her award letter yesterday and will receive $720 a month.
We helped a community member in the southwest, laid off and in need of utility monies, who has been caring for a disabled veteran with severe health problems.
We were featured speakers at Blogpaws, the pet bloggers conference in Nashville.
We were honored with the Rotary Humanitarian Patriot Award this month
We were given the first annual “Chesty” Award in Fayetteville Arkansas for “Service beyond human understanding”
We were honored by the Hanover Park, Illinois Village Board with a special plaque for our work for veterans.
Assisted a national veteran’s charity with social media and PR advice for a national campaign
Taught classes and provided challenge coins to once homeless or in transition veterans in the VALOR program that successfully trains Chicago court dogs, mostly abuse victims, so they are more adoptable.
Facilitated the first ever national service dog education and awareness conference that drew participants from over 20 states and impacted first responders, handlers and service dog agency heads.
With the help of Lisa Hartman, and Rod Hartman-Stackhouse we had our conference opening day declared “Service Dog Education and Awareness Day” by several communities (Buffalo Grove leading the way) and by the Governor of Illinois. Next year we hope it becomes a national event.
Participated in over a dozen radio, TV and newspaper interviews to spread awareness about PTSD, Invisible Disabilities and Service Dog Awareness.
Assisted Starbucks Corporation in creating national training standards for employees regarding service dog access.
Met dozens of people from this community from 23 states during our most recent whirlwind tour of Midwest and Southern states.
Connected four people with dog agencies that now have them slated to receive assistance dogs.
And more….
UPDATES:

Indiegogo was slow in dispersing funds from our last campaign so we have been slower than usual in sending out perks from the campaign. They take 2-4 weeks to send out monies following a campaign and since we are a non-profit they send a check to our parent group HQ in Florida. Because it is in the form of a check it is held by our bank for 10 more days. We do not have the funds yet to store inventory so we send out as funds are received. We are working on ways to expedite the processes and create an inventory war chest to facilitate better delivery.
ALL packages left to mail will go out tomorrow at the latest.

FUTURE EVENTS/PLANS:

We are working with Amazing Pet Expos to create a nationwide tour that can be at least partially self-sustaining. I hope to meet with them to firm up particulars next week.

We are putting together a fund raising auction to be held online and in Denver, Colorado soon. We have some spectacular items to offer up. We have depleted all funds in our PACK and travel accounts, so this is sorely needed. If you have items you’d like to donate (tax deductible) please contact me.

We are looking hoping to effect Illinois legislation that will criminalize “fake” service dogs, service dog access refusal and create a voluntary registry that can benefit both businesses and handlers.

I will be posting a firm travel schedule soon.

Thank you for all you have done. Thank you for your generosity and kindness. It has impacted lives around the world.

I will be sending out more updates VERY soon.

Warmly,

Lon

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Service Dog Tee!

Unisex Service Dog Tee Shirt.

Made in Chicago with the highest quality American Apparel Cotton Tees.

Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery. Shirts are made to order…

Cost Includes shipping!

A portion of the proceeds from these items will go to assist with three Planned Acts of Community Kindness. Shipping is included in the price of all items:

(In lieu of purchases, you can donate directly to the PACK fund here by clicking on the donation button. Fetch is a 510c3 organization: http://www.operationfetch.com )

1. Wish fulfillment for a member of this community: We will send a man to the gravesite of his father, a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He has worked for years to locate him and only recently learned he was interred in Washington State a few months ago. His health has played a role in his not being able to travel. Though relatively young and health conscious (does not smoke, drink…) two strokes, and the sudden onset of congestion heart failure and the associated costs have hampered his efforts. Despite not having been in the military, he donates hundreds of hours of volunteer time to veterans causes. He is the one who wrote and recorded the song “Straight to You” for Gander. And he is one of the driving forces behind several tributes to veterans including a national “Veterans Memorial walk” in Wisconsin to honor veterans from around the country on a beautiful lakeside site donated by the city of Kenosha. I have donated my 20,000 air miles on American Air to fly him to the gravesite and rent him a vehicle. Unknown to him, we are contacting local veterans organizations to assist in a graveside flag ceremony in his father’s honor and will present him with a folded flag to memorialize his visit.

