Guest Post: fake service dogs

For working dog month at Embrace, Dr Riggs, talks about the impact of fake service dogs and their impact on true service dogs, plus how you can help do something about it.


Service dogs change people’s lives. That is a fact. There are dogs that detect seizures in epileptics before they happen, dogs that are seeing eyes, dogs able to tell glucose levels in diabetics, and dogs that help people with mundane tasks that we all take for granted.

Service dogs can be true lifesavers. There are many great organizations that train dogs to be service dogs. I have been fortunate to be involved with a wonderful organization, Canine Companions for Independence, for almost 20 years now.

Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, Canine Companions is the largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs, and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. The result is a life full of increased independence and loving companionship.

I have seen so many lives changed in so many ways by these wonderful dogs. These dogs go through extensive training from the time they are born right up to 2 years of age when they are presented to their companion person, which we call graduates.

These dogs know 35 commands. These are very well trained companions. They go everywhere with the graduate. The store, restaurants, sporting events, work, on planes, trains and automobiles. The graduate and their dog companions are a team. The dogs are trained to perform their duties and remain calm and quiet and not to disrupt anyone around them. In fact, if you see a service dog with its working vest on, do not attempt to come up and pet him/her without the graduate’s permission, because they are working, they are not pets.

Unfortunately, a cottage industry in service dog fraud has sprung up and you can find a number of internet websites willing to sell service dog’s vests along with “identification papers” to anyone willing to pay them. These fake vests are causing a lot of inconvenience and hassle to the legitimate service dogs and their companions. People then use them fake vests to take their dogs into public areas where other pets are not allowed.  Untrained dogs can cause all sorts of problems that make some business owners deny access to real service dogs and the graduate. Denying a service dog’s access to a public place is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Corey Hudson, CEO of Canine Companions for Independence, is spearheading a letter writing campaign to the Department of Justice to stop the sale of these fake vests. If you believe service dog vests should only be for true service dogs, please go to the website cci.org/stopfraud to send a letter yourself.

Remember…. “Some angels have wings…others have tails”.

Related Posts

October is Working Dogs and Cats Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: fake service dogs
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney and Laura Bennett talk about the wonder of working dogs and cats
Helping Working Dogs and Cats
One Dog's Passing Highlights the Benefits of Therapy Dogs in Schools

Other posts by Dr Riggs

Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.



October is Working Dogs and Cats Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

This month, we are celebrating working dogs and cats of all types at Embrace Pet Insurance.

And before you ask, yes, there are cats that do "work". Apart from cleaning up the rodents on the premises (which your cat may or may not have a talent for), some cats are quite good at being therapy cats, whether in a hospital, nursing home, or in your own home.

Having said that, dogs pull a lot of weight when it comes to work. There are police dogs that work actively in the field plus sniff out drugs, bombs, fruit and other banned substances, and of course, criminals. There are cadaver dogs, seizure or blood-sugar alert dogs, mold-sniffing dogs, and even cancer-sniffing dogs? And of course, dogs and cats that work on the farm or in the field hunting or dragging a sled in the Iditarod.

So we shall have an interesting month being amazed at all the things that cats and dogs do for us apart from being excellent companions.

Another use for Dell Server boxes - hidey hole! Another use for Dell Server boxes - hidey hole! Another use for Dell Server boxes - hidey hole!Dogs and cats at the Embrace offices. (RIP Bruiser, the wonderful gentlemanly mastiff in the middle there. He just passed away from cancer aged 11. We miss you big guy)

Related Posts

October is Working Dogs and Cats Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: fake service dogs
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney and Laura Bennett talk about the wonder of working dogs and cats
Helping Working Dogs and Cats
One Dog's Passing Highlights the Benefits of Therapy Dogs in Schools



Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney and Laura Bennett talk pet insurance

Laura May 2013This time, the tables are turned and Dr Patrick Mahaney asks me, Laura Bennett, CEO of Embrace Pet Insurance (EPI), questions on the topic of pet insurance. It is after all, Pet Health Insurance Month.

Questions covered are:

  • What is the (estimated) number or percentage of pet owners in the U.S. who have insurance for their pets?
  • What are EPI’s top canine and feline health claims?
  • What are the main reasons pet owners give for establishing health insurance for their cats and dogs?
  • Why should a pet owner get pet insurance?
  • Does the typical pet owner keep their pet on Embrace's insurance throughout the pet's life?
  • Does EPI cover any pre-existing conditions?
  • Does EPI cover complementary and alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, and so on?

Click on the link below for the podcast.

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney pet insurance 2013

Related Posts

September is Pet Health Insurance Month Across North America
Guest Post: Veterinary Perspective on Pet Insurance
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney and Laura Bennett talk pet insurance

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney


Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis atVeterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. 

Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2013 through Havenhurst Books

 



Guest Post: Veterinary Perspective on Pet Insurance

In Pet Health Insurance Month, Dr Riggs weighs in with his veterinary perspective on pet insurance.


If you talk to a number of vets about pet insurance, you will get many different opinions. There are many vets, like myself who have researched and done my due diligence, and see it as a win/win/win situation for the client, the vet, and most importantly the pet.

Some vets think pet insurance is evil, and the industry is trying to control veterinary medicine and tell us how to practice medicine, as it has human insurance.

Then you have the third group…"there’s pet insurance???"

It is true the early pet insurance companies were not very good. I initially had bad experiences with pet insurance myself.  This is where the newer pet insurance companies started to pop up, and thrive.  The newer companies, such as Embrace, have looked at Sweden, United Kingdom, and other parts of the world to see how to develop a new model.  In the United Kingdom, it is estimated around 25% of pet owners have pet insurance as opposed to the United States , where less than 1% have pet insurance.  The newer companies, have great customer service, quick claim payments, and almost nothing for the vet to fill out.  They truly have learned from others' past mistakes.

I think a lot of “older vets” got a bad taste for pet insurance because they had that same bad initial experience I did. The early pet insurance companies often denied claims, had bulky forms vets had to fill out and crummy customer service. That became a reflection on the vet, because they recommended it. It simply was not worth the effort.

In addition, some vets equate pet insurance to our human health insurance. I don’t need to tell anyone how messed up our healthcare system is. Some are concerned that it will become managed care and the insuraners will dictate how the vets would practice. There is a lot of fear and misunderstanding about pet insurance and veterinarians.

Pet Insurance is Indemnity insurance. It is not managed care. I compare pet insurance to car insurance. You pay the insurance company to protect yourself from some unseen problem. This prevents you from having to pay a large sum of your own money. Pet insurance is the same way, the policy holder pays a small monthly amount and if your dog eats someone underwear, or whatever, then you are protected from the high cost of the surgery. You hope you never need to use insurance but it is there, in case you need it and it takes away the problem of not having enough money to be able to treat your pet, which is a very difficult situation, for the vet, when you know you can help an animal and the people can’t afford it.

Managed care is not the intent of pet insurance nor the vets. Vets would not, and could not, allow that to happen. The number of people required to process human health insurance issues, would be cost prohibitive for vets. Payment to physicians can take up to 6 months and when they arrive, the reimbursement is a fraction of the charges. With pet insurance the client pays the vet at time of service as usual and then gets reimbursed by the insurance company.

Finally, veterinarians only benefit from pet insurance by allowing clients to be able to pay for what is needed for the pet. THERE ARE NO KICK BACKS.

Related Posts

September is Pet Health Insurance Month across North America
Guest Post: Veterinary Perspective on Pet Insurance

Other posts by Dr Riggs

Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.



September is Pet Health Insurance Month across North America

Wow, it's Pet Health Insurance Month in the US and Canada - spread the word! This month, we are going to talk about the benefits of pet insurance, what to look for in a policy and what you can expect from Embrace Pet Insurance.

In the meantime, do you have any questions you want answered on the topic of pet insurance?





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