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Camp Days My role as a volunteer – By Steve Hilts

Our guest blogger Steve Hilts writes about his experience at our second annual Monkey Tail Ranch Camp Days!

 

Monkey Tail Ranch, Lugnut, Ben, French Fry, Captain Butter, and Hank the baby goat. What do they all have in common? They are animals at Monkey Tail Ranch located in foothills of Hollister.

 

Monkey Tail Ranch is a facility that trains service dogs for people with special needs. Owners Elise and her husband Tim started the facility and hold an event called Camp Days once a year. Camp Days is a three day event where families and their dogs get to come back to the ranch and get pampered by legions of volunteers.

 

That’s where I come in. This was my second time volunteering at the camp.

 

My official title was respite volunteer. Too fancy a title for me, I and the rest of the volunteer’s help watch the kids and try to pamper the family members so they could relax.

 

I was excited because this was my second year. I knew that I would be better prepared and able to help out more now that I knew what was expected of me.  Last year I shadowed a child by the name of Charlie who has autism. The family lives in Malibu which is located in Southern California. I had asked to be paired with them again this year since I had such a great time with them last year.

 

I arrived at 12:00 on Friday to help set up the tents that the families would be staying in. One out of the five families’ was already there. It was a family from Alaska.  Alex and his service dog Gus happily zoomed around. Gus off duty, sniffed and proceeded to greet every new person he ran across with a tail wag.

At around 3:00 the different families started arriving. The initial scene once the car rolled to a stop was pretty much the same.

 

A dog would bound out of the small confines of the car and took a quick sniff followed by a long pee and life was good!  Once the family members were greeted, an appropriate number of volunteers helped carry the family’s gear to their tent.

 

Then the assigned volunteers introduced themselves and started the pampering. It was a chaotic but happy evening as the different families and dogs interacted and settled in. Tim and Elise stood in the eye of the hurricane and quietly and efficiently directed the crew and organized things.

 

At around 7:00 PM a small white car pulled up and a yellow lab jumped out. Charlie had a service dog, Aspen that was a yellow lab, I wonder if it is them?

 

Then I saw Charlie mom, Charlene. She saw me and I GOT A HUG. Cool, she remembered me. Then Charlie exited the car. He pretty much looked the same to me. But unbeknownst to me things had changed!

 

I got somewhat emotional seeing Charlie for the first in over a year.

 

Anyway Mr. Emotional and my fellow volunteers helped them with their gear. I shadowed them discreetly so as to not overwhelm them with all the people and dogs that were running around. I was ready to swoop in and help when needed. Seeing that they were taken care of, I went to Tim and to let him know that I was headed home to check on my dog, Daisy as she had been by herself since 11:00 AM that day. Arriving home at about 9:00 PM I fed her and de-stressed by having some MM’s then went to bed. Up at 4:00 AM I fed her and we took a short walk. After the walk I left for the ranch. My friend Gabby would come later that morning to doggy sit Daisy for the day.

 

Once at the ranch I started eating a second breakfast that I did not really need but Chef Carol’s food was to good not to try!!

 

The order of events was that one or both parents and associated family members would go to Gilroy Gardens which was a small amusement park located less than an hour away.

 

If so desired the other family members would stay at the ranch and throw down some Yoga, get a massage, and have some adult beverages.

 

Lisa, another volunteer and I left the ranch at about 11:00 with Charlie and his mom Charlene. I sat in the back with Charlie and service dog Aspen. Crowded but due to Aspen’s training no problem.

 

Lisa navigated us to the park while I sat in back petting Aspen and keeping an eye on Charlie. My hand was resting on the side of Charlie’s car seat when suddenly he grabbed my hand and held it for a brief time!  Charlie had never initiated any physical contact with me,  so this was a first for Mr. Emotional! Wow!

 

We arrived at the parking lot and proceeded into the park. We then hot footed it to the different rides that we thought Charlie would enjoy. As Lisa navigated us to the different rides I would stay and watch Aspen if it was not a dog friendly ride.

 

I noticed that Charlie was much calmer this year. He for the most part stayed with us and did not run around. He also would hold on to the handle on Aspens service dog vest or the leash itself as he walked around. Last year it was a struggle to make this happen. We did a couple of rides until it looked like Charlie and maybe Steve needed food. We went into one of the restaurants and ordered Charlie’s favorite, French Fry’s.  As we were talking and eating Charlene asked Charlie if he wanted “more” or “water’ with a specific jester. After a moment it hit me it was sign language! I asked Charlene how many words Charlie knew.  “About 40” she matter of factly said. Charlie did not verbally talk but using sign language he could efficiently communicate.  “Can you teach Charlie to say, Steve’s the man” I kiddingly asked.

