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Old 10-26-2012   #111
Rivertime, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 60
Good point. Rules should be different for commercial trips than for those for private-boaters because, errr, they pay money, tend to be larger groups and are out the their "element".

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Old 10-27-2012   #112
Buffalo, New York
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 109
My experience with therapy dogs

I have read some of these posts and I felt the need to share my experience with therapy dogs in wilderness settings, which has been somewhat, well, pretty much negative. I ran outdoor programs for a university a few years ago, when a girl came in and asked if she could sign up and bring her dog. When I said, "no, we don't allow pets," she claimed that it was a "service dog." I asked what service it performed and she told me that I wasn't allowed to ask her that because she was protected by the American's with disabilties Act. After some discussion with the program's coordinator, we decided to allow the dog to go. 6 1/2 hour van ride to summit Wheeler peak in Nevada, and many students complaining as the dog laid across three laps in the packed van and everything/one covered in hair, the dog nearly didn't make the summit, and as nice as the dog was, it was just a pain in the butt.

A few weeks passed and the girl came in again wanting to sign up for a Zion Narrows backpack with the dog. We told her absolutely not, it was not safe for the dog... She argued that she could sue the University if we did not allow the dog. At the time we had no idea what service the "service dog performed" but it was apparent that this girl was not mentally sound. After pleading our case to our recreation director, we apprehensively allowed the dog on the trip.

The dog nearly drown twice in the Narrows, no joke. The dog literally limped out of the canyon the second day with bleeding paws. It had swam rapids, chased a deer far beyond our group, upset everyone, left poop all over the canyon (although our agreement was that she would stay with the dog and clean up after it), and in the end we just felt terrible for this dog and animosity toward this client. The dog performed no service. On the bus ride back to camp, a stranger asked the girl what service her dog performed and her response, was that it helped her with her emotional problems. I was livid.

The next trip was Havasupai. She came in, I told her the trip was full (it wasn't). She told me that she planned to get her own permit and lower her dog on ropes below Mooney Falls. What the hell!

The point of my story agrees with many of the other buzzards when I say, "those who are mentally unsound, or even teetering on the edge of unsound, have no business in backcountry setting with animals." I have guided many trips on rivers for "at-risk" youth and have seen nothing but success. However those trips are highly structured, highly staffed by trained and caring individuals, and no doubt, just would not be the same on a private trip. Don't just leave the dog behind, leave the friend behind. Good Luck!

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Old 10-27-2012   #113
class 3 felon's Avatar
pine, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 175
"A" River Dog, not "The River Dog," she's not even a Black Lab!

We've all had or have the greatest dog out there, I see them on the river all the time. I take mine on almost every trip, unless we're day running big water or on permitted trips. The know the routine, love it and behave as well as a dog with me as an owner can.

But don't tell my dogs, I love being on a five day trip and not having to wonder what they're chasing, who they're begging from, and where they are when I wanna go to bed. Plus no dog food and extra room for gear. I miss em, but it's better on the group and the Black Bastards get plenty of river time.

"Therapy Dog" PLEASE , they're all therapy dogs

Full Moon. Beers Cold
I gotta go walk my dogs
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Old 10-29-2012   #114
boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 298
AMV: You have encountered a gray area with regard to ""therapy"" dogs. No one can claim that your dog is not a therapy dog. And in your tale of woe it seems like the word 'service' and 'therapy' are used interchangeably. You are allowed to restrict the use of a 'therapy' or 'service' dog for a few reasons.

10. Q: What if a service animal barks or growls at other people, or otherwise acts out of control? I sress the out of control part here.

A: You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

11. Q: Can I exclude an animal that doesn't really seem dangerous but is disruptive to my business?

A: There may be a few circumstances when a public accommodation is not required to accommodate a service animal--that is, when doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the business.

If you have further questions about service animals or other requirements of the ADA, you may call the U.S. Department of Justice's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301

In this setting it would have seemed prudent to not allow her to bring her dog due to the dangerous nature of the trip. Please do not allow one idiots poor judgement to taint your impression of all 'therapy', or 'service' dogs.

May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
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