Total cost for this PACK: 5,000 air miles, transportation and lodging = $350

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2. One of the editors of our book, In Dogs We Trust, who is an original member of our community was laid off along with hundreds of other oil field workers, when gas prices fell. At the same time her longtime companion, a Marine veteran, fell ill with serious bone infections that have required round the clock care and surgery and surgery follow-up several trips to Denver, Colorado which has the nearest full service hospital. They live in rural Wyoming where they also care for horses horses that they intend to use, when back on their feet, to create a veterans therapeutic riding center. They are in need of short term emergency funds to protect their horses.

Total cost of this PACK: $1500 (The maximum we can support in this community)

 

Total Cost for this PACK: $500

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3. Any extra funds will go to our PACK fund.

 

Order here:

service tee

 

 

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Planned Acts of Community Kindness August

A portion of the proceeds from these items will go to assist with two Planned Acts of Community Kindness. Shipping is included in the price of all items:

(In lieu of purchases, you can donate directly to the PACK fund here by clicking on the donation button on the page sidebar or below. Fetch is a 510c3 organization:

1. Wish fulfillment for a member of this community: We will send a man to the gravesite of his father, a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He has worked for years to locate him and only recently learned he was interred in Washington State a few months ago. His health has played a role in his not being able to travel. Though relatively young and health conscious (does not smoke, drink…) two strokes, and the sudden onset of congestion heart failure and the associated costs have hampered his efforts. Despite not having been in the military, he donates hundreds of hours of volunteer time to veterans causes.  He is the one who wrote and recorded the song “Straightt to You” for Gander. And he is one of the driving forces behind several tributes to image

veterans including a national “Veterans Memorial walk” in Wisconsin to honor veterans from around the country on a beautiful lakeside site donated by the city of Kenosha. I have donated my 20,000 air miles on American Air to fly him to the gravesite and rent him a vehicle. Unknown to him, we are contacting local veterans organizations to assist in a graveside flag ceremony in his father’s honor and will present him with a folded flag to memorialize his visit.

Total cost for this PACK: 5,000 air miles, transportation and lodging = $350

2. One of the editors of our book, In Dogs We Trust, who is an original member of our community was laid off along with hundreds of other oil field workers, when gas prices fell. At the same time her longtime companion, a Marine veteran, fell ill with serious bone infections that have required round the clock care and surgery and surgery follow-up several trips to Denver, Colorado which has the nearest full service hospital. They live in rural Wyoming where they also care for horses horses that they intend to use, when back on their feet, to create a veterans therapeutic riding center. They are in need of short term emergency funds to protect their horses.n

Total cost of this PACK: $1500 (The maximum we can support in this community

Any extra funds will go to our PACK fund.

 

Visit our store here: http://fetch-gander-service-dog.myshopify.com/products/planned-acts-of-community-kindness-hats

 



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List of Service Dog Agencies

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These lists is for informational purposes.No endorsement of any one particular service dog organization is implied.

