Do any of you use pets as helpers?

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Yukon Mike
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   Posted 1/9/2011 2:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I have had hunting dogs for many years now, and besides training them to retrieve birds I have always found them useful around the house and yard too. The dog I have now is 5 and I specifically trained her to pick up anything I point to which is very helpful some days. Its just a big game to her and she will pick up my socks, fetch me the cordless phone, a pen, or anything I want. Some days I can split firewood but picking it up is trouble. As soon as she hears the axe fall she gets up and comes over wagging her tail. Carrying a bit of split wood is one of her favorite things. I just stand by the wood stove and tell her to bring me sticks from the garage, no bending over.

What about you guys?


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   Posted 1/9/2011 2:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Wow, Mike! That is a great idea. I love dogs, but I never thought of having them help me. I don't have any dogs at the moment. I do have four cats...two inside, two outside. The outside cats stay in garage when it is cold outside.

I was just talking to my husband this evening that if/when I ever get to retire, I would like to adopt a mutt. I want one I can handle. LOL I love golden Labs, but they are too difficult for me to walk, etc. I thought maybe a smaller dog might be best for me. I guess if they are trained well, it wouldn't matter that much...???

I love the idea of your pet helping you, and it sounds like your pup enjoys it too. Was it hard to train him/her to retrieve items?

Great post!

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   Posted 1/9/2011 11:54 AM (GMT -6)   
I think it's a great idea that you've taught your dog to help out, some dogs
take to doing things better than others, so giving a dog a tasks or some work is
good for them, dogs need something to do too...If I could have a dog I would
want a spitz, but I'm highly allergic to dogs.
A working dog can be very good for people with disabilities, blind people use them
as well....
Great posts, thanks
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...


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   Posted 1/9/2011 2:55 PM (GMT -6)   
I think that its awesome that you have taught your dog to help out. I have a Brittany Spaniel and Golden Retriever that are great company to me. They are full of entertainment no doubt but they are not what I would call a working dog, more the other way around, meaning spolied rotten to the bone. But, we have made them that way and they serve their purpose with us just fine. If either get their mouths on something they should not have like a shoe they head straight to their kennel with it and hide it in the back. Then I have to take the grabber and fish it out. The Britt is a full blown thief, he waits for my husband to get up out of his chair and runs over and gets the tv remote and then high tails it to his kennel. He will also grab his shoes and do the same if they are left laying around. This goes on every day and it has become a game to him. I have to laugh because my husband knows what this little guy will do if given the chance. Even when he was a small puppy he would hide stuff under the pillow in his bed. I would find all sorts of stuff under that pillow and he really worked hard getting the stuff too.
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   Posted 1/9/2011 6:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Tucker, my 9 year old lab, also fetches things for me.  If I drop the phone or the remote he will bring them to me.  He knows about ten items by name.  He will also pick things up if I point to them-provided he can figure out which one I want.
He will also stand so I can use him as leverage to stand if I make the mistake of sitting down on  the floor.

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   Posted 1/9/2011 9:32 PM (GMT -6)   
My dogs aren't trained as service animals, but they are some of the best medicine for me. I have 3 golden retrievers -- ages 7, 6, and 2 -- and they are my world. They have such huge hearts and such compassion. It's is amazing how can they can sense our feelings and help make us feel better, and all that they ask is for love in return. They have so much to teach us. I would be absolutely lost without my dogs. My two year old in particular has helped me though some of the roughest periods of my life. I owe him everything.


