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Newfoundlands as Service and Assistance Dogs

Articles

Service Dog Primer by Jan Boggio

Buddy: Daily Making a Difference by Dick Shumer VN Ch. Whisperbay's Tejas Compadre, CD, WRD, DD, Assistance Dog 30SL3299-AOHSD, better known as Buddy, is my second set of legs. I have a disability resulting from severe back injuries and use a cane to walk most of the time. In assistance dog terms, Buddy is known as a "walker" dog. Read More

Assistance Dog's Work is no "Child's Play" by Cathi Catlett While at the breeder's house, I observed all of the puppies in different situations and settings, then chose a very patient male to begin training as my Assistance Dog. Read More

Newfoundland Intelligence and Adaptability
(A Short Biography of a Newfoundland)
by Paula Bartak Reprinted from Newf Tide 1978

 

clover and robert

Robert Bidwell and Clover
(photo by Suzi Bidwell)

cloverrobert 2
Robert Bidwell with Clover and Salty
(photo by Suzi Bidwell)

Robert is paraplegic and uses a motorized scooter for mobility. He is still very active and attends dog events and dog shows with me. Suzi says that they train all their Newfs to pick up any dropped objects on command from the time they are puppies. Clover, (VN CH Martingrove's Sea of Clover, CD, TDD, WRD, Delta Dog), just happened to bond with Robert, and won't leave the house or anywhere without making sure he is with her. If he happens to fall out of his chair (which he does occasionally trying to reach for something) she alerts me, and he uses her to try to brace himself and get back in the chair. She has had no formal training past what it takes to achieve a VN, which of course is substantial. When we are in public places she seems to instinctively know to be perfectly well behaved.
It is so sad that Clover is now almost 11 years old and is beginning to show lameness in a front leg and also has had a grade 2 mast cell tumor removed. In spite of those geriatric problems she is doing pretty well and, except for sleeping longer hours, still checks on Robert when she is awake. Her grandaughter, Salty, who is 3, shows promise to take Clover's place in the future as a service dog, but I know that Clover will always be Robert's heart dog. - by Suzi Bidwell

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Resources on Service Dogs

Assistance Dogs International
The three different types of Assistance (Service) Dogs are defined:
-Guide dogs for the visually impaired
-Hearing dogs for the deaf/hearing impaired
-Service dogs for disabilities other than visual or hearing

adi logo

Information about training an Assistance (Service) Dog that includes a state-by-state list of programs that will test, certify, and provide official identification for the dog and the disabled (whether owner-trained, use of a professional trainer and/or program-trained) stating that:
-The person has a disability
-Their dog is individually trained to perform tasks to assist them with their disability
-This team has appropriate skills and behaviors to function out in different types of public situations and settings

It also has a copy of the Public Access Test, which is the bare minimum that the programs listed above use to test both the dog and their handler.

Delta Society

This website gives their own version of just about the same information as the Assistance Dogs International website, but also includes a list of Service Dog Access Specialists who can be contacted if there is a problem regarding public access, laws regarding access to different venues, etc.

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