2024 Animal Stories Magazine

Page 2 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024

Page 3 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Table Contents f 04 36 06 46 Welcome to the 2024 Animals Stories Pet Magazine Best Expression Contest Zookie, my unexpected new family member Caught In the Act Contest LDN Staff Pets Cutest or Most Cuddly Contest 10 54 A special bond between a little girl and her service dog. Memorable Moments Contest 16 70 22 78 Pause to read about Paws Giving Independence Non-Traditional Pet Contest 26 82 Emotional Support Animals: what are they, and could your pet qualify as one? Humane Society of Logan County offers the Forever Home Cemetery A resting place for pets and people Should I consider getting a service dog? Rainbow Bridge Tribute 32Pet Allergies? No Problem! Just go Hypoallergenic! 28 86

Page 4 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Welcome to the 2024 Animals Stories Pet Magazine, a publication of Lincoln Daily News. We started this magazine during the COVID pandemic, recognizing that while we were in “lock down” our pets were all the more valuable to our general wellbeing. That was in 2020. When that first edition was finished, we realized how much fun it had been to put it together, and how much we had enjoyed the project that made us temporarily forget that as a newspaper we were also somewhat limited in what we could do for our readers. While we skipped doing the magazine in 2022, we missed it so much that in 2023 we brought it back and were pleased that Farm & Home Supply in Lincoln chose to partner with us by providing $50 gift cards to the Animal Stories Pet Contest winners. Again this year Farm & Home is providing gift cards to the contest winners, and each pet selected reported to Farm & Home to personally accept the prize and, of course, pose for a photo for Lincoln Daily News. In the magazine this year, every photo submitted is included, though some were disqualified from judging. Those disqualified included pets that did not live in Logan County as was the rule, and when multiple photos were submitted of the same animal in one category, only one picture was eligible for judging. Welcome to the 2024 Animals Stories Pet Magazine In addition to the contest, we have the Rainbow Bridge section which allows pet parents to memorialize their pets that wait for them at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge. When the pet owner arrives in the meadow, their pets will greet them, and together they will cross the bridge into eternity. Each year we attempt to feature articles that we hope readers will find interesting, educational, or just downright fun. This year a lot of the focus in the articles is on pets who have jobs as support, comfort, or therapy animals. These are animals that are beloved members of a family just as every pet is, but they have special talents and special training that enables them to be a significant helper to their human companion. We also have some tips on what to do when you are allergic to animals, and how you could possibly still have a wonderful relationship with a beloved pet. Look for a cute story about what happens when pet mom brings home a new pet dad and see if you agree that the pet trains the parent, not vice versa! Continued --

Page 5 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Learn about a special resting place for pets and people right here in Logan County and enjoy some of the pet pics submitted by our staff. We caught up with Willow Merritt and her dog Aspen, and have a good story and some great pictures of the two together. This is just a small taste of what lies between the front and back cover of this mag, along with of course, approximately 150 pictures of beloved pets doing their thing. From cutest, to best expression, to caught in the act and more, each picture tells its own story, and we are so pleased to be able to bring those stories and all the others in this edition to our readers. We hope you enjoy! [LDN Staff & Stringers]

Page 6 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 my unexpected new family member Zookie By John Castelein

Page 7 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 There is something, or should I say “someone,” I just didn’t see coming!? As happens in many families after the death of a spouse, I gradually have been losing touch with the family of my first wife, Marie. At the same time, I have been warmly embraced and made to feel accepted in the family, and among the friends of my second wife, Karen (formerly) Hargis. Karen’s son, Scott, is a great guy and we have developed, as may have been expected, a strong friendship based on mutual respect and liking. What has been totally unexpected is how I have bonded with Zookie, Karen’s 6-year-old Yorkie! Now you need to understand that I did not grow up with a dog or around dogs. Of course, I knew friends who had dogs and cats whom they loved like family, but I just didn’t get it. How can one relate to an animal with an affection that comes anywhere near to the affection one has for fellow human beings? Well, let me tell you! Pets have the amazing ability to capture your heart and your mind! First of all, you need to know that Zookie is a beautiful little dog. She weighs about 6 pounds, and she stands about 7 inches tall. She has a darker coat on her back with very light brown short-haired fur on her belly. I think she is just the right weight for her size—not too fat and not too skinny. Oh yes, she has mesmerizing deep brown eyes that at times can look pleading, reproachful, angry, or loving! Her fluffy ears are usually relaxed but any unexpected or suspicious sounds make her ears come to full attention— like the rustling of the cookie bag in the kitchen. Honestly, Zookie has incredible hearing. She can be sound asleep in the entry way while I tiptoe to the kitchen and very gently lift the foil off the Chips Ahoy bag. And--there she is, prancing all around me, with shiny, eager, expectant eyes! Her nose brings a whole other dimension to her world that we humans lack. Even when we turn her loose in the yard to do her “business,’ she always finds a place to sniff and to explore. Surreptitiously, I even find her regularly smelling my fingers and even my breath for any suspicion of leftover food. Recently Zookie has taken to announcing her arrival in the yard with quick barking! However, I am learning to understand her Continued --

Page 8 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 doggie language. Licking her lips means: “I’m hungry. Feed me NOW! I expect food soon!” Wagging her tail exclaims: “Aren’t we having fun?” Even when we are wrestling on the floor (something she insists on every day), and she is ravaging my fingers with her sharp little teeth while growling fiercely, she regularly stops to lick my hands and my nose just to assure me “this is all part of the game we’re playing, you know?!” At first, I patted myself on the back thinking what a nice control I had achieved with Karen’s dog, feeding her, giving her timely potty breaks, playing with her, etc. But then it finally dawned on me some months ago: actually, she is the boss, and she has trained me to wait on her hand and foot!? But how could I not—especially when she jumps up on the recliner with me every day and snuggles up to me and her snoring lulls me away from my reading or TV watching into gentle snoring in tandem! The way Zookie trusts me, relies on me, forgives me, plays with me, and reads my changing moods has become a wonderful and totally unexpected part of my life. Who knew that an animal could become such a loving and dear companion?! I just didn’t see it coming!

