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Divers with Service Dogs.

Discussion in 'Divers with Disabilities' started by EdwardMH, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
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    NOt being mean, but if I were a boat owner I woud definately question if I wanted to take on the liability of someone that needs a service dog in order to dive. Especially if it is needed for the reasons you state like ballance ect.
     
    mathauck0814 likes this.
  2. EdwardMH

    EdwardMH Angel Fish

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    Hoping I do not sound rude, How does a Service Dog differ from any other medical device such as canes, wheel chairs, braces? Again ot wanting to sound rude it is a honest question.
     
  3. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
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    I think it's more doable than it might look at first glance.

    First I'd contact SUDS (Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba) - they may have a list of charters that are service dog friendly if any exist. Or help you in other ways. SUDS Diving | Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba I would guess that some of these dive operators might be able to work something out also - probably have already: SUDS Supporters | SUDS Diving | Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba

    Obviously most of Florida would be available to you. You probably can bring the dog on the plane subject to size restrictions right?

    Conch Republic works with SUDS so might be a good first test - they're in Tavernier in the Keys. Conch Republic Divers Fly into either MIA or FLL and drive down. Or there's both a shuttle service or the Greyhound bus. Miami is a cheap flight, non-stop 3hr. flight from St. Louis - under $350 R/T later this summer. Divers often stay at the Holiday Inn or the Marriott in Key Largo, there's also a Courtyard and a Hampton Inn nearby - about 1/2 dozen dive operators that leave from the dock there if you can leave the dog nearby.

    You'd probably need to get your dog a life vest at a minimum and provide some means for someone on board to control it while you're gone - I have no idea what that would be. Crate? Another family member traveling with you? I'm pretty sure the Captain isn't going to want to be responsible for the dog while you're gone.

    Another possibility might be certain Divi Dive Resorts. I know the Divi Flamingo works with disabled divers - but it's on Bonaire which may pose it's own set of challenges both with multiple long flights to get there and IDK their service dog importation policies.

    You might check with the Divi Carina on St. Croix to see if they have similar arrangements - it's still the U.S. and afaik there's no import restrictions on bringing dogs there with the proper medical clearances. St. Croix All Inclusive Beach Resort | USVI Vacation BEach Resort | Divi Carina Bay All Inclusive Beach Resort & Casino The problem with St. Croix is that from some origins, they use much smaller regional jets on connecting flights so I'm not sure how that would work for the dog.

    Dive Resorts Service Dog Policy - I'm sure many resorts in good dive locations do also - maybe start with some of the SUDS sponsors in U.S. cities first. Or Puerto Rico, it seems SUDS recently had a trip there.

    Many airlines use smaller regional jets once you get outside of major destinations. For that reason you may want to consider either St. Thomas (also very good beginner diving) or Puerto Rico instead. St. Thomas seems to have reasonable flight times from St. Louis with a stop in Atlanta or Charlotte.
    Taino Divers on Puerto Rico is a SUDS supporter - IDK anything about it.

    good luck,

    A cane or wheelchair doesn't require someone to watch over it while you're diving. On some of the smaller boats only the captain stays on board and he helps with re-boarding divers etc. As well as moving the boat following bubbles if you're drift diving.

    Do dogs get seasick? :D
     
    Lorenzoid and Wingy like this.
  4. EdwardMH

    EdwardMH Angel Fish

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    diversteve: thank you very much for this information it is a good place to start.


    KWS: I do not need the service Dog to dive. I do need him out of the water in public places such as restaurants shopping and such. the need of balance is mostly on stairs.
     
  5. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
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    How can you compare a living creature to an inatimate object and and ask how they are different. What you are comparing the dog with are things that are put in a closet or storage place till needed again. I really do not think this is a fair question. Perhaps the better question is : If you have a problem like ballance as you mention that is so severe that you need a service dog,,,,, Should you be diving in the first place? If you were to go to a doctor and ask for a medical clearance to dive would he sign off on it? I am not making judgements at all, just trying to be a logical 3rd person. Your problem as you describe it is not like being short a leg or bad vision or deaf or something like that. Those problems have a constant degree of inparement. So if you were short the lower left leg. All around you can assess with reasonable accuracy what your dificulties are and what to expect. We can see that you will have difficulties on a ladder and the like. Your device for such a thing would be a brace and the need of additional assistance climbing ladders ect. Most people can readily adapt to that. The issues you describe are not clear to others around you. When you start having problems, those around you do not know how to react or if they should. How would anyone on the boat know whether the dog would mistake an attempt , or a lack of an attempt , for assistance as an action the dog may feel as a need to defend you. For those that have fear of animals for what ever reason, should they be denied passage for your needs. The list goes on and on. And then the unspeakable, Loss of life of you or your service dog. In short you know the answers to these questions but no one else does. I personally admire anyone that does not let thier limitations hold them back. However if I have vertigo should I be allowed to drive a car or motorcycle. Sercive dogs (correct me if needed) are your assistance at times you can not function in some capacity. The service dog does not stop (generally speaking ) the problem from arising, although many dogs can sence the oncomming of an attack of some forms and allert teh owner to take meds ect. Your situation is relativily unique and genuine I am sure. Would putting yourself in such an enviromment provide more difficulty if you have a rpoblem of not. I am sure that if you had a issue at home the service dog would just deal with it as trained to to do. Would a boat severly limit what the dog could do to the point tha you would be less safe on the boat? Perhaps what you may need is a buddy that is fully capable to assist you above the water on the boat and MORE INPORTANTLY IN THE WATER. I doubt that an instabuddy would be able to help you when needed.

     
  6. EdwardMH

    EdwardMH Angel Fish

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    KWS: All valid and accurate points Thank you for the clarity.
     
  7. DennisS

    DennisS Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sebastian, FL
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    Have you thought about shore dives. There are a lot of great dive sites accesible from shore. I just reread your post and noticed you had a balance issues. Moving around a boat with tanks, fins, gear can be difficult for someone without balance problems. Try shore dives first, you will be able to focus on the diving instead of other issues that aren't directly involved with the dive. When you are getting ready to dive you need to be checking your equipment and planning on the dive, you need to focus on the dive and your equipment, not worrying about what the dog is doing. Have a friend keep him company and play with him on the shore.

    Boats are dynamic rolling and bouncing with the swells and waves. When you spend a lot of time on boats you will probably change your mind about having the dog onboard. When it is time to dive you have everyone getting into wetsuits, putting on equipment, shuffling around, bumping into each other, grabbing other divers to keep you/them from falling on the rolling boat. Usually this is in a confined space, with two alleys on either side of the boat. Then they all line up and shuffle to the stern. They don't need a dog keeping track of his master in line and getting under foot. Everything is moving. Keeping your balance until you get to the stern can sometimes be challenging

    When the divers come aboard they are fighting for balance and trying to get to their seat without falling, the last thing they need is a dog walking between their legs to get to his master coming aboard over the stern. It's a good way for the diver or dog to get injured.

    If the dog could be trained to go forward, lay down and stay there, it wouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately the dog would probably be excited and want to be with his master when he returned to the boat
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
    Jim Lapenta likes this.
  8. EdwardMH

    EdwardMH Angel Fish

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    A lot of the balance issues are due to medication but the VA hopes to get me off of them the more I rely on Smokey.
     
  9. Dr. Lecter

    Dr. Lecter Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC/Honolulu
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    To a large degree, the answer is going to depend on how well-trained your service animal is. Normally I'd suggest that those concerned with the problems posed by having an animal on a dive boat are unfamiliar with how service animals behave, but you say you're handling the training, so it may well be your dog has no place on a dive boat.

    Another question is whether your service dog--or any service animal--can provide the necessary stability support to its human when on a dive boat. Just because Smokey can safely counter-balance you on a fixed stairway doesn't mean the dog is capable of giving you the same support on a wet, slippery, pitching dive boat. Not to mention the fact that you'll be wearing quite a bit of extra weight.

    If Smokey is trained properly, though, there's no reason you can't bring the dog, put it out of the way, and find alternate ways to get in and out of the water safely. Donning and doffing gear in the water and/or diver lifts seem like accomodations that might work better for you than relying on the dog when on a boat.

    Have you checked with the HSA for advice about service dogs and diving?
     
  10. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

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    Where's Smokey going to do his business on the 3-4 hr. typical dive charter? Most captains won't appreciate it all over the brightwork...
     

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