All Press Releases for April 13, 2015

Service Dog Education and Awareness Day National Conference to be held in Chicagoland

Buffalo Grove, Illinois has proclaimed June 5 "Service Dog Education and Awareness Day" and a national conference will be held June 5 and 6 will be held there. Chicago resident and AKC Service Dog of the Year Gander will act as national ambassadog.

The country's first Service Dog Education and Assistance workshop will celebrate the human-canine bond, improve access for all handlers and truly "welcome home" veterans in need of canine helper dogs

    BUFFALO GROVE, IL, April 13, 2015 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The first ever Service Dog Education and Awareness Conference will be held on June 5, and 6, 2015. Operation Fetch will hold a workshop for first responders, community leaders, business owners, community advocates and educators. The purpose of the event is to educate handlers, educators, hospitality workers, restauranteurs, police, fire and the public regarding laws, regulations and procedures concerning service dogs and their handlers.

With the increasing need for service dogs to mediate visible and invisible disabilities, especially for returning military personnel with PTSD and trauma injuries, June 5th has been declared Service Dog Education and Awareness Day. And with daily media reports highlighting access issues and conflicts regarding disabled persons in need of animal assistance the conference will provide attendees with the information and skills necessary to act as ambassadors in their own communities. The goal is to bring about conflict resolution and an increased appreciation for the role of service dogs in mediating physical and psychological disabilities.

Attendees will learn to educate and advocate in their own businesses, towns or agencies for ADA compliance and conflict free access for people with visible and invisible disabilities.

To date, there is an impressive list of proposed speakers who will lend their time and considerable talent at the event to include:

Dr. Laurel Braitman: Dr. Braitman is a science historian, writer, and a TED Fellow. She is also an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Laurel has a PhD in the history of science from MIT and has written for a variety of publications. She is the author of Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves, which was published in June 2014 by Simon & Schuster.

Dr. Margaret Glenn: Dr. Glenn is the chair of the Department of Rehabilitation at the University of West Virginia. She also works closely with the prison training program at the federal facility in Morgantown West Virginia that trains canines for veterans with mobility and PTSD issues. She also works with agencies on access for service dogs in the workplace.

Briana Ore: Briana is the senior trainer for Freedom Service Dogs in Denver Colorado. She has worked for nearly a decade training assistance animals for people with physical and emotional difficulties.

Lon Hodge: Lon,"Veteran Traveler," who resides in Chicago and Colorado is a former military officer and professor of psychology that works closely with the Disaster Shelters Relief Foundation and Operation Fetch. He and Gander, the AKC national hero service dog of the year, travel the country giving free seminars on service dog awareness, PTSD and ADA regulations while doing Planned Acts of Community Kindness (PACKS) with their social media community of some 400,000 followers.They have worked with businesses, police and fire and organizations small and large to create a barrier and stress free environment for service dog handlers and especially veterans and victims of trauma. He is the curator of and one of the featured writer in In Dogs We Trust, and anthology of America's Best Dog Stories, 2104.

Lisa Hartman, MSW, CADC: Lisa is a social worker and substance abuse counselor with over 25 years of experience working in the mental health field. She has worked in a variety of settings from impatient treatment to public education. Lisa is committed to getting therapy dogs and service dogs to those who need them. Her volunteer work includes multiple crisis response networks, the Community Crisis Response Team and working with shelter dogs. She also volunteers as a trainer for the Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dogs. These dogs have worked closely with police and fire departments around the country to aid in disaster response. Currently Lisa is working to improve legislation in Illinois to support service dogs, their handlers and trainers as well as disaster response dogs.

Lynne Emerson: Lynn is a service dog advocate and educator in Boston, Massachusetts. She and a member of the Andover Fire Department will be on hand to teach first responders actual techniques and interventions required when transporting, arresting or assisting anyone with a service dog.

