Saturday, 31 January 2015

Navy SEALS dogs: bulletproof, waterproof, high-tech

Did you know that many of the special operations and dangerous missions US Navy SEALS complete might not be possible without the help of specially trained and specially outfitted - four-legged SEALS? Not only do these amazing dogs sniff out bombs, track human targets, and even parachute from planes into enemy territory, they also save the lives of US servicemen and women by alerting them to hidden dangers.

Military dogs come in all breeds, shapes, and sizes. From a 15lb West Highland Terrier trained to travel through tiny air ducts, to a 250lb Saint Bernard and every size in between, these hero dogs are outfitted is some really cool custom gear, like the vests made by K9 Storm.

At a cost of $20,000-$30,000, K9 Storm’s “Intruder” vest is bulletproof, waterproof, high-tech, and ultra-lightweight. The vests are bulletproof, able to stop even a 9mm or .45 round from a handgun. And, because Navy SEALS operate from air, land, or sea, the vests are waterproof, make use of Kevlar hooks & D-rings for parachuting, repelling, and lifting, and are custom fitted to each dog for maximum mobility.
In addition to protecting the dogs from attack, these vests feature high definition video cameras with night vision and transmission enable a receiver to operate at a safe distance, even through solid concrete walls and steel ship’s hulls. The handler can see where his dog is going, see what he is seeing, and even voice audible commands to his service dog. The entire unit weighs just between 3-7lbs, depending on the size of the dog and added accessories.
Fast Company reported on the next phase of K9 Storm’s vests:

“The next phase of development includes plans for remote-delivery systems and enhanced accessory functionality. They describe a system that would help dogs transport medical supplies, walkie-talkies, or water into constricted areas like rubble. They’re also planning new appendages like air-level quality meters for mines.”

K9 Storm, founded by Jim Slater, a former police dog trainer developed the vests after noticing during a prison riot - that while he was protected, his K9 was completely unprotected - to help protect the dogs that protect us.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Therapy Dogs United

Therapy Dogs United, Inc. (TDU) inspires physical rehabilitation and therapeutic healing through exploration of the unique animal-to-human bond and the use of interactive animal-assisted therapy and humane education. 

Therapy dogs impact learning and provide the catalyst for positive change.  Since a therapy dog loves to interact with everyone - from children, to adults, to seniors - their core Facility Dog Placement Programs and Educational Programs really allow their dogs to shine!

Facility, Skilled Support & Companion Dogs:

Facility Therapy Dog has many proven benefits in health care, senior living and educational settings. Facility Dogs enhance the quality of life by providing unconditional love and permanent companionship on a full time basis, 24/7.

Skilled Support Dog (Animal-Assisted Therapy) Placement Program helps residents and students better manage their daily lives. These dogs help with physical rehabilitation and encourage clients to engage in physical activities. The ultimate goal is to regain health, independence and mobility. Skilled Support Dogs work well with individuals dealing with behavioral, emotional or cognitive challenges, Autism, or Down Syndrome. 

TDU can match a Companion Dog (Emotional Support Dog)with an individual suffering from depression, loneliness, or in need of companionship. These therapy dogs are excellent partners for disabled residents who live in supported housing.  

Therapy Dog United Programs:

ACE Program (Animal Care for Exceptional Children & Adults) 
ACE is a research-based animal-assisted therapy and rehabilitation program that travels to participating school districts.  This research-based program is designed to help children and young adults affected by:
  • Autism
  • Down Syndrome
  • Physical injury or disability
  • Emotional or behavioral challenges
  • Cognitive loss
  • Speech or hearing difficulties

PAL Program
Bring a therapy dog into the classroom and you will inspire a child to learn. That's why TDU’s PAL Program is so successful with preschool and elementary school-aged children in the arts, music and literature. Its "Tutors with a Tail" in-school reading support program is a key component of PAL. 

Bella's Brigade
An innovative and expansive program - Bella's Brigade is best described by two words: comfort and trust. Therapy dogs help open dialogue with victims of sexual or emotional abuse, or a child grieving the loss of a parent or caregiver. TDU’s therapy dogs lend a trusting ear that the child quickly realizes he or she can tell anything. This crisis outreach program utilizes Occupational or "on site" therapy dogs - and offers special training and certification programs to both the volunteer handler, and the therapist/counselor.

At-Risk Families (ARF Program)
Therapy Dogs United also brings the ARF Program to homeless shelters and group homes to help children deal with tough emotional times. This research-based program stresses the importance of humane treatment and compassion for all animals, and teaches the importance of give back by sharing our pets with others in need. They introduce young adults to basic obedience training, and animal safety.   

Packs Program (Prevent Attacks with Care, Kindness and Safety)
PACKS Program is an educational program designed to develop responsible pet owners and compassion toward animals. Pet Educators emphasize responsible pet ownership, including basic pet care and lessons in animal humanity. They strive to teach people of all ages basic information about the many ways animals (and people) communicate, and use the unique human-animal bond to teach pet responsibility and respect. By learning what to watch and listen for, we can handle animals with much greater safety and communicate more effectively.

Animal Communication and Bite Prevention program 
Teaches children how to safely approach a dog. The goal is to reduce the number of dog-bite injuries and emotional scars affecting children; lower medical costs; provide fewer insurance claims associated with dog bites; and a decrease the number of dogs euthanized for biting children who may have unknowingly provoked them.

TDU programs offer interactive presentations for mainstream students, ages K-12, and special needs children and adults. Each program is tailored to meet the audience age level and interest, and can be customized to compliment specific subjects. These presentations are available for groups of any kind, including schools, clubs, homeschooled groups, and community organizations. 

To request additional information on any of Therapy Dogs United programs, email

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