Salute to America’s VetDogs and Tips on Etiquette for Encounters with Service and Assistance Dogs

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America's VetDogs

I’d like to start featuring the many pawsome animal-related causes and nonprofit organizations out there. Since Daisy’s papa is an Army veteran, I thought it would be fitting to begin by shining the spotlight on America’s VetDogs. In addition to learning about their wonderful programs, I also found some very important information we all should know, about the proper way for humans to behave when encountering an assistance dog.

America’s VetDogs uses guide dogs, service dogs, and state-of-the-art technology to help disabled veterans live better lives. Not only does a VetDog provide assistance with daily activities, the dog provides the motivation to conquer new challenges: people focus on the dog, not the disability. And with a VetDog by his or her side, a veteran is never alone!

VetDogs trains and provides assistance dogs for veterans who are blind or visually impaired and those with disabilities other than blindness. Their organization trains physical, occupational, and emotional therapy dogs to work with wounded soldiers and active duty personnel. For a dog to become a VetDog, it must meet strict health, safety, and training standards. Each dog is also trained and matched for the specific needs of the individual veteran being paired with the dog. Read more about VetDog’s Programs and how you can support them.


Etiquette and Assistance Dogs

Assistance dogs perform vital tasks for their human partner. They are guide dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired and service dogs for those with disabilities other than blindness. They provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship.

These dogs are specially bred and trained for these important jobs. There are several guidelines people must follow when in the presence of a guide or service dog to allow for the safety of the dog and its handler. Disregarding these guidelines can distract the dog, which can create a dangerous situation for the team.

  • Don’t touch, talk, feed or otherwise distract the dog while he is wearing his harness or service vest.
  • Do allow the dog to concentrate and perform for the safety of his handler. 
  • Don’t treat the dog as a pet.
  • Do give it the respect of a working dog. 
  • Don’t give the dog commands.
  • Do allow the handler to do so. 
  • Don’t try to take control in situations unfamiliar to the dog or handler.
  • Do assist the handler upon her request. 
  • Don’t walk on the dog’s left side as it may become distracted or confused.
  • Do walk on the handler’s right side. For someone who is blind, you should be several paces behind. 
  • Don’t attempt to grab or steer the person while his guide dog is guiding him or attempt to hold the dog’s harness.
  • Do ask if the handler needs your assistance and, if so, offer your left arm. 
  • Don’t give the dog people food.
  • Do respect the handler’s wishes. 
  • Don’t tease or abuse the dog.
  • Do allow it to rest undisturbed. 
  • Don’t allow pets to challenge or intimidate an assistance dog.
  • Do allow them to meet on neutral ground when all parties can be carefully supervised. 
  • Don’t allow the dog on your furniture or in areas of the home where the handler doesn’t want it to go.
  • Do ask the handler to correct any misbehavior or trespassing. 
  • Don’t let the dog out of the house unsupervised. It is a very valuable animal!
  • Don’t pat the dog on the head.
  • Do stroke the dog on the shoulder area but only with its handler’s approval.

For more Resources and Information regarding Assistance Dogs, Access Laws, and Materials for Students and Teachers, Visit VetDogs here.

Veteran’s Day 2011 – Deals, Discounts & Freebies for Military Veterans

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Patriotic Sawyer the Wander Dog

Sawyer the Wander Dog By uschi1306 (used with permission)

Daisy’s papa is a veteran, so we feel an extra special appreciation and gratitude each Veteran’s Day. It’s great to see so many companies and brands thanking Veterans for their service with Free Meals, Discounts and other Deals this year! Many of the Military Mamas & Papas are blogging complete lists and updating them daily, but here are a few of the National Veteran’s Day Deals I thought you should know about:

The Olive Garden, Free entrée. Offer good for veterans and active duty military, on Friday, November 11th during regular business hours. Chose from a special menu; all entrées include freshly baked garlic sticks and choice of soup or salad. Offer good in US and Canada, proof of service required.  More info.
Golden Corral – Free meal, Monday Nov. 14: The 10th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation dinner will be held on Monday, November 14, 2011 from 5 pm to 9 pm in all Golden Corral Restaurants nationwide. The free “thank you” dinner is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Monday dinner. For more information visit
Chili’s – Free meal, Friday, Nov. 11. Chili’s is offering all military veterans past and present their choice of one of 6 meals. This offer is available from 11am – 5pm on November 11, 2011 at participating Chili’s in the U.S. only. Dine-in from limited menu only; beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service. Visit their website to find locations.
Applebee’s – Free meal, Friday, Nov. 11: Last year, Applebee’s served 1,024,000 million free meals to military veterans and active servicemembers. Applebee’s is again offering a free meal to military veterans and active-duty service members on Veteran’s Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. There will be 7 entrées to choose from. Military ID or proof of service required. Find locations at
Hooters – Free Meal, Friday, Nov. 11. Hooter’s is serving up a free meal to military veterans all day on Veterans Day. Offer good for all veterans and active duty military personnel. Get 10 Free Wings – Boneless or Regular, drink purchase required. Offer valid at participating Hooters only; open to all active duty and military veterans with valid military ID or proof of military service. For more information, visit,
Subway – Free Six Inch Sub, November 11, 2011. Select SUBWAY® Restaurants will offer a FREE six inch sub or flatbread to military veterans on Veteran’s Day. This offer is valid only on November 11, 2011 at participating local SUBWAY® restaurants, Military ID or proof of service required. Note: SUBWAY® Restaurants are franchises, so this offer may not be available everywhere. Please call ahead for participation and times.
Fee Free Day at National Parks. To honor America’s service men and women, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that areas managed by the National Park Service would not charge entrance fees for Veteran’s Day weekend – November 11-13, 2011. Over 100 national Parks will be participating in this event.
Free Car wash. Thousands of car washes around the country are offering vets a free car wash on Veterans Day. Find a list at Grace for Veterans, which helped veterans receive 101,537 FREE Washes on Veterans Day in 2010.

Thanks to Ryan at The Military Wallet for compiling a complete and updated 2011 list!