Service Dog Agencies by State

Agency Location Website
Handi-Dogs, Inc Tucson, AZ www.handi-dogs.org
Happy Tails Service Dogs Phoenix, AZ www.happytailsservicedogs.com
Leashes for Living Assistance Dog School Tonopah, AZ www.leashesforliving.com
Soldier’s Best Friend Glendale, AZ www.soldiersbestfriend.org/
Top DogSoldier On Service Dogs Tucson, AZFayetteville, AR www.topdogusa.orgwww.soldieronservicedogsinc.org
Alpha K9 Sacramento, CA www.alphak9.org/
Canine Angels Diamond Bar, CA www.canineangelsservicedogs.org
Canine Companions for Independence Santa Rosa, CA www.cci.org
Canine Support Teams Menifee,CA www.caninesupportteams.org
Discovery Dogs Roseville, CA www.discoverydogs.org
Gabby Jack Ranch Carmichael, CA www.gabbyjackranch.org/
Guide Dogs of the Desert Palm Springs, CA www.guidedogsofthedesert.org/
Homefront Dogs Carmichael, CA www.gabbyjackranch.org/
Hounds and Heroes Marina del Rey, CA www.houndsandheroes.com/
Operation Freedom Paws Gilroy/San Martin, CA http://operationfreedompaws.org/
Paws For Troops Sherman Oaks, CA www.pawsfortroops.com/
Paws’itive Teams San Diego, CA www.pawsteams.org
Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs Solana Beach, CA www.tenderlovingcanines.org
Canadian Service Dog Foundation Inc. Gloucester, Ontario www.servicedog.ca
Freedom Service Dogs Englewood, CO www.freedomservicedogs.org
Mountain High Service Dogs Palmer Lake, CO www.mtnhighservicedogs.com/home.html
Painted Paws For Veterans Canon City, CO www.paintedpawsforveterans.org
Semper K9 Assistance Dogs Washington DC www.semperk9.com
Awesome Greyhound Adoptions, Inc Boyton Beach, Fl www.awesomegreyhoundadoptions.org
Hounds 4 Heroes TB Tampa, FL www.h4htb.org
Partners for PatriotsPaws for Patriots Brooksville, FLPalmetto, FL www.k9partnersforpatriots.comwww.guidedogs.org
Paws for Veterans, Inc. Melbourne, FL www.pawsforveterans.com/
Service Dogs 4 Servicemen Fort Lauderdale, FL www.servicedogs4servicemen.com
Vets Helping Heroes Greenacres, FL www.vetshelpingheroes.org
Canine Assistants Milton, GA www.canineassistants.org
Hawaii FI-DO Kahuku, Oahu, HI www.hawaiifido.org
Puppy Jake Foundation Des Moines, IA www.puppyjakefoundation.org
Circle of Change – Veterans Dog Program Rockton, IL www.circle-of-change.org
This Able Veteran Carbondale, IL www.thisableveteran.org
War Dogs Making It Home Chicago, IL www.wardogsmakingithome.org
Northern Indiana Service Dogs Plymouth, IN www.icandog.org
Brothers and Sisters in Arms Fort Polk, LA www.brotherandsisterptsddogs.org/default.html
National Education for Assistance Dog Services West Boylston, MA www.neads.org
Operation Delta Dog Chelmsford, MA www.operationdeltadog.org
Service Dog Project Ipswich, MA www.servicedogproject.org
Fidos for Freedom Laurel, MD www.fidosforfreedom.org
Hero Dogs Brookeville,MD www.hero-dogs.org
Warrior Canine Connection Brookeland, MD www.warriorcanineconnection.org
Stiggy’s Dogs Howell, MI www.stiggysdogs.org
Helping Paws Hopkins, MN www.helpingpaws.org
Patriot Assistance Dogs Detroit Lakes, MN www.patriotassistancedogs.org
Petsloyal2vets Prior Lake, MN www.petsloyal2vets.org
American Service Dog Association Ellisville, MO www.americanservicedog.com
C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs Florissant, MO www.champdogs.org
Missouri Patriot Paws Rolla, MO www.mopatriotpaws.org
Support Dogs St. Louis, MO www.supportdogs.org
Retrieving Freedom, Inc. Senatobia, MS www.retrievingfreedom.org
Carolina Canines for Service Wilmington, NC www.caninesforservice.org
Patriot Rovers Inc High Point, NC www.patriotrovers.org
Domesti-PUPS Lincoln, NE www.domesti-pups.org
America’s Vet Dogs Smithtown, NY www.vetdogs.org
Paws of War (Guardians Of Rescue) Smithtown, NY (HQ) www.guardiansofrescue.org/banners-view/paws-of-war-32413
Puppies Behind Bars New York, NY www.puppiesbehindbars.com/home
Assistance Dogs of America, Inc. Swanton, OH www.abilitycenter.org/we-can-help/programs/assistance-dogs/
Circle Tail, Inc. Pleasant Plain, OH www.circletail.net
Dogs 4 Warriors Bowserton, OH www.dogs4warriors.org
The Battle Buddy Foundation Westchester, OH (HQ) www.tbbf.org
Wags 4 Warriors Brecksville, OH www.wags4warriors.org
High Plains Service Dogs and Therapeutic Ridding Center Association Norman, OK www.hpsdtrc.org/index.php/home
TheraPetics Service Dogs of Oklahoma Tulsa, OK www.therapetics.org
Battle Buddies of Central Oregon Bend, OR www.battlebuddiesco.org
Canine Assistance Partners Inc. Eugene OR www.canineassist.freeservers.com
Paws Assisting Veterans Cornelius, OR www.paveusa.org/
Canine Partners For Life Cochranville, PA www.k94life.org
Dog TAGS Program Mechanicsburg, PA www.dogtagsprogram.org/
Susquehanna Service Dogs/Keystone Human Services Harrisburg, PA www.keystonehumanservices.org
Fetching Freedom Spring Hill, TN www.fetchingfreedom.com
Patriot Paws Service Dogs Rockwall, TX www.patriotpaws.org/
Service Dog Express San Antonio, TX www.servicedogexpress.com
Texas Hearing and Service Dogs, Inc. Austin, TX www.servicedogs.org
Canines with a Cause (CWAC) Park City, UT www.canineswithacause.org
Companions For Heroes Fairfax Station, VA www.companionsforheroes.org
Saint Francis of Assisi Service Dogs Roanoke, VA www.saintfrancisdogs.org/index.html
Veterans Moving Forward, Inc. Catharpin, VA www.vetsfwd.org
Northwest Battle Buddies Battle Ground, WA www.northwestbattlebuddies.org
Prison Pet Partnership Program Gig Harbor, WA www.prisonpetpartnership.org/index.html
Shepards for Lost Sheep Colville, WA www.shepherdsforlostsheepinc.org
Sunshine Service Dogs, Inc. Luck, WI www.sunshineservicedogs.net

