Meet Luke and Ruff
I am so excited to introduce you all to Luke of Ruff (pronounced roof)!
Last year, when I began my search for service dog teams to include in my book, Luke and Ruff were the first to reach out, and I just about melted!
Check out this dodo video of them:
Luke has Downs syndrome. He can easily get scared, confused, or feel the need to run away. Not to fear, Ruff is there for him. Aside from Ruffs presence calming Luke, Ruffs vest also has a handle on it for Luke to hold on to, which helps him to stay close to mom in new and crowded places. He also inspires Luke to try new things. If Roof gets a taste of new food first, Luke is happy to take a bite too.
Ruff is an independence assistance service dog, also known as autism or downs syndrome dogs. Ruff was trained by Linda Donnelly with CCI dogs(Canine Companions For Independence). CCI dogs like Ruff are becoming more and more popular for kids with behavioral and cognitive disabilities. They help children in many ways, but also offer a priceless companionship.
I asked Luke's mom what the best thing about having Ruff was. She said, "Ruff has changed our lives as a family by making it easier for public outings. Less stress for all of us.
What a delight he has been!"
Luke and Ruffs page was one of the most fun to illustrate. Take a sneak peak at it here, and don't miss seeing them in "Our Service Dogs" coming to Amazon March 1st 2021.
Can you spot the celebrity cameo? it was an accident at first, but then it was just too funny to not include. Comment below if you see anyone familiar :)
Ruff was trained by Linda Donnelly with CCI dogs(Canine Companions For Independence).
Amber Diane Hill does not officially endorse or support CCI dogs training company. Please do your own research when choosing a trainer.
The official release of "Our Service Dogs" is March 1st 2021.
You can actually go on Amazon right now and order it for $10.35!!
Be one of the first people to read this amazing new children's book and let me know what you think!
7 Facts from ADA.gov about service dogs. These facts apply to the United States. Other countries have different terminology and laws. Click the button below to download the images to print or share to social media.
Leave a comment with any questions you may have about service dogs.
Meet Lindsay and Quigley
Meet Lindsay and her seeing eye dog Quigley. Although Lindsay had already graduated high school at the time I reached out to her about my book, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) at age 6 and got her service dog, Quigley, at age 17. Since then, this team has done some pretty amazing things. They have been on the cover of a magazine, given talks on mental health awareness and service dog etiquette, and attended many graduations where Quigley had his own cap and gown (high school, undergrad from Texas A&M and graduate school). I should also mention that Lindsay ran her first full marathon earlier this year!
Needless to say, Lindsay is unstoppable.
Seeing eye dogs are known for being some of the most disciplined of service dogs. The training they undergo is especially rigorous and only certain types of dogs are cut out for it. Seeing eye dogs like Quigley, need to be obedient but at the same time, have the ability to discern what is best for their handler even if it goes against what the handler is asking them to do. Quigley will lead Lindsay around a poll, or construction sites, but he will also ignore Lindsay's commands if they leave her in a dangerous situation. If Lindsay tries to walk forward, Quigley will stop if there is a car coming and will not let her go until it is safe.
It can be difficult for a blind person to feel independent. They are unable to drive, or even walk in unfamiliar places alone. Having a guide dog at their side gives them their independence back. Lindsay says that is her favorite thing about Quigley, that and “the fact that he’s really snuggly”.
“Quigley has been my partner in crime for eight years now and still going strong.”
Don't miss Lindsay and Quigley in "Our Service Dogs" paperback coming to amazon March 1st 2021.
Quigley was trained at The Seeing Eye
Amber Diane Hill does not officially endorse or support The Seeing Eye training company. Please do your own research when choosing a trainer.
Can I Pet Your Service Dog? How Do Service Dog Handlers Really Feel About this Question
Before our experience with Riley and the service dog world, I thought the general rule to service dogs was "ask before you pet". I think that is the common understanding. Yes, you should definitely ask before you pet someone's service dog, and be prepared for a "no". But should we even be asking to pet someone's service dog in the first place?