Yukon Mike
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   Posted 1/10/2011 12:09 AM (GMT -6)   
We had another lab that died this past May a month away from being 15. She and I had some really big adventures together back in the old days when I was young and strong and so was she. She sure taught me a lot about aging gracefully. Many days when I was feeling like crap I'd look at that lumpy, stinky, stiff, scarred up old pooch and get all choked up. They really are good buddies aren't they? For me, it was tougher to watch her get old and lose her confidence physically than pass away. No parallel to my own situation there! Her hearing went about the same time we got the pup and I trained the pup to go find the old dog on command. That way we could still take the old girl out for walks and even hunting grouse a bit in the fall, and even though she couldn't hear us calling her, the pup would race over, bump her and run back to me for a treat. The old dog would respond by shuffling over to me for a treat, and by so doing stay closer. In the winter we'd put a headlamp around her neck to be able to see where she was in the dark. I swear the secret to her long life was daily walks. "Motion is lotion" is what the physio guys tell us right?


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   Posted 1/10/2011 6:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Thats so cool Mike ! I have two cats but they can't do any chores , but they keep me company and are very sweet and nice to have around . Dogs are different though and it sounds like you've got a great friendship with yours . Awesome ! Mikel
HIV+. meds - epzicom, Kaletra . oxycontin as needed , indothemiacin . hip replacement surgery done !!! Saw the surgeon and I'm really healing great ! Been in physical therapy for almost 2 months now and I can walk pretty well , only going up and down stairs is still a little tough so one step at a time , but that's because of my knee not my hip , but I can walk again , no cane , just me !!

Pete trips again!
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   Posted 1/10/2011 8:06 AM (GMT -6)   
I like this post, Thanks Mike! Oh yea, I have some pets although I would'nt call them service animals, they help me keep my sanity every day!
First and formost there is Rose (the wonderhound) she came to us as a very small pupy that was totally bitten up and crippled by two German Shepard police dogs that that were playing catch w/ her and lived next to the barm my wife was boarding her horse at the time. I told my wife for 25 years "No dog untill we have room for it to run, be home alone all day and not be on a leash all the time!" But I just couldn't resist this terified, parralized and bleeding little pup who had wandered into the wrong yard. Her owners who had a big littler of her brothers & sisters wanted no part of her and said just let her die! We couldn't do that so off to the vet and $700. later the vet said she may not make it through the night and she may never walk again! Now at 5+y/o she is just fine except for some hernias on her belly from the puncture wounds and is part of the family and queen of the rest of our pets> 2 horses, 2 Quaker parots and one one y/o+ kitty w/ half a tail named Princess Papuchkahanna or Hanna for short! We love all of them so much! Rose is in her glory now and helps a lot w/ her horses Lily the 20 y/o mare & Big El, a 10 y/o Tenn. Walker. Rose is w/ me every minute I'm outside helping me w/ my chores! Rose's mother was a full bread cocker spainiel and her father was some kind of coon hound! She is about 30lbs (large lap dog) w/ short very shiny black fur w/ a white chest w/ blue spots. Everyone who sees her thinks she is a Lab puppy as she still has a baby face and EVERYONE who sees her falls in love w/ her!!!! She was truely sent to us as a guardian angel at just the right time!!!
Well, gotta go! I'll write more about the "others" who all have their own personallities! WHAT WOULD I DO W/O THEM???????????????????????
Peace, Love & Big Hugz!!!
When I was young & stupid I broke almost every bone in my body and I'm paying a heavy price now but I'm still here and so glad to see my two sons grow up to be fine young men, both are in the Navy. I'm so proud! My biggest health problem>> I'm a certified Luny~Tune!!

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Date Joined Jan 2011
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   Posted 1/10/2011 8:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much, Mike, for all the wonderful ideas! I know down the road I had wanted to get another dog again, probably a shephard, but I hadn't thought about the potential for training it to help me out. I know with my Mom, who has a degenerative spinal colum issue my father and I have long talked about filing for her to get a service dog specifically once she gets her chair; right now because I live with my family my son is her service pet.

I myelf have a couple cats, and a horse. My cats, being very affectionate, actually do help. Frequently if I am sitting on the couch one of them will come sit on my lap, and I am able to rest my arm along their warm fuzzy sides; at least in the winter this is a great comfort to me. Sometimes just being able to rest my arm on them helps, and the sensation of purring is a great comfort.