 

After lunch we hit some more rides. One of which Charlie enjoyed so much he rode it three times. As we walked out of the park, Charlie sported a huge grin and was making happy noises. The ride home was uneventful. I was in the back seat again with my posse, Aspen and Charlie.

 

Once back at the ranch, Charlene took Charlie over to the horses and Charlie rode Ben a special and very gentle horse a few times.  It was around 4:30 and there were tons of volunteers available so I checked out and drove home to Daisy.

 

The next morning I got back to the ranch at about 7:30 to help with the different family’s packing up. I guess I misjudged the time and was to early so I had to have breakfast !!I I sat with Stan, Cheryl and their son Jake who are from Utah.

 

At one point Stan turned to Jake and asked a question and followed up with a specific hand jester. Sign language again! Jake knew about 50 words Stan told me. Jake was a cool kid and very affectionate to his parents.  They were here for the first time checking out the dogs to see if it would be a good fit for Jake to get a dog. As I was talking to Stan, Tim brought Lugnut over to me and gave me the leash. Lugnut is a yellow Labrador and in the final phase of his training. Tim said to me “Let’s expose Jake to Lugnut”.”Ok” I said. I did some basic obedience with Lugnut to get him to pay attention to me and see what he was capable of. I held the leash and tried to connect Jack and Lugnut. Jake was intrigued with Lugnut but seemed a bit unsure about him.  So I slacked off the connection to ease Jakes apprehension. After a while Elise gave Stan some doggy food in a paper cup for Jake to feed Lugnut. I stood quietly holding the end of the leash motionless so Stan, Jake and Lugnut could interact. I did not want to be a distraction. Jake seemed more at ease feeding food to Lugnut with Stan’s help.  Once the interaction started to taper off I eased Lugnut away from Jake to end the exercise on a positive note.

 

After talking to Stan for a bit more. I saw Charlie zooming around so I switched gears and hung out with Charlie while their car was being packed up for the trip home.

 

Up until now Charlie and I had not really spent any time alone together so we ran around like we had the year before which was fun for me. Hopping, jumping, running and kicking balls. Once the car was packed Swifty, Charlene, Charlie and Aspen piled in and took off for home.  Feeling a bit sad for some reason I helped break down the tents then took off for home.

 

On the drive home I reflected on the past weekend. Who helped who? One noticeable side effect of helping others is the effect that it has on the person that is offering to help.

 

For me I gained an increased sense of self-worth and a calming satisfaction of doing something positive with no intention of gaining anything in return. I’m sure there is some type of a scientific expression for the effect. All I know is it was another incredibly rewarding weekend at Monkey Tail Ranch where miracles happen so often they are almost common place….

 

*** Monday morning at work. “Steve did you have a good weekend”? “Yep, I hung out with some cool friends of mine and their dogs.  Let me tell you about them”….…..

 

 

Traveling With Autism – By Victoria Moore

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We live in a rural Haines, Alaska where you have to travel by boat or plane to get to hospitals, therapist or just to get to Costco for supplies.We have been traveling since the first time we brought our son Alex home from Sitka, Alaska where he was born.

 

Traveling is more challenging now  since Alex was diagnosed with Autism when he was two years old, and type 1 diabetes when he was 4. Alex is now 8 and has a service dog named Gus. Gus has been with us for 2 1/2 years, and has been a huge asset to us traveling. He is Alex’s guide through transitions, guide to social interactions and best friend. Gus is our anchor in the room in any situation.

 

We recently went to Seattle for medical appointment for Alex. Alex’s Dad  Josh, a commercial fisherman, traveled as far as Juneau but had to continue onto Seward, AK to return to work on the boat. I prayed Alex would be ok with the fact Dad wasn’t going on the big jet with us to Seattle. Alex showed strength and pushed through it.

Additional stress was caused because both departing and return flights  that we would be on were completely full.  I was unable to get seats on the plane together regardless of the phone calls I made before hand.   I had to make the reservation without being able to be seated next to Alex.  This medical appointment for Alex couldn’t be missed, so I booked the flight, and hoped we could change the seat the day of the flight.   I  knew flying out of Juneau would be fine, being a small town, people know Alex and his disability and have always been accommodating.

  

I always need take a deep breath when coming home to Alaska. TSA at SEATAC Airport is stressful even for the most seasoned traveler, but with a child on the spectrum the waiting in lines, large crowds of people, and loud noises can be overwhelming. Alex doesn’t raise any red flags that he is Non Verbal Autistic.  Alex is a handsome boy with a great smile.  However, like is so common with Autism, Alex can suddenly, and unpredictably, be set off into a full emotional meltdown and act out in a fight or flight mode. This is where our service dog Gus acts as our ambassador to the public and assists me in redirecting Alex and to help him regulate.  

 

However, this return trip was different. TSA agents were great to us!   We glided on through security check. When Alex started to get agitated due to disruption in his routine, a TSA agent brought Alex his noise reduction headphones, and Alex quickly calmed down. The TSA Agent handed me a card that said “TSA Cares”.  This card explains that when traveling we should  call ahead of time and TSA will meet us to assist in anyway they can.  TSA also explained  that they are specially trained on how to help families with special needs. Just typing this-I tear up. Its moments like this that can carry you through a stressful day when you are traveling.

 

We were seated in an emergency exit row on the plane. Since Alex is a child, and we have a service dog,  we are not eligible to sit in this row.   Our earlier flight in Juneau, thanks to a friendly ticketing agent,  we were able to get our seats on the plane together.  While the agent in Seattle wasn’t thrilled about having to swap seats in an already full flight,  she kindly announced,  “Is there a couple that could switch to an exit row on the flight”?.    I was holding my breath praying that Alex would patiently wait until a volunteer came forward. Alex held Gus’s harness and quietly waited. I could feel the eyes on us. Its in that moment of feeling  for me where Gus wearing his service dog vest quiets my own thoughts and lowers my stress level and it lets us celebrate these moments of success, My son was calmly waiting!  A few minutes later a man came up to the counter to volunteer. I thanked him and he said kindly,“It’s no problem”. I was filled with gratitude. We went to our gate ready to board our flight.

 

Timing is everything when we are traveling… If you arrive too early to the gate, the airlines may change gates on you.  Packing up Alex and I and moving to a different gate can cause agitation.   If you arrive too late, you may miss our early boarding opportunity, and boarding can be very visually overstimulated for Alex.  It is imperative to do everything possible to avoid Alex getting into his fight or flight mode while you are on a plane waiting for others to get into their seats and clear the aisle.

 

We are seasoned travelers. Alex, Gus and I at one time had to travel to Juneau weekly for therapy. Diabetes came into our lives and we had to travel to Seattle quarterly visits. Luckily we don’t have to fly to Juneau weekly for therapy anymore, We have therapist here in Haines Alaska now. We continue to travel to Seattle. And we are ok with that, We have Gus to help guide us.

 

Some revealing amazing situations happened on this particular trip; The change we are seeing in public faces in our little corner of the world. The compassion, and willingness to be more understanding. We are all seeing it on TV, Internet web sites and Social Media that people/families who have dealt with struggles are being strong prime examples to others and paving the way for families like us.  Monkey Tail Ranch is one of them; they train amazing breed of service dogs. We are teaching and being examples everyday when we put Gus’s vest on. So I respect the privileges that come with owning a service dog.

 

I have always believed and hope that by sharing our story can help other families.  It’s not been easy to travel on this journey with Autism and Diabetes, but we do love our tour guides.

 

The Moore Family in Alaska

 

 

#travelingwithautism #serviceanimal #TSAcares #alaskaairagents #type1diabetesandautism2 #moore2besaid #fightorflight #hainesak #juneauak #sitkaak

Puppy Raisers, An act of love.

FullSizeRenderThe only way we can provide service dogs to our clients, is through the generosity of our puppy raisers. Puppy raisers are selfless, altruistic, amazing people, who constantly keep me humbled to be around.

 

I find myself worrying about our puppy raisers often. How do I address the puppy raiser who is raising a puppy that won’t make it as a service dog? How do I break bad news to a family that raised a puppy for us, a puppy they believe will be a life changer?

 

I could not start a blog about puppy raisers without discussing a painful defining moment which result determined how we do business at the Monkey Tail Ranch.

 

In 2011 we were raising a beautiful yellow Service Puppy Hopeful.  While this puppy was in our care, he ate a poisonous mushroom and died in our arms.  It was excruciatingly difficult to not only cope with this puppies death, but the guilt that we felt for allowing this puppy to get into a situation that he had access to a mushroom.  Beyond our grieving and guilt, we also had to inform a family who was anxiously waiting for their service dog to be trained for their son, that their service dog prospect was dead.

 

We thought up stories about how we were going to spin the story of a dead puppy.  I questioned how we may be able to protect the family from the truth.   We decided that any lie will eventually catch up to us, and we would, rightfully so, never have credibility again.  We decided that if we are going to run a business, we will always be honest.  Totally transparent, no white lies, no avoiding hard conversations that needed to be had.

 

Telling the family for whom this service puppy was being trained for, that their puppy died was very difficult, but surprisingly, we found the family was comforting us.  Telling us how sorry they were, how difficult it must have been on us to have a puppy die.  At that point we knew, the only way to run a business with people, is to never insult anyones intelligence by covering up the truth with a lie.  We also learned just how much these puppies become a part of your heart.  Even if they have an ultimate goal not to live in your home, they live in your heart.

 

The Monkey Tail Ranch puppy raisers take these puppies into their homes at 8 weeks of age.   The puppy raisers stay up with them as little pups and tend to them when they cry in their crate.  They clean up accidents on their favorite rug, and have favorite shoes ruined by a teething puppy.  Puppy raisers skip out on soccer practice so they can take the puppy to puppy school, and  then, just as the dog is becoming easy, and fun, they give the puppy back to the ranch so the pup can start their formal obedience training.  The puppy raisers get these puppies knowing that these puppies are going to a greater good. The puppy raiser trusts that we will be the dogs advocate, that we will care for the puppy in the same way they did.  What an honor to be so trusted.

 

Sometimes Service Dog Hopefuls don’t make it as Service Dogs. Sometimes Service Dog Hopefuls have health issues and have to be pulled from the program.  Sometimes Service Dog Hopefuls have to have their original placement changed.  Each time a placement of a Service Dog does not happen as originally planned, I have angst about how to tell the puppy raiser family.  They had so much hope invested in the dog, so much trust in me that I was going to make the placement work. Each time I tell the service dog family, I am always amazed at the comforting conversation about how we are going to keep the happiness of the dog our first priority.  We always agree on that.

 

There are a lot of amazing, altruistic people in this world.  People who donate money, people who teach, or preach.  But if you had to find a group of people that had the biggest heart, the most altruistic soul, and the most generous with their time and patience, my bet is on the Service Dog puppy raiser.

 

To all those who have raised puppies for us.  I salute you.

Fake service dogs, a real problem.

pepeToday I’m delivering a trained service dog to his family. I think about that only last week this placement may not have been possible. Last week we were training two service dogs in the mall. While we were there a “Service Rottweiler” lunged at us, and pulled the leash away from his owner while she dined.

 

Thankfully, nothing happened, our service dogs were stars. However, one week later this dog will have a young boy attached to the leash. How would this have played out if the situation was slightly different?

 

If that Rottweiler was able to get to our service dogs we were training, we would have potentially had to remove them from our program, and disappoint the child that has waited a year to get this dog. When walking in a mall with a child with a disability, the last thing a mother wants to worry about is a fake service dog lunging to attack their child’s service dog.

 

Special needs individuals and families are accustomed to having others pass judgment when they are out of their home.  We often hear how much a service dog helps with outings.  An individual with anxiety disorder can now go to the grocery store, a family with a child on the spectrum is now able to go to parks, malls, and school.  A service dog helps explain that their may be more going on than meets the critical eye of the community.

 

The epidemic of fake service dogs is now putting an additional burden on families.  Well intentioned people are questioning the validity of their service dogs, assume anyone with a dog is scamming the system.  Perhaps this quick evaluation of an individual can set back an individual who is suffering from severe PTSD or anxiety disorder back in to the solitude of their home.

 

What can you do?  Approaching someone with a service dog you think is not legitimate is not appropriate.  There are laws to protect those who need a service dog, and what they need the service dog for really is no one else’s business, regardless if you think the service dog is not legitimate. What  you can do your best to help educate people you know that are violating the service dog rules to reconsider their actions.

 

Some very important individuals are counting on you to help spread the word about fraudulent service dogs.

MTR Camp Days; Finding our Roots

 

glasses.horsie8802We had our first annual Camp Days at the Monkey Tail Ranch!  This camp was absolutely no cost to our families who participated.  We want to thank our wonderful volunteers who came to staff the camp with cooks, respite workers, horse handlers, and puppy leaders.  We had a total of 936 volunteer hours.

