Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fallen Officer Puppy Program

Sponsor A Service Dog (FOPP)
Remembering Heroes As We Raise Life-Changers.

This week, we pay tribute to the brave men and women who have given their all for our communities. As National Police Week begins, we want to remember those who have fallen by dedicating our future service dogs to them. 

SDWR will be taking donations to sponsor a service dog as an FOPP puppy. Our goal is for puppies that come out of this program to be named after fallen Police who have paid the ultimate price. By naming future service dogs after service members, we feel we can carry on their legacy of sacrifice and honor.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Service Dog Denied Access: An Open Letter

March 31, 2016 Mr. Steve Joyce, CEO Choice Hotels 1 Choice Hotels Circle Suite 400 Rockville, MD  20850   RE:  Connie Bargerstock, General Manager Comfort Inn & Suites, 3501 S. State St. Ann Arbor, MI  

 Dear Mr. Joyce:
   On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, there was an incident where a couple who have a diabetic alert dog from our Company, attempted to check-in for an overnight stay at the above-referenced hotel.  Ben and Cat Dykhouse were there with their diabetic alert dog, Maxx.  Maxx had on his public access service dog vest with patches that clearly identify him as a diabetic alert dog, a patch that included our Company name, and a patch that indicates the dog should not be separated from its handler.  The dog has not only received years of training to alert Ben Dykhouse, a type 1 diabetic, to life-threatening blood glucose highs and lows, Maxx has actually been trained to react in emergency situation where Ben is unable to care for himself by performing such tasks as retrieving testing meters, glucose tabs, or in the worst case dialing 911 on a specially-designed phone pad.  In addition to his medical needs training, Maxx has undergone rigorous public access certification testing.   The general manager of the Ann Arbor Comfort Inn refused to allow the Dykhouse family to check-in with Maxx without “a letter of certification” showing that Maxx is in actuality a service dog.  The general manager lectured our clients about their need to always travel with that paperwork and indicated that it has always been her experience to ask for and receive certification paperwork.   Mr. Joyce, I am sure as the CEO of a major US hotel chain, you are aware that the Americans with Disability Act provides very specific guidelines in what service providers can and cannot ask individuals with disabilities accompanied by a service animal.  And, I am sure you know that no service dog company gives “certificates of authenticity” to families with service dogs.  Under ADA law, there are only two questions your general manager can ask our clients.  1.  Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?   And 2.  What task has the dog been trained to do?   Your general manager, Ms. Bargarstock, was taped by our clients as she verbally chastised them for not having “paperwork” and denied them a room without such paperwork.  Further, she made our clients wait at check-in for well over 10 minutes, while she called “her attorney” to verify ADA law.  She returned agitated, but somehow miraculously informed about ADA law, and proceeded to check-in the Dykhouse family.  The Dykhouse family decided not to stay at the hotel given the rude way they were treated.  They received no apology from the general manager and in fact, the general manager refused to apologize and called our clients “liars.”   Mr. Joyce, clearly this is a deeply troubling incident.  The Dykhouse family came to Ann Arbor as representatives our Company.  They were slated to give a large presentation to the University of Michigan College Diabetes Network.  The College Diabetes Network is a national organization with a mission to improve the lives of students living with Type 1 Diabetes.  Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States and the rate of college students dying from mismanagement of this disease is staggering.  The Dykhouse family and Maxx drove many hours to speak with young people about the need for them to manage their diabetes while away from home and on the college campus.    Their service dog, Maxx, was an integral part of the presentation as he demonstrated all the skills he learned to help Ben Dykhouse.   What happened to this family at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Ann Arbor was totally unacceptable.  Our Company is shocked that one of your General Managers could be so ill-informed about ADA law.  Additionally, we are appalled at the way our family was spoken to by your general manager, Connie Bargerstock.   It is my sole hope that you take the lead to ensure that not only your management but also all front desk personnel know ADA law and treat people with disabilities with the respect they deserve.  If you would like a copy of the tape of your general manager to use as a teachable moment for your company, you can find the entire tape on our website or Facebook page as it has been posted there with over 250,000 followers.   Thank you for your attention to this disturbing matter.  