I posted a poll on my favorite service dog community Facebook group asking them how they feel about being approached with their service dog in the grocery store. Here are the results of 300 service dog handlers:
56% said they prefer to be completely ignored.
25% said that they did not mind being respectfully approached and asked questions, but did not want to be asked if their service dog could be pet.
13% said they enjoyed passing compliments but nothing more
4% said they liked being asked questions by disabled people who are considering a service dog.
2%, yes, just 2% said they like it when people ask to pet their service dog.
Now, keep in mind I only asked 300 of the roughly 80 million service dog handlers in America. But I think these numbers give the right message: Most service dog handlers don't want their service dogs to be pet, especially not while they are out running errands.
Here are some of the comments that were left on the poll that I think will help people to understand why they answered the way they did.
"I have a [traumatic brain injury] that makes it hard to remember and process things, and I'm blind. So if I'm trying to just get my shopping done, I really just want to be ignored. I know my dog is cute and is a good boy but he's just doing his job and I'm trying to run errands."
"I would love to be completely ignored, but if someone is to interact with us, I want them to ONLY talk to me, not my dog. she just started public access training and LOVES people, so it can be difficult..."
"It depends on my mood and what I need to get done. 99% of the time I want to be left alone but sometimes if I'm just out with no agenda, I don't mind when people ask questions."
The take away:
People with service dogs have them for a reason. Often that reason makes it hard for them to interact with strangers. So lets change the social norm and stop asking people if you can pet their service dog. Most owners are happy to answer respectful, sincere questions. If they are okay with you petting their service dog, they will most likely offer.
Download the files to print and share. Be sure to tag me if you share them on social media!
Meet Charley and Eevee
Charley calls Eevee her #magicdoodle because she saves her life and keeps her safe everyday.
Eevee is multi-task trained but her main tasks are alerting and responding to an upcoming seizure, bringing Charley her med bag, and performing deep pressure therapy (DPT) which helps her during a seizure.
Because of Charley's medical condition, she does not come out of seizures on her own, so getting the medicine to her quickly is really important. Eevee can sense a seizure before it even happens which allows Charley and nearby adults extra time to get what Charley needs.
Charley loves how soft and snuggly Eevee is. She says Eevee “eats her bad dreams”.
Charley’s mom says, “ My favorite thing about having Eevee for Charley is that it allows her to have an opportunity to be a kid. She has more freedom and safety with Eevee than she would on her own. Charley is a funny, kind hearted girl who loves her magic doodle.”
I loved getting to know Charley and Eevee while writing my book! Charley is so adorable and Eevee is one of the coolest looking dogs I've ever seen! I love her look!
I am always blown away by seizure alert and response dogs! When children have seizures, especially intense ones, like Charley does, parents often have to sleep with their kids to be sure they can make it on time if a seizure occurs. Service dogs often give parents the freedom of sleeping in their own bed, or with their partner again!
Not only does Eevee make sleeping easier, she also helps Charley experience life the way a kid should. Eevee goes to school with Charley and is able to alert teachers if a seizure is coming on. I think, beyond the medical assistance Eevee provides, there is an important emotional role Eevee plays as well. Waking up from a seizure can be disorienting and I'm sure, a bit lonely, so to have a loving, loyal companion who is always there would make a big difference.
For more information about seizure alert and response dogs read this great article from epilepsyfoundation.org it talks about who may benefit from these service dogs, how much they cost and the ongoing research regarding the efficiency of seizure alert and response dogs. Defiantly take a look if you are considering one for yourself or a loved one.
Well, I hope you all enjoyed getting to know these two a bit. I know I did, and I cannot wait to get to meet them over zoom in just a few weeks at my pre book-launch party!
Here is a sneak peek at Charley and Eevee in my upcoming book "Our Service Dogs"
Eevee was trained by Cyndy Smith with Michigan Service Dogs LLC
Amber Diane Hill does not officially endorse or support Michigan Service Dogs LLC or Cyndy Smith dog trainer. Please do your own research when choosing a trainer.