 

We had an outdoor movie night, slept in tents, visited Gilroy Gardens.  Parents had some much needed respite, drank mimosas, and had massages. . We also had a camp fire, s’mores, soccer games, horse rides, puppy visits, playing in the mud, and coloring in the quiet room.  So, how did we get from training dogs, to families with children with special needs sleeping in tents on our back lawn?

 

In 2004 we started by working with service dog organizations as a consultant to fix service dogs behavioral problems that their trainers were having before the dogs were paired with their permanent handler.

 

Several years ago, a family came up for a playdate while we were training their service dog.  Their son with autism asked if he could go for a ride on one of our very gentle horses.  As the entire family and their dog got the horse ready to ride, got on the horse, and began walking around the property, I saw it. I saw what would be the future Monkey Tail Ranch.  A way to incorporate the entire family to support the addition of the service dog.

 

A service dog is not a cure.  A service dog is a lot of work for the entire family. These families are often over-taxed, and a service dog is additional work whose impact will be felt throughout the household.  We feel that we have a responsibility to make sure we help with more than just providing a well trained service dog.  How can we augment the benefits the service dog brings to the family?  Getting to know these families on a deep personal level,  and raising these puppies, we  have become both the dog’s advocate and the family’s support team.  We could not, in good conscience, give a family a service dog and leave with little more than follow up lessons.

 

We started the Monkey Tail Ranch to be able to continue the relationships with the family, to provide a location that is judgment free, and to be able to have a lifetime relationship with our families.

 

Our first camp was this vision in real life, real time.  What a journey, we can’t wait to see where it takes us.

Tethering and the Autism Assistance Dog

hero teatheringRecently I saw a news story about a local autism assistance dog organization that was being sued by a few of the recipients of their dogs.  The complaint from the recipient is that the dogs that were placed in the families home were not trained with the safety measures promised by the organization.    These dogs were to be trained with both  the “Search” command,  to find the child with autism  when they go missing, and “tethering” which is when the dog is tied to the child and acts as an anchor  to stop the child if he was to bolt. “When the child tries to dart away the dog is trained to automatically lie down. Not  only does this keep the child out of danger, but over time it can also teach the child to stop darting.”

 

Our thoughts on the autism assistance dog being dually trained as a search and rescue dog was written about in our last blog titled “Search and Rescue in the Autism Assistance Dog” 

 

It is never  safe to put a dog in charge of a child. Using a dog to act as an anchor to keep a child safe from bolting is a danger to both the child and the dog.   However we have used tethering in some specific situations.

 

1) Increased independence for your child.  Tethering allows your child to explore their world with a bit more freedom, but still have a bridge to both the dog and parent.  A parent should always have the dog in a “heel” position when tethered, and has complete control over the dog.  This is ideal for a child who is not prone to bolting, but may have tendencies to fixate, and needs a slight redirections from the dog to keep them moving forward.

 

2) For children with tactile issues, tethering allows a physical connection to their parent, but without having to hold hands.  Tethering for the child with tactile issues is especially important especially  if the child is more comfortable having  a sensory item held in their hand, but still needs to be in contact with a parent.

 

3) A tether can provide a certain amount of physical pressure from dog  the onto the child’s harness.  Many times the child enjoys leaning into that pressure and may keep the walk more relaxed and rhythmical.  A gentle tug from the dog gently allows the child to silently transition from the item that is catching their attention without  the over stimulation that parent involvement may bring.

 

In any of these situations, It is always the responsibility of the parent to have total control over the dog, and not allow the dog to ever be put in a situation that the child may be pulled by the dog, or that the dog may pull the child.

 

If you are looking for an Autism Service dog, and you think that tethering may be an option for your family, take the time to explore with your autism assistance dog provider as to how this skill is going to be trained, and weigh the benefits of tethering, while considering the realities of using a dog as a tool for the safety for your child.

 

 

 

Search and Rescue in the Autism Assistance Dog

moose rear view“When a child with Autism disappears their life is in danger, and an adult looking for them may begin their search in the wrong direction;  Autism Assistance Dog trained in search and rescue never takes the wrong path and quickly leads the adult to the missing child”!