Jeff Deschenes, Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician: Jeff has been a career Firefighter/EMT for the past fifteen years. He is currently the EMS Education and Training Officer for the North Andover Fire Department in Massachusetts. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Science Administration from Salem State University. He is also a certified EMT Instructor Coordinator and State Practical Examiner through the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services. Jeff has been active in the field of Pre-Hospital Care for over twenty-four years in directly providing patient care. He sits on the following committees: Essex County Fire Chief's Association EMS Division, Northeast Emergency Medical Services Pre-Hospital Care Committee and the Professional Firefighter's of Massachusetts EMS Committee. He has been instrumental in assisting Lynne Emerson with the development of her Service Dogs & EMS Program. Jeff is also a member of the National Association of EMS Educators. He has been recognized in the past by the Greater Lawrence Exchange Club as Firefighter of the Year and the American Red Cross with the Lifesaving Award of Merit for the Professional Rescuer. Jeff resides in Haverhill, Massachusetts with his wife Kathy and is the father of two children, one being diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. He has first-hand experience with children with disabilities and realizes the importance of educating first responders in their responses to calls for those with special needs.

B. Jean Meade, DVM, MD, PhD: Dr. Meade is faculty at West Virginia University, researcher at the National Institute of Occupational Health and owner of Cheat Lake veterinary hospital. She also coordinates the Morgantown, Federal Correctional Institution's canine training program that supplies dogs to wounded veterans after being trained by inmates at the prison.

Proclamation requests have been sent to several city officials. Buffalo Grove, Illinois has already proclaimed June 5th as "Service Dog Education and Awareness Day." We will hold our conference in Buffalo Grove.

Some topics to be discussed by recognized authorities in research, training and access advocacy:

Types of Service Dogs and their training
Differences between Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals
Assistance Training Organizations and Support Resources
The Human Canine Connection and the healing power of assistance dogs
Workplace Access Issues
Efficacy of Service Dogs
The VA problem and ADA non compliance
ADA Laws and implementation
State Laws
Township Laws
Local and DOJ level complaint procedures
How to recognize and deal with real and "fake" service dogs and what to do to avoid litigation
First Responders: What to do in the case of an emergency when service dogs are involved
Conflict resolution for businesses and first responders
The service vest mills, how they exploit the laws and how to respond
Special considerations for veterans with PTSD service dogs
More TBA

Operation Fetch is a 501c3 Organization and a division of the Disaster Shelters Relief Foundation

CEUs for teachers and mental health professionals will be available. Participants may sign up for them at the door.

Conference Location: Wyndham Garden Hotel 900 W Lake Cook Road, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089

To register:

Operation Fetch is a division of the Disaster Shelters Relief Foundation (DSRF) founded by Roland Catellier in 2006. DSRF has financed and built community centers and homes worldwide since its inception when it worked to assist survivors of the devastating earthquake in Sichuan, China that claimed thousands of lives.

Disaster Relief Shelter Foundation (DRSF) has expanded its mission. In addition to its registered focus and mission statement DRSF serves all survivors of disaster and trauma:

Disaster is defined as any extreme hardship be it physical, mental, economic, environmental or accidental.

Trauma is defined as extreme stress and/or threat to minimum quality of life brought on by socio-economic difficulties, psychological stress due to conditions like PTSD, weather related disasters, physical impairment related to accidents, criminal actions resulting in loss of property or mobility be they psychological or physical.

DSRF will expand shelter services to veterans and their families in the following ways:

Provide temporary and long term housing as deemed by DSRF to assist former servicemen and women and their families who do not immediately qualify for assistance from the Veterans Administration:

Homeless or impending homeless men and women veterans awaiting probable VA benefits.

Homeless or impending homeless men and women and families who appear eligible for benefits and are rebuilding appeal cases with the VA. Tens of thousands of veterans who served prior to 1973 had records destroyed in a personnel center fire and need assistance while awaiting appeals adjudication.

DSRF will work to assist veterans and civilians with service dogs needed to mediate the stress of physical and emotional trauma suffered during wartime, peacetime, or as a result of disasters in their lives. There will be special focus on veterans as the VA currently does not provide or assist with service dogs for veterans with PTSD or other traumas not service related or not completely physical in nature. Veterans will receive first priority when DSRF allocates funds for service dogs.

DSRF will promote education and advocacy to schools, community organizations, government entities and businesses to help ensure unfettered access, in accordance with ADA regulations, for those in need of a service dog.

DSRF will grant small financial requests, through Operation Fetch, by dog handlers and service dog agencies in need of emergency funds to ensure handlers can reintegrate into society with a minimum of difficulty.

# # #

Contact Information

Lon Hodge
Operation Fetch
Chicago, IL
Voice: 847-924-3514
E-Mail: Email Us Here
Website: Visit Our Website
Blog: Visit Our Blog
Follow Us: