The Beginnings

Learning about Psychiatric Service Dogs

(to learn more about service dogs, and more specifically the tasks psychiatric service dogs can do, please go to the service dog page and it will have a more detailed explanation)

I first started learning about service dogs as a teen.  I babysat for a mother who was blind, and then slowly through out my teens I started hearing about stories of all kinds of different dogs doing amazing things for their owners and I really wanted one of these “special” dogs.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I came across a magazine article in the Open magazine that I realized that dogs can be trained to help people with mental health issues.  The article was about K9-Helpers, a unique non-profit organization that trains dog specifically for each individual needing a service dog.  That’s when the spark happened.  But I didn’t do much about it, although I did keep the magazine to remind me what I was after.

It wasn’t until I was walking through the mall that I saw a display and Sue Alexander, (the head trainer) with her service dog and the deminstration of how a dog can aid someone with anxiety issues.  I signed up to be a volunteer, and now I help them out when I am able.  I was very eager, and still am eager to learn as much as I can about service dogs.

And now here I am about a year or so later, working towards my own service dog! WOOHOO!  I am very excited about this opportunity to help myself out! :)

Under Construction!!!

Right now I am going about this site trying to figure out how to best make if flow, and to put a lot of the resources down, one to help myself, but also so others have information to go through.  I am still doing things on my own like reading books, and dog walking and doing a few other things to prepare myself.

Please let me know if there is anything you’d like to see here, as I am always open for feedback, and I am learning as I go!!


Posted by on June 16, 2009 in K9 Helpers


Excitement about PUPPIES


I don’t have much time at the moment to share with you, but I thought this video about all the lost puppies would give you a laugh!

Chow for Now

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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Perfect Puppy

As I have been thinking about my puppy shopping in the next two weeks I have been wondering to myself, “What EXACTLY makes the PERFECT puppy for me?”  So I did what any information junkie does – I searched the world wide web of information.  And to my delight I found some advice that made me giggle.  Veggie Tales and of course the great cucumber named Larry!


Now obviously, the video is a very silly song about choosing a puppy and doesn’t get into the complexities of choosing the right puppy.  In this case, I cannot just go with my gut feeling, or let the dog choose me because there are many criteria which would make a great service dog candidate! I have already narrowed down what breed I am interested in having, and I have already chosen to look at two breeders.  I’m not going to get into why I chose these breeders or what to look for in a breeder as there are so many sites out there that explain that. I am however, going to explain part of the process of what to look for in a puppy that would be perfect for my needs.

There are a variety of tests in which we are going to put the puppies through to see what their traits are.  It is important that I don’t just blindly choose a puppy and hope that it will turn out to be a service dog because not all dogs are suited as service dogs, and not all potential service dogs are meant for the same kind of work!

So, as usual, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what I want and need in a service dog.  My needs have changed since I was working with Widget so I think it’s important for me to explain what EXACTLY I’m looking for in a dog.


  • must be able to keep up with my energy some days i’m like the energizer bunny and other days I have no energy at all. Having a dog that is happy and able to do both would be great!
  • must love to be rewarded by both food and touch.  I prefer having a dog that will sit next to me on the ground touching me or leaning into me.
  • I need a dog that is ok with crowds as the buses are extremely busy
  • a dog that is persistent
  • i’d like the dog to alert to my anxiety attacks before they happen
  • in the event that i do have an anxiety attack or a ptsd attack i’d like the dog to be able to ground me andalso lick me until i’m able to respond
  • a dog that is good with cats
  • a dog that enjoys their work
  • a dog that doesn’t mind loud noises
  • a dog that can alert me to migraines
  • a dog that is good with routine, but doesn’t mind if it’s changed
  • a dog that can alert me to my dissociating
  • a dog that isn’t overly friendly with new people, but not protective either
  • a dog that loves learning new things


I have run out of steam at the moment, so this is the list that I have at the moment.  It will more than likely change as I add stuff to the list.


Chow for Now


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FINALLY!!! The Service Dog Journey Begins AGAIN!