 

I read this on a website promoting “Search and Rescue” (SAR) for Autism assistance dogs.  Sounds like a great idea right?  We should put this lifesaving skill on every assistance dog we train!  Right?   Often we receive requests to put search and rescue skills on our Autism assistance dogs.  No, we do not put SAR on our assistance dogs.  Not only do we not train our assistance dogs in SAR,  we also passionately disagree that it a service that is even offered to the ASD assistance dog community.

 

Buy why not?  We are both FEMA K9 Search Specialists , we have both trained multiple dogs in Search and Rescue, if anyone should be able to put this lifesaving training on a assistance dog, why not us?

 

First, lets start with the dog.  Our personal search and rescue dogs are very high energy dogs. Our search dogs want to do one thing, and one thing only, to search for people.  They are not great house dogs, they are not great pets.  When we take our dogs out, they have one thing on their mind “When is it time to work”?   These dogs are independent, and learn to ignore us when we are stressed to keep focus on the search.

 

Our Autism assistance dogs are very low energy dogs.  We look for a dog who really wants to provide comfort when stressed, they are trained to want to lay with and next to a person who is having a hard time coping.  They are trained to not want to think independently, instead to look for cues from their handler as how to respond when presented with stress.

 

Most importantly, what is going to happen on that dreadful day that we need to ask our Autism assistance dog to search for our missing child?  Every moment your child is missing, your search area increases.  It is imperative that you spend the first moments calling 911 and getting law enforcement mobilized.  At this point you are understandably very anxious and concerned. You grab your child’s Autism assistance dog, and tell him to “Find Billy”.  First, your dog will be in conflict.  You are emotional, and the dogs first trained skill is to provide comfort when he senses anxiety. Your dog may preform a trained behavior, perhaps lean on you, a behavior that has normally been rewarded.  Instead of rewarding that behavior,  you are giving a command to “search.” a command that most likely was  trained in a happy environment, a game of hide and seek in the house and yard.  But now everything to your dog is different.  Stress, anger, adrenaline.  Your dog has never been exposed to this kind of stress and search reliability is sure to be affected.

 

Search is a trained skill, our search dogs are trained weekly, there skills are maintained to the highest levels. We train like we search, we put ourself in stressful situations, we make sure we train for search at night, in the rain, and in areas that cause us to be stressed.  Even with all this training, we know that our dogs are still not infallible. A search and rescue specialist will never guarantee that a trained SAR dog will find your missing child.  But some organizations are assuring you that Your Autism assistance dog will always find your missing child?

 

Sometimes if something sounds too good to be true, it might be.

Carrots, Tag, and Ben

ben carrotsAt the Monkey Tail, we are interested in qualitative results, and student centered learning.   Kyle has been coming to the ranch monthly to see how riding Ben, our gentle program horse, may help Kyle with his gross motor skills,  core strength, as well as any other “magic” that may happen.

 

At the Monkey Tail Ranch we don’t focus on a lesson start and end time,  and we don’t have a daily goal or objective.  We allow the time needed for each individual child and family to have success.  Over the last few months Kyle who was at first tentative about riding, is enthusiastic about the process, and is now even helping with grooming, and feeding.

 

Our latest update from Kyle.  “Our last visit Kyle was very interested in feeding Ben carrots after the ride.  He has never been comfortable with anything like this.   Since this feeding interaction with Ben, Kyle has started feeding Leo [the dog] treats right into his mouth (previously Kyle would only throw the treats to Leo.)    We are also getting reports back from school that Kyle has been interacting with classmates better and even playing “Tag” with  them.  His tactile defensiveness can be such a problem when it comes to establishing relationships… playing “Tag” is great progress for Kyle”

 

Kyle will be back at the ranch in April!

Monkey Tail has a dozen new…Tails!

saida and puppyWe are thrilled to announce that 12 new puppies were born at the ranch on March 18!  These puppies come from a line of labrador retrievers that we have used for service dogs, and we are confident that we will have a service dog is in this litter!

 

The litter is all yellow, with 8 girls and 4 boys.  At 8 weeks of age our service dog hopefuls will move in with carefully selected puppy raisers who will raise, socialize, and love them until they are ready to move back to the ranch for their formal training.

 

We cant wait to watch these puppies grow up!

Monkey Tail Pepe starts his new tale

Pepe was raised by the Schweizer family in San Jose. Pepe, a yellow lab, will be moving to southern California at the end of February! We cant wait to post all about the trip to LA! Pepe is the second dog from this litter who is working as a service dog, his brother, Hero, is also a service dog trained by the Monkey Tail Ranch working in Lompoc CA.

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