My horse is physical therapy. My last horse, rest her soul, was a dear friend, and in the early stages of my inury she kept me sane. She also kept me safe. It was easier to fight the depression of the pain and the meds when I could have someone saddle my horse and go ride for awhile. One day thought I had so much fun I started to laugh, which triggered a vertigo spell. Bout dumped myself off the back of my horse, which woulda been a first. However, Sierra Rose felt me losing my balance and came to a complete halt, waiting. When I got my balance back she slowly walked all the way back to the barn. It wasn't the first time she'd stopped for me so I could get my balance, and it wasn't the last. She was always careful with me. I had even gotten her trained so I rode more with my body weight and verbal cues, plus she was trained to neck rein anyway so I really never had to use my bad arm. The day after Thanksgiving though her health caught up to her and I had to put her down. I'm hoping with a little time the new boy in my life will be just as wonderful as Sierra was, and just as good at keeping me safe and taking care of me. Life without a horse... well, I just can't imagine it. It gives me something positive to work through my pain for, and something emotionally helpful too.
Originally injured 10/26/2007 - Initial diagnosis; Tendonitis
Spent next year seeing specialist after specialist; Bone, Muscle, Hand, Chriopractor, Physical Therapist...
Went through a battery of tests, multiple MRI's
11/16/09 I was finally diagnosed CRPS - Stage 2
Permanently disabled and on Percoset for pain.
Hoping 2011 will see my spinal cord stimulator unit finally implanted.

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   Posted 1/16/2011 10:47 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm training a 3 year old Labrador Pointing Retriever to be my service dog. I've years of experience training and working dogs, but I've never trained any breed of dog to perform tasks it wasn't bred for.
How do I train her to retrieve something that's not fowl or her toys? And, yep... She's a Labrador Pointing Retriever. One generation removed from an international Champion kennel in Colorado. You should see her U point.
I've had a Lab before... when this country gal could walk the fields to hunt.

"Life by the inch is a cinch; by the mile, not worthwhile."

Post Edited (ServiceDogOwner) : 1/16/2011 10:00:10 PM (GMT-7)

Monty's Mom
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   Posted 1/18/2011 5:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for starting this thread. I have 2 dogs, one golden retriever named Achilles and boston terrier pug mix named Monty. They are a comedy act and entertain me everyday. They both serve very special needs in my life. Achilles does pick up some things for me when asked to fetch, but not as many as I would like. Monty has a knack for knowing when I am feeling faint and stays by my side like glue. This lets Achilles know something is up and if he isn't already following me, which is rare, he high-tails it over and walks with me. Many times I have fainted only to find them both beside me, one on each side, and Achilles is always ready to let me use him as leverage to get off the floor. Monty is around 30 lbs but is still my lovey lapdog! He sits on my feet while I work on school.
The best part of both of my boys is that when we walk outside, they are trained to stay beside me no matter the pace. On my slowest days they stay beside me and do not pull. It is rare that they pull me, but as I saw in the snow it can happen! If I stop on our walk, they come to a halt as well which helps greatly. Who wants to walk a dog that pulls so hard your arm feels like it is being yanked out of its socket?
Great topic!

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Date Joined Jan 2011
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   Posted 1/18/2011 11:14 AM (GMT -6)   
What I will take form the relief of "Chronic pain"

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   Posted 1/18/2011 2:22 PM (GMT -6)   
That is wonderful that you have taught your dogs to help you. I have 3 dogs, Oliver age 3, an australian terrier, japanese chin mix, 18 pounds, he's a riot, and great for comic relief and a pretty good cuddler. Oscar age 2, a lab/rott mix, 120-130 pounds, he's a VERY BIG boy, he's a great cuddler and loves giving affection. Then there is the baby, Gavin age 6 months, an italian greyhound, he's a ham, very cuddly, and thinks he can fly, always leaping from the couch. Having fur babies really helps keep the stress down, and their unconditional love in the form of kisses and cuddles is great when you're in pain or having a bad time.