I’ve been very quiet for many years as Widget the dog who was to be placed with me went back to his breeder and K9 Helpers has folded. I was looking into fundraising for my own dog for many years and then went to National Service Dogs to see if I’d be accepted into their program. After about 9 months of initial contact with them I have found out that I am NOT accepted into their program. So what does a person do when they have over 600 hours of dog training/handing experience and a dog training friend that understands the need of a service dog? You go to them of course!

So my friend is helping me pick out a puppy THIS coming Friday, as Well as March 1st. So we’re puppy shopping. I’m going to leave out her name for now, until I get her permission to post her business and her name here.

So now I am back looking at puppy names – the names I looked up previous aren’t really relevant to me anymore and I’m looking into new names. I’m stuck on Phoenix, however, my partners spiritual name is Phoenix and it would be weird having a dog with the same name – although I am looking to other translations and thinking of using that! :) I just love the mythology of the phoenix and how it can grow out of fire and destruction!

So for now I will leave you with that for now.

Chow For Now


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Dog Names

I’m starting from scratch again with dog names and getting a service dog.  I’m pondering dog names.  I’m really big into the meaning of words and names, and I want a fun name that is easy to say and very deep.  I’m playing around with the Freedom.  Now that word in english is kinda boring for a dog name, however, it gets more interesting when you go to google translate and look it up in other languages!  Here are some of the names that go with freedom:

askatasuna – I’d call him or her “Aska” for short (Basque)

sloboda – I’d call him or her “Boda” for short (Croatian)

vabadus – (Estonian)

kalayaan – I’d probably change the spelling a bit, Kalaya, Laya, Kalayan (Filipino)

libète – or Libby, Ebby, (Haitian Creole)

I also just came up with Rainbow Dash, which is from my little pony, and means Loyalty.  She’s much more than that, but Dash, or Dasher could be a cool name :)  I’ll keep thinking of things that help me to be free, and I’ll add more later :)

Chow for now

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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


When is Widget Moving In?

I have had many people over the last year ask me when Widget will be moving in permanently with me.  I have been waiting for inspiration and motivation to post the right words to say.  Ever since I started working with Widget there was always  the chance that he and I wouldn’t be suited for whatever reason.  K9 Helpers, has always included the clients in the beginning stages of the training and started off slowly, and slowly integrating the dog with the hander.  This is one of the many reasons I love this organization.

I have always considered myself a volunteer with the chance of Widget becoming my service dog.  There are so many variables which disqualifies a dog, or even the handler for that matter.  I always said, that if things went according to plan that Widget will move in with me in April.

I FINALLY have an update regarding Widget and I.  As much as I adored that dog, and worked with him, he was a lot of dog, meaning he had a very high prey drive.  He took a great deal of concentration for me to work with.  He has taught me so much, however, he is not the dog for me.  He is not going to be my service dog.

He is now living an amazing life for a dog, back with his breeder in Ohio.

I am sure you are all wondering how I am doing with this sudden change.  And to be honest, I am doing ok, and to my surprise I am relieved that I am not going to be partnered with him.  If I was, I would do my best to make it work out, but it would’ve been extremely difficult.

I will be working with another dog or puppy in the next year (I am estimating).  And now I have more skills to put toward another dog, and one that might not be so hard for me to work with.  As I said, Widget has helped me a great deal.  I have been able to learn so much with working and playing with him.  I am sorry that so much time and money has gone into him but at this point, I cannot focus on that.

So where do I go from here?  i take some breathing room from dog training, and I focus myself on other areas.  I am jumping into a few hobbies of mine, and just waiting patiently until I hear what is going to happen.  A few friends that have service dogs have offered me to help work their dogs. Just basic stuff, like working on a few of their hand signals, and basic obedience brush ups.  I am more than willing to help with that :)  So, that’s what I’m doing.

So just a recap.  Widget is not moving in, but I am relieved because we weren’t the best match and I will be getting another dog to be my service dog in training in the future.

Chow for now


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Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety.

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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Anxiety


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