or download as a PDF:

SD Agencies STATE-2

 

Service Dog Agencies by Name (alphabetical order):

Agency Location Website
Alpha K9 Sacramento, CA www.alphak9.org/
America’s Vet Dogs Smithtown, NY www.vetdogs.org
American Service Dog Association Ellisville, MO www.americanservicedog.com
Assistance Dogs of America, Inc. Swanton, OH www.abilitycenter.org/we-can-help/programs/assistance-dogs/
Awesome Greyhound Adoptions, Inc Boyton Beach, Fl www.awesomegreyhoundadoptions.org
Battle Buddies of Central Oregon Bend, OR www.battlebuddiesco.org
Brothers and Sisters in Arms Fort Polk, LA www.brotherandsisterptsddogs.org/default.html
C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs Florissant, MO www.champdogs.org
Canadian Service Dog Foundation Inc. Gloucester, Ontario www.servicedog.ca
Canine Angels Diamond Bar, CA www.canineangelsservicedogs.org
Canine Assistance Partners Inc. Eugene OR www.canineassist.freeservers.com
Canine Assistants Milton, GA www.canineassistants.org
Canine Companions for Independence Santa Rosa, CA www.cci.org
Canine Partners For Life Cochranville, PA www.k94life.org
Canine Support Teams Menifee,CA www.caninesupportteams.org
Canines with a Cause (CWAC) Park City, UT www.canineswithacause.org
Carolina Canines for Service Wilmington, NC www.caninesforservice.org
Chicago Safe Humane Chicago,IL www.safehumanechicago.org
Circle of Change – Veterans Dog Program Rockton, IL www.circle-of-change.org
Circle Tail, Inc. Pleasant Plain, OH www.circletail.net
Companions For Heroes Fairfax Station, VA www.companionsforheroes.org
Discovery Dogs Roseville, CA www.discoverydogs.org
Dog TAGS Program Mechanicsburg, PA www.dogtagsprogram.org/
Dogs 4 Warriors Bowserton, OH www.dogs4warriors.org
Domesti-PUPS Lincoln, NE www.domesti-pups.org
Fetching Freedom Spring Hill, TN www.fetchingfreedom.com
Fidos for Freedom Laurel, MD www.fidosforfreedom.org
Freedom Service Dogs Englewood, CO www.freedomservicedogs.org
Gabby Jack Ranch Carmichael, CA www.gabbyjackranch.org/
Guide Dogs of the Desert Palm Springs, CA www.guidedogsofthedesert.org/
Handi-Dogs, Inc Tucson, AZ www.handi-dogs.org
Happy Tails Service Dogs Phoenix, AZ www.happytailsservicedogs.com
Hawaii FI-DO Kahuku, Oahu, HI www.hawaiifido.org
Helping Paws Hopkins, MN www.helpingpaws.org
Hero Dogs Brookeville,MD www.hero-dogs.org
High Plains Service Dogs and Therapeutic Ridding Center Association Norman, OK www.hpsdtrc.org/index.php/home
Homefront Dogs Carmichael, CA www.gabbyjackranch.org/
Hounds 4 Heroes TB Tampa, FL www.h4htb.org
Hounds and Heroes Marina del Rey, CA www.houndsandheroes.com/
Leashes for Living Assistance Dog School Tonopah, AZ www.leashesforliving.com
Missouri Patriot Paws Rolla, MO www.mopatriotpaws.org
Mountain High Service Dogs Palmer Lake, CO www.mtnhighservicedogs.com/home.html
National Education for Assistance Dog Services West Boylston, MA www.neads.org
