Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chemo Dog

People say to sick people, "Let me know if there's anything I can do," and I know that sometimes this is just something we're programmed to say to be nice, but sometimes people are actually looking for things to do. I've started thinking of a few things that I do honestly need help with, and will post them here and let people volunteer if they're so inclined. This avoids the awkwardness of giving someone something to do to help (who maybe didn't really *want* anything to do -- and certainly no-one *needs* to do anything, this is my life, after all). It is also genuinely beneficial to me. Plus people can do as little or as much as they want, and different things fall to different skillsets. This first item is something that I know nothing about, regardless of how good or bad I happen to be feeling.

Thing #1: How do I get my dog registered as a Comfort Dog?

When I was in the hospital this last week, the staff mentioned that dogs are only allowed in to visit if they're comfort animals. These are dogs that essentially just go from room to room getting petted by those who wish a visit. I know that Kaia would be amazing at this and would love it (as would nearly all Greyhounds.) I would also personally benefit as I'd get to see my own dog.

How does this work? Could I do this with Kaia? What are the steps?

Related thing #2: How do I get my dog registered as a Service Animal?

When I was at CONvergence, a local Science Fiction Convention, I happened to walk by the 'con HQ and overheard this conversation:

"She needs to have this dog here with her," The man explained, pointing at the scruffy dog in the woman's arms. She was dressed as a Star Trek bridge officer. "She has diabetes," He continued. "This is her diabetes dog."

I walked past and sadly did not hear the rest of the conversation.

I remarked out loud at the time (mostly to myself) "Diabetes dog? If she gets to have a diabetes dog, then I get to have a chemo dog."

Past the fact that I can't imagine exactly what service a diabetes dog could render (other than barking at people who try to give her sugar) I'd need to come up with a good, plausible reason why I could have Kaia with me as often as possible that the state (or whoever) would accept. I missed her terribly this week and she is very calming for me at a very stressful time. Is a dog that is psychologically comforting allowed? She gets protective when I'm feeling poorly, but she can't exactly call 911 for me. What (honest and applicable) reason could I use, if any?) DIes it need to be a physical reason? If so, what reason could we come up with? 

As a bonus, we know that Kaia's used to wearing a tabard, anyhow. (See actual pic of Kaia, walking out to a race -- with Photoshop Modifications, of course).


Nykol said...

I can use my researching skills to find info on both of those things for you. I'll let you know what I find. Glad you're back at home. I'm sure Kaia is happy too.

Jodyth said...

Looks like the first step may be to pass the AKC's Canine Good Citizen test

When I looked up Service Dogs Minneapolis it pointed me to

Jodyth said...

There's a also a website called Minnesota Therapy Animals that may be useful

Emily said...

a diabetes dog (probably not the official term) would be able to alert the owner if her blood sugar was getting dangerously low. sort of like a seizure alert dog.

i wish i were local... it sounds like getting kaia registered is going to take some legwork.

Lemony said...

Hey Michael. I just saw your posting today, and am really appalled that your cancer is back. Know that it was ignorance, not "not knowing what to say" that has kept me from chiming in.

Okay, so I took the liberty of doing a little research and made a few calls. It sounds like, even if Kaia has an excellent obedience background, training to be a service/therapy dog is still a lengthy process. With that in mind, I looked into "visiting" dogs. It seems like accreditation is not required in the case of visiting dogs, but they do have to be invited by the facility in question, in this case Abbott. I have left a message at their Patient Representative office, and would hope to hear back from them tomorrow. I know that when I was a patient at Fairview Riverside my friend's dog was able to come up and visit me, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that something might be arranged. Not sure how it works if you're in a group area, though. I will post here, or message you on fb when I find something out. In the mean time, sending kick ass energy your way. I am nearby if you need some cleaning or shopping done. Please don't hesitate to call or message.

Lemony said...

Um, and holy moly, it looks like you might be able to just make your dog LOOK like a service dog and go from there. This online registry seems a little sketchy, but depending on how mellow Kaia is, perhaps you could get away with it? I know I would never waltz right up to someone with a service dog and ask them by whom and how they had certified their animal...

Anonymous said...

If Kaia can't come to the chemo maybe the chemo can come to kaia.

After a little snooping I ran across this article on the internet (therefore it must be true).

It's about chemo therapy in the patient's home. The nurse arrives, sets everything up, stays for the treatment (2 - 10 hours) or returns when treatment is complete in the case of a chemo pump (48 hours),cleans up the patient and hazardous materials and TaDa you're done...well now you have poison coursing through your veins that will kill the bad bits.

Call Dr. Grampa, the fact that you live alone and can't drive because of the drugs, plus the pre-existing stuff, could make you...and Kaia a perfect canidate. Remember to confirm with your insurance.

Apparently they started playing around with this idea in about 2001.

Good Luck.

Kevin said...

I love that picture. Chemo Dog is awesome.

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