Dan Warren President and Founder Specializing in Autism, Seizure, Diabetes and PTSD Service Dogs Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, Inc. P O Box 647 Madison, VA  22727 Phone:  540-543-2305 / www.sdwr.org

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Become A Puppy Raiser For SDWR

We are ready to place quite a few puppies in the coming weeks and we need YOUR HELP! Please consider registering today at www.sdwr.org/puppy-raiser-program/
Volunteers do it not because they have more time, they do it because they have more heart!

  • What is the timeframe for raising a puppy? How long do raisers keep the dog? A: Raisers receive the pups when they are approximately 8 weeks old, and they usually remain in the puppy raiser home until they are between 14 and 18 months old. The length of time may vary, however, depending on the individual puppy’s development or our need for dogs.
  • What are the main responsibilities of SDWR puppy raisers? Who teaches the service dog tasks? A: Puppy raisers are responsible for teaching puppies good behavior both at home and in public, and what to expect and accept in this busy world. Raisers also rear the pups to be close companions—to trust and be trusted. The raisers’ goal is to develop energetic and curious pups into mature, dependable dogs that have the following characteristics:
    1. Well-behaved: The pups have good house manners and will not relieve in the house. They are quiet and calm, eat only their own food and are not destructive.
    2. Socialized to the world: The pups have been exposed to a wide variety of people, things and places and accept new situations in a calm manner.
    3. Well-traveled: The puppies are relaxed and comfortable when traveling in all modes of transportation: cars, buses, trains, airplanes, ferries, etc.
    4. People-friendly: The pups bond well with people, enjoy receiving verbal praise and are eager to please.
    5. Animal-friendly: The pups are calm and appropriate around all sorts of animals including other dogs, cats, birds, livestock, etc.
    6. Responsive: The pups obey basic commands and are cooperative during various training exercises.
The actual training where the dogs learn the specific skills and commands to be Service Dogs are done through a comprehensive approach involving each family in their environment once the dogs are returned to us by our professional staff of Instructors.
  • What if 12-18 months is too long of a commitment? A: We also need short-term raisers who will keep a puppy until it is at least 20 weeks old. Short-term raisers housebreak and begin training the puppy before it is placed with another raiser who will finish raising the pup.
  • Does an SDWR puppy require any special foods? A: Yes. SDWR does require that SDWR puppies be fed one of several specifically chosen brands of high-quality dry dog food. A SDWR puppy should never receive table scraps.

  • What breeds of dog does SDWR use? A: All dogs in the program are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers. We ask all volunteer puppy raisers to be flexible regarding gender, breed or color to assure that every puppy finds a home quickly and efficiently.
  • Where does SDWR get their puppies? A: We have our own breeding program and In addition to our private breeding, we work with several licensed breeders in Virginia, as well as futher afield, to obtain puppies that are best suited to service dog careers. These acquisitions are at the discretion of our organization.
  • I am 15 years old, can I raise a puppy? A: You must be at least 18 years old to be a volunteer puppy raiser. Those under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian living in the same household as a co-applicant on the puppy raiser application.
  • Do I need a fenced yard? A: We strongly prefer that our puppy raiser homes have a fenced yard. Puppy raisers must agree to follow our supervision and leash requirements. Puppies must not be off leash at any time unless in an enclosed area.
  • What type of training will I do with the puppy? A: Puppy raisers must set aside time for daily training and attend obedience classes for the duration of the project. In some areas, we provide puppy classes free of charge. However, if you live in an area without a SDWR puppy class available, you must find and attend an approved public obedience class at your expense.
  • How much exercise do the dogs require? A: Puppies need physical activity in the form of play or walking. Puppy raisers should expect to provide at least 25-40 minutes of exercise per day. SDWR puppies are not allowed to visit public dog parks.

  • How old do you have to be to raise a puppy? A: The primary puppy raiser must be an adult 18 years of age or older. However, minors are allowed to raise with an adult co-raiser living in the same home. Note: Puppies can’t attend school with children in the household.

  • I work outside the home; can I still be a puppy raiser?A: Absolutely! Most puppy raisers gain approval to take the puppy to work. We recommend speaking to your employer prior to applying. The puppy will need regular toileting breaks throughout the day.

  • Can the puppy stay at home while I am at work? A: It’s imperative to the puppy’s development that supervision and socialization are provided throughout every day. Puppy raisers must either have prior approval to bring the puppy to the workplace or provide an alternative for the socialization and care of the puppy during the day. When left unsupervised, SDWR puppies should always be in an appropriate size crate.

  • Who takes care of the dog if I go out of town? A: In most cases, the puppy can accompany the puppy raiser on vacation, or can be placed with a sitter that meets our criteria. We offer guidelines for age appropriate travel outings and activities.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Diabetic Alert Dog Alerts and Retrieves Meter

The SDWR Difference for Diabetes As service dog providers, we’ve seen first hand how Diabetes can affect not only the individual, but his or her family as well. Constant care, a lack of sleep, and unshakable fear from highs and lows are all realities a diabetes care taker faces. Diabetic individuals themselves might have a hard time living life fully, due to the limitations of coping with diabetes. Through SDWR’s highly-trained Diabetic Assistance Dogs, thousands of individuals and families lives have been touched. With our service dogs, those struck by invisible illness can find independence from fear and around-the clock care. Having a service dog as a companion promotes freedom, and keeps you safe from hitting sharp highs and lows. As we know, investing in a Diabetic Alert Dog is a solid investment in your mental and physical health.
For more information about our Diabetic Alert Dogs visit

Watch this service dog alert to a high and retrieve the meter!  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Diabetes: More Than Insulin

Diabetes: More than Just Insulin
A quick look at Type 2 diabetes in contrast with Type 1 because there’s so much more to this invisible disability than people know.
Although diabetes is extremely common in the US, diagnosed in over 29 million Americans, knowledge of medication is somewhat limited.  Most education focuses solely on prevention, keeping the population in the dark about what their treatment options are in terms of medication.  Many people assume that there are two extremes of type 2 diabetes, those who are insulin dependent and those who are not. However, there are many diabetes medications available that your doctor might prescribe – it doesn’t start and end with injecting insulin.  Being aware of the drug treatments available helps adjusting to your diabetic medication routine easier, particularly since your medication needs may change over time.
If you have just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you’re likely to be put on metformin. Metformin helps your body use insulin more effectively by making the tissues of your body more sensitive to insulin.  However, metformin is not a miracle drug on its own and does have some side effects such as Combined with weight loss and exercise, this medication lowers your blood glucose to more ideal levels.  The next line of defense are sulfonylureas and meglitinides.  Under the brand names DiaBeta, Glynase, Gluctotrol, Amaryl, Prandin, and Starlix both of these types of medications help the body secrete more insulin.  Although these medications do have some side effects, such as weight gain and low blood sugar there is less risk with meglitinides because this class of drugs stays in the body for less time. There are also new medications called SGLT2 inhibitors that act defensively by preventing your kidneys from reabsorbing whatever sugar is in your blood, which may help prevent insulin responses and diabetes complications.  
Contrary to type 1 diabetes where insulin therapy is the first line of treatment since they can’t produce their own insulin, it is the last step of treatment depending on how your type 2 diabetes is progressing. Insulin is always injected, comes in many types, and its dosage varies by both time of day and amount. Some people may inject insulin in the morning, some at night, and others only need one long lasting shot each day and all administration is demonstrated by your doctor.  Keep in mind, these are only a few of the types of diabetes medications you may encounter and thoroughly educating yourself on your options as well as your current medications makes coping with your type 2 diabetes easier.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

5 Reasons to Invest in a Diabetic Alert Dog Today

When it comes diabetes care, there is little that can compare to the value of Diabetic Alert Dogs. The initial cost can seem intimidating, but this is an investment that has many positive aspects for those affected as well as their caregivers. Here we are listing the top five reasons to invest in a Diabetic Alert Dog.

1. Diabetic Alert Dogs Provide Freedom and Security
Diabetics often feel like they are restrained by the constant monitoring of their blood sugar levels. To let your guard down for even a moment, could result in serious health risks. But with Diabetic Alert Dogs, both diabetics and their caregivers have a sense of freedom and security. These service dogs provide diabetes care in any social setting so you can find the independence you've always wanted.

2. A Side Effect of Diabetes Care is Friendship
Your investment in a service dog for help in diabetes care is the primary goal. However one of the side effects is also a new loving friend. Alert dogs for diabetics are great in filling the role of caregiver, but what is often overlooked is the strong bond that comes along with your new companion, and new family member. Life without your service dog will soon be hard to imagine.

3. Stress Relief and Therapy
When you receive the best dog for Diabetics, your life will change. The constant knot in your stomach and fear that your child isn't being given the proper attention will go away. Safety, joy and independence are just a few qualities that will replace those stressful feelings with your alert dog. With their high capacity for compassion and loyalty, these highly intelligent dogs are sure to be your best form of therapy. There is no price tag for stress free days and an improved quality of life.

4. Round the Clock Diabetes Care
You’re familiar with those sleepless nights waiting for your child’s blood sugar to drop, feeling that at any moment you will need to rush in and give a shot of insulin. But with a diabetic alert dog, those stressful thoughts swirling in your brain will be replaced with a gentle sigh of relief with the knowledge that vigilant eyes are always on them. SDWR service dogs are trained to detect changes in blood sugar any time of the day or night. Your alert dog will be by your child’s side, giving proper diabetes care around the clock, so you can finally sleep well at night.

5. Labrador Retrievers are the best dogs for Diabetics.
In choosing the best dogs for Diabetics, it’s important to find a breed that is capable of completing our intense training program, as well as prove to be loyal companions to their owners. We have pride knowing that Labrador Retrievers are devoted dogs that will always be there for you, no matter what. We've seen firsthand their natural guardian instincts. There is a lot of effort and intelligence that goes into being the best dogs for Diabetics. When a person’s health is at stake, it takes an acute sense of intuition to act immediately and protect. These are just a few of the characteristics we search for in selecting our service dogs. Labrador Retrievers have a true gift for being a Diabetic Alert Dog and also making them the best investment for diabetes care.

If you are a loved one are in need of a service dogs for Diabetic children or adults, please contact us today.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Coloring for Miracles & Autism Grants

What is autism care? If you have a loved one on the spectrum, you know autism care can mean many things. From searching for your loved one when he or she has eloped, to finding peace through tantrums and outbreaks, there is so much that a guardian has to care for on a daily basis. At Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, it’s our mission to help provide service dogs for those with or caring for an invisible illness. Our non-profit helps offset the cost of a service dog and place service dogs in the homes of families for training. With our unique training program, our clients have been able to live safer, fuller lives.

How Do Autism Assistance Dogs Make a Difference?

With an Autism Service Dog, you know you can trust that your child on the spectrum is in good hands. With unexpected episodes or outbursts, a service dog can help keep any child calm and interrupt irrational behavior. This is the same for self-harm as well - when a child engages in this behavior, a service dog is trained to gently interrupt their handler from continuing. When a child attempts to run away, a service dog can stop him or her; if he or she has already run away, they can help to find the lost child.

In addition to the safety precautions they provide, Autism Assistance Dogs can also help children develop necessary skills. They facilitate improved sleep patterns, increased social interaction, help with sensory processing disorders, reading, and more. With an autism dog, children and adults on the spectrum are able to lead a more structured life.

Coloring for Miracles: Win a $10,000 Grant for an Autism Service Dog

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, SDWR is awarding five $10,000 grants to those participating in our ‘Coloring for Miracles’ campaign. Participants will choose a coloring page on our site, color it in with their loved one and let us know how an Autism Assistance Dog would make a difference in their household. An application is to be filled out with the coloring page attached, and participants will pay a submission fee. SDWR will choose the top coloring pages to be awarded $10,000. Submissions end April 30th, 2015. Apply today! Find submission information at http://www.sdwr.org/coloring-for-miracles/.

Do you have questions about our ‘Coloring for Miracles’ campaign? Are you interested in an Autism Service Dog? Contact SDWR for more information.