Northern Indiana Service Dogs Plymouth, IN www.icandog.org
Northwest Battle Buddies Battle Ground, WA www.northwestbattlebuddies.org
Operation Delta Dog Chelmsford, MA www.operationdeltadog.org
Operation Freedom Paws Gilroy/San Martin, CA http://operationfreedompaws.org/
Painted Paws For Veterans Canon City, CO www.paintedpawsforveterans.org
Partners for Patriots Brooksville, FL www.k9partnersforpatriots.com
Patriot Assistance Dogs Detroit Lakes, MN www.patriotassistancedogs.org
Patriot Paws Service Dogs Rockwall, TX www.patriotpaws.org/
Patriot Rovers Inc High Point, NC www.patriotrovers.org
Paws Assisting VeteransPaws for Patriots Cornelius, ORPalmetto, FL www.paveusa.org/www.guidedogs.org 
Paws For Troops Sherman Oaks, CA www.pawsfortroops.com/
Paws for Veterans, Inc. Melbourne, FL www.pawsforveterans.com/
Paws of War (Guardians Of Rescue) Smithtown, NY (HQ) www.guardiansofrescue.org/banners-view/paws-of-war-32413
Paws’itive Teams San Diego, CA www.pawsteams.org
Petsloyal2vets Prior Lake, MN www.petsloyal2vets.org
Prison Pet Partnership Program Gig Harbor, WA www.prisonpetpartnership.org/index.html
Puppies Behind Bars New York, NY www.puppiesbehindbars.com/home
Puppy Jake Foundation Des Moines, IA www.puppyjakefoundation.org
Retrieving Freedom, Inc. Senatobia, MS www.retrievingfreedom.org
Saint Francis of Assisi Service Dogs Roanoke, VA www.saintfrancisdogs.org/index.html
Semper K9 Assistance Dogs Washington DC www.semperk9.com
Service Dog Express San Antonio, TX www.servicedogexpress.com
Service Dog Project Ipswich, MA www.servicedogproject.org
Service Dogs 4 Servicemen Fort Lauderdale, FL www.servicedogs4servicemen.com
Shepards for Lost Sheep Colville, WA www.shepherdsforlostsheepinc.org
Soldier’s Best FriendSoldier On Service Dogs Glendale, AZFayetteville, AR www.soldiersbestfriend.org/www.soldieronservicedogsinc.org
Stiggy’s Dogs Howell, MI www.stiggysdogs.org
Sunshine Service Dogs, Inc. Luck, WI www.sunshineservicedogs.net
Support Dogs St. Louis, MO www.supportdogs.org
Susquehanna Service Dogs/Keystone Human Services Harrisburg, PA www.keystonehumanservices.org
Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs Solana Beach, CA www.tenderlovingcanines.org
Texas Hearing and Service Dogs, Inc. Austin, TX www.servicedogs.org
The Battle Buddy Foundation Westchester, OH (HQ) www.tbbf.org
TheraPetics Service Dogs of Oklahoma Tulsa, OK www.therapetics.org
This Able Veteran Carbondale, IL www.thisableveteran.org
Top Dog Tucson, AZ www.topdogusa.org
Veterans Moving Forward, Inc. Catharpin, VA www.vetsfwd.org
Vets Helping Heroes Greenacres, FL www.vetshelpingheroes.org
Wags 4 Warriors Brecksville, OH www.wags4warriors.org
Warrior Canine Connection Brookeland, MD www.warriorcanineconnection.org

Download as a PDF

SD Agencies ALPHA

 

Thank you to Frankie Franks for all this hard work!

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Coffee for the Troops!