The little guys aren't helpful with getting things for me, but Oscar does help me get up from sitting on the floor, if on the odd occasion I do. They pets are very in tune with how I'm feeling.
I would love to teach them all to help me more around the house, but I'm not really sure how to go about doing it, or at least how to consistently do it.

That is fantastic that you have a little furry helper around the house.
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(Mahatma Gandhi)

*Scoliosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Spinal Stenosis, Osteoarthritis, Loss of Lordosis, Endometriosis, Kerataconus, Flast back syndrome, TMJ, loss of bladder func. indwelling cath. for 6 months.*
*20 surgeries- 8 spinal including 6 fusions and 2 for staph infections, 9 pelvic including full hysterectomy, 1 knee, 2 cesareans*

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   Posted 1/18/2011 3:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Can I join in? I would love to have that type of dog who could fetch things for me.
But I would not trade my Lexi for anything. she is a 5 year old cock-a-poo that I can't even teach to give me paw!!! LOL, but she is always at my side and especially if I'm in a flare or in bed she is right there. Her constant companionship and unconditional love, well...I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!! Sometimes I just look at her and am so happy that she loves loving me no matter what!!

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   Posted 1/18/2011 5:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Any dog can contain the gift of helping us. For example, my "Baby", promise not to laugh... but shes a miniture maltese is self taught to tell us off any anything medical.
Ie: Diabetes, she runs around barking and we have her trained to "show me" and she will take you to where the coma person is

Ie: Dad who is in bad health does not belong cleaning gutters on roof, Baby knows and tattletails on him

Ie: Appendix, she licks, she checks on the sick one, she runs in another room and back checks on the sick onne, runs to get help again and keeps it up til we get up and do what she wants
Ie: Allergic reactions-- I say "Got get mommy" and she actually goes and gets my mother LOL
Don't Care Bout Nuffin No More, Guess I shouldnt even be in this world

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   Posted 1/25/2011 1:10 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't have any service animals but I have quite a crew of pets who make great companions and make me laugh every day. I have three cats, all of whom are in tune to when I'm in pain or not feeling well. They tend to stick close when I'm like that. They pile around me when its bedtime, too.

I also have two rabbits and my buck just loves to hop his merry way through the house and get me to chase him. He seems to know when to stop and just let me catch him if I'm getting too tuckered out for his little game. My doe just likes to be quiet and sweet.

Even if the pets aren't service animals, they can be aid animals in that they can really alleviate depression and loneliness. Two of my cats are hitting age 10, so I'm getting to where I'm hoping they'll be the kind of cats who last an impossibly long time.
Chronic back and neck pain - car accident, degenerative disc disease, chronic kidney stones, uninsured.

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Date Joined Aug 2010
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   Posted 1/25/2011 8:18 PM (GMT -6)   
No, I could never get my cats to help out like that, and I don't have any dogs. But my 3 year old daughter is my little helper. If she's around, and I drop something on the floor, or need something that's down low, she's always happy to help me out :) She can be a pain in my butt sometimes, like all 3 year olds can, but she can be a real sweetie as well.
Scoliosis fusion w/rods (92); herniated disc (96); partial removal of rods (97); microdiscectomy (97); sudden inc. in pain (08); tried various non-pharm treatments and take the following: baclofen, Nucynta, topomax, tramadol, welbutrin, ativan, ritilin. Considering a fourth surgery extending existing fusion to sacrum.
I design jewelry to distract myself from the pain:

Pearl D
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Date Joined Jan 2011
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   Posted 1/26/2011 4:54 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't have any service animals but live with 9 kitties who all keep me humble. I've been having chronic pain the last few years ... arthritis mostly. My kitties are what get me out of bed in the morning and keep going. Without them I'd probably just curl up in the bed and not move.

Arthritis - left hip, both knees and left shoulder/gluten sensitivity. Currently on Robaxin, Vicodin, OTC anti-inflammatorys.
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