IMG_9785
Hansa Coffee Roasters in Libertyville, Illinois are sponsoring a campaign to send 1000 pounds of coffee to troops deployed in Afghanistan.
We have known them for about three years and their coffee is amazing. Those of you that have had Gander’s Choice know that is is premium coffee. It is roasted locally.
They have sponsored many events for us and profits from this one will benefit Gander’s Fetch Fund and the LZ-Grace Warriors Retreat. Both are 501c3 charities.
http://fetch-gander-service-dog.myshopify.com/…
If you would like to try it for yourself, please look through offerings on our store page. Coffee ships within 72 hours.

GanderCoffee1-1024x1024-1

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Service Dog Education and Awareness Conference

service dog conference

The first ever Service Dog Education and Awareness Conference will be held on June 5, and 6, 2015 Operation Fetch will hold a workshop for first responders, community leaders, business owners, community advocates and educators. The purpose of the event is to educate handlers, educators, hospitality workers, restauranteurs, police, fire and the public regarding laws, regulations and procedures concerning service dogs and their handlers.

With the Increasing need for service dogs to mediate visible and invisible disabilities, especially for returning military personnel with PTSD and trauma injuries, June 5th has been declared Service Dog Education and Awareness Day. And with daily media reports highlighting access issues and conflicts regarding disabled persons in need of animal assistance the conference will provide attendees with the information and skills necessary to act as ambassadors in their own communities. The goal is to bring about conflict resolution and an increased appreciation for the role of service dogs in mediating physical and psychological disabilities.

Attendees will learn to educate and advocate in their own businesses, towns or agencies for ADA compliance and conflict free access for people with visible and invisible disabilities.

To date, there is an impressive list of proposed speakers who will lend their time and considerable talent at the event to include:

Dr. Laurel Braitman: Dr. Braitman is a science historian, writer, and a TED Fellow. She is also an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Laurel has a PhD in the history of science from MIT and has written for a variety of publications. She is the author of Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves, which was published in June 2014 by Simon & Schuster.

Dr. Margaret Glenn: Dr. Glenn is the chair of the Department of Rehabilitation at the University of West Virginia. She also works closely with the prison training program at the federal facility in Morgantown West Virginia that trains canines for veterans with mobility and PTSD issues. She also works with agencies on access for service dogs in the workplace.

Briana Ore: Briana is the senior trainer for Freedom Service Dogs in Denver Colorado. She has worked for nearly a decade training assistance animals for people with physical and emotional difficulties.

Lon Hodge: Lon,”Veteran Traveler,” who resides in Chicago and Colorado is a former military officer and professor of psychology that works closely with the Disaster Shelters Relief Foundation and Operation Fetch. He and Gander, the AKC national hero service dog of the year, travel the country giving free seminars on service dog awareness, PTSD and ADA regulations while doing Planned Acts of Community Kindness (PACKS) with their social media community of some 400,000 followers.They have worked with businesses, police and fire and organizations small and large to create a barrier and stress free environment for service dog handlers and especially veterans and victims of trauma. He is the curator of and one of the featured writer in In Dogs We Trust, and anthology of America’s Best Dog Stories, 2104.

Lisa Hartman, MSW, CADC: Lisa is a social worker and substance abuse counselor with over 25 years of experience working in the mental health field. She has worked in a variety of settings from impatient treatment to public education. Lisa is committed to getting therapy dogs and service dogs to those who need them. Her volunteer work includes multiple crisis response networks, the Community Crisis Response Team and working with shelter dogs. She also volunteers as a trainer for the Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dogs. These dogs have worked closely with police and fire departments around the country to aid in disaster response. Currently Lisa is working to improve legislation in Illinois to support service dogs, their handlers and trainers as well as disaster response dogs.

Lynne Emerson: Lynn is a service dog advocate and educator in Boston, Massachusetts. She and a member of the Boston Fire Department will be on hand to teach first responders actual techniques and interventions required when transporting, arresting or assisting anyone with a service dog.

Jeff Deschenes, Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician: Jeff has been a career Firefighter/EMT for the past fifteen years. He is currently the EMS Education and Training Officer for the North Andover Fire Department in Massachusetts. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Science Administration from Salem State University. He is also a certified EMT Instructor Coordinator and State Practical Examiner through the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services. Jeff has been active in the field of Pre-Hospital Care for over twenty-four years in directly providing patient care. He sits on the following committees: Essex County Fire Chief’s Association EMS Division, Northeast Emergency Medical Services Pre-Hospital Care Committee and the Professional Firefighter’s of Massachusetts EMS Committee. He has been instrumental in assisting Lynne Emerson with the development of her Service Dogs & EMS Program. Jeff is also a member of the National Association of EMS Educators. He has been recognized in the past by the Greater Lawrence Exchange Club as Firefighter of the Year and the American Red Cross with the Lifesaving Award of Merit for the Professional Rescuer. Jeff resides in Haverhill, Massachusetts with his wife Kathy and is the father of two children, one being diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. He has first-hand experience with children with disabilities and realizes the importance of educating first responders in their responses to calls for those with special needs.

B. Jean Meade, DVM, MD, PhD: Dr. Meade is faculty at West Virginia University, researcher at the National Institute of Occupational Health and owner of Cheat Lake veterinary hospital. She also coordinates the Morgantown, Federal Correctional Institution’s canine training program that supplies dogs to wounded veterans after being trained by inmates at the prison.

Proclamation requests have been sent to several city officials. Buffalo Grove, Illinois has already proclaimed June 5th as “Service Dog Education and Awareness Day.” We will hold our conference in Buffalo Grove.

Some topics to be discussed by recognized authorities in research, training and access advocacy:

Types of Service Dogs and their training
Differences between Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals
Assistance Training Organizations and Support Resources
The Human Canine Connection and the healing power of assistance dogs
Workplace Access Issues
Efficacy of Service Dogs
The VA problem and ADA non compliance
ADA Laws and implementation
State Laws
Township Laws
Local and DOJ level complaint procedures
How to recognize and deal with real and “fake” service dogs and what to do to avoid litigation
First Responders: What to do in the case of an emergency when service dogs are involved
Conflict resolution for businesses and first responders
The service vest mills, how they exploit the laws and how to respond
Special considerations for veterans with PTSD service dogs
More TBA

Operation Fetch is a 501c3 Organization and a division of the Disaster Shelters Relief Foundation

CEUs for teachers and mental health professionals will be available. Participants may sign up for them at the door.

Conference Location: Wyndham Garden Hotel 900 W Lake Cook Road, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089

To register: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=vwgto8oab&oeidk=a07eatyexthe10e1419

Operation Fetch is a division of the Disaster Shelters Relief Foundation (DSRF) founded by Roland Catellier in 2006. DSRF has financed and built community centers and homes worldwide since its inception when it worked to assist survivors of the devastating earthquake in Sichuan, China that claimed thousands of lives.

Disaster Relief Shelter Foundation (DRSF) has expanded its mission. In addition to its registered focus and mission statement DRSF serves all survivors of disaster and trauma:

Disaster is defined as any extreme hardship be it physical, mental, economic, environmental or accidental.

Trauma is defined as extreme stress and/or threat to minimum quality of life brought on by socio-economic difficulties, psychological stress due to conditions like PTSD, weather related disasters, physical impairment related to accidents, criminal actions resulting in loss of property or mobility be they psychological or physical.

DSRF will expand shelter services to veterans and their families in the following ways:

Provide temporary and long term housing as deemed by DSRF to assist former servicemen and women and their families who do not immediately qualify for assistance from the Veterans Administration:

Homeless or impending homeless men and women veterans awaiting probable VA benefits.

Homeless or impending homeless men and women and families who appear eligible for benefits and are rebuilding appeal cases with the VA. Tens of thousands of veterans who served prior to 1973 had records destroyed in a personnel center fire and need assistance while awaiting appeals adjudication.

DSRF will work to assist veterans and civilians with service dogs needed to mediate the stress of physical and emotional trauma suffered during wartime, peacetime, or as a result of disasters in their lives. There will be special focus on veterans as the VA currently does not provide or assist with service dogs for veterans with PTSD or other traumas not service related or not completely physical in nature. Veterans will receive first priority when DSRF allocates funds for service dogs.

DSRF will promote education and advocacy to schools, community organizations, government entities and businesses to help ensure unfettered access, in accordance with ADA regulations, for those in need of a service dog.

DSRF will grant small financial requests, through Operation Fetch, by dog handlers and service dog agencies in need of emergency funds to ensure handlers can reintegrate into society with a minimum of difficulty

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Planned Acts of Community Kindness for those with Visible and Invisible Disabilities Through Service Dog Education and Awareness