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Page 10 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 LDN Staff Pet Pics! Karen Castelein Things have changed in the last year for my dog, Zookie. I got married and brought this new person into our home. She has fully accepted him. So much so that he believes she is training him to be her servant. Zookie

Page 11 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 LDN Staff Pet Pics! Devyn Fry Bella & Pickles The car ride on the day we brought Bella’s (left) new sister Pickles (right) home. “This last year was huge for my family: my partner Gabe and I adopted a six year old pug (who we named Pickles) for our 10 year old girl, Bella. Bella and Pickles have gotten to experience various community events and Bella’s 10th birthday bash together, but also Bella got the chance to teach Pickles how to be a dog. In the kitchen, our puggies love to watch Pepper and bark at squirrels in their special window seat, which we've named "The Pugkin Patch." I got to build it with my Grandpa, who is also head over heels for these pups.

Page 12 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 LDN Staff Pet Pics! Devyn Fry Our bearded dragon Pepper has her own window seat fit for a queen, but when the weather is nice we set her up outside to enjoy the warm sunshine. Pepper

Page 13 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 LDN Staff Pet Pics! Chassidy White Gemma is a small chihuahua mix who thinks she’s as big as a pitbull! Raised alongside pitbulls she makes it known she rules the roost! She loves to go anywhere and everywhere with the family. She is pictured here with the Peoria Chiefs mascot rooting them on at a baseball game, as well as enjoying some ice cream on a hot summer’s day. Gemma Jean

Page 14 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 LDN Staff Pet Pics! Chassidy White Tritan Being just a young pup still, Tritan is full of energy! Living on the farm he gets the freedom to run and play! He is learning to hunt with my husband, and loves all the kiddos in his house!

Page 15 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 LDN Staff Pet Pics! Jeff Wyles Ellie Ellie came to me in the summer of 2020. She needed a place to live and I happened to have one. We have been the best of friends ever since. She loves her “babies” and going to visit her Grandma & Grandpa.

Page 16 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 By Angela Reiners In November 2022, Willow Merritt got a service dog named Aspen, which has help her immensely. How it all began Seven-year-old Willow often struggles with feeling calm due to a sensory processing disorder. Willow lives with her mom Jodie, dad John and older sister Aera. Her mother Jodie said Willow enjoys activities like climbing anything she can, playing soccer and tumbling. Willow also enjoys going to school, spending time with grandparents and playing games with family. However, activities that involve being in crowded places can cause Willow great stress. Since Willow was an infant, one coping mechanism has been pulling out her hair. In recent years, she was diagnosed with Trichotillomania, which is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition as a “hair pulling disorder currently classified under ObsessiveCompulsive and Related Disorders.” Therapies have helped Willow in various areas, but unfortunately, none had reduced her hair pulling. How Aspen and Willow are growing up together healthier and happier Then one day a couple years ago, the family was at a flea market, one of Willow’s least favorite places. Willow saw a woman and her dog standing near them and calmly asked if she could pet the dog. The lady quickly said yes. Before the Merritt’s knew it, Willow was lying in the Standard Poodle’s thick fur. Her parents said it was the most relaxed they had seen Willow act in a crowd. Willow stayed that way for about ten minutes and the owner encouraged her to relax as the rest of the family enjoyed the flea market stands nearby. Finally, the Merritts told Willow it was time to let the owner enjoy the flea market, but Jodie said Willow had a completely different demeanor after the experience. Later in the day, the family saw the dog again and the owner told Willow she could pet the dog some more. Jodie started talking to the owner, and found out that the dog, named Truly, was a retired service dog. The woman told Jodie she could tell by Truly and Willow’s connection there was something special about Willow. Upon hearing Willow’s story, Truly’s owner said she believed a service dog could be a huge help to Willow. As the family walked away, Jodie said she and John both thought: “this encounter was not a coincidence.” A special bond between a little girl and her service dog Continued --

Page 17 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 They began researching how to get a service dog for Willow, initially working with a local non-profit that trains service dogs and gives them to families at no charge. The family hoped it would work, but the agency changed their minds towards the end of the application process. Though disheartened, the Merritt family soon found a psychiatric service dog organization and met Aspen, a 13-week-old Sheepdog Poodle mix bred with the intention of becoming a psychiatric service dog. As they shared the story with the organization, Jodie said they became even more confident getting a service dog would be the best move. First, though, they needed to raise funds to attain a service dog through this organization. The total costs for the dog, training, long term support and other items would be $17,000. The family started a GoFundMe Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. Within days of posting the campaign on their Facebook and sharing Willow’s story on WAND news, the family had raised the money. Aspen joined the family on November 26, 2022, and quickly became part of the family. An update on Willow and Aspen After spending several months with the family and getting acclimated to their routines, Aspen had to complete specialized training. Over the summer, Aspen went through ten weeks of specialized training to work on socially acceptable behaviors and obedience training. Jodie says socially acceptable behavior is important for a service dog because it needs to be able to be in social situations and act appropriately. It shouldn’t sniff people walking by or lick food off the floor. It shouldn’t bark if startled. She was also trained on specific commands. At the end of her 10 weeks away, the Merritts joined her for certified handlers training. Continued --

Page 18 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Before being officially certified, Willow, her parents, and Aspen had to complete the Public Access Test after training with Aspen for 3 days. This training included eating at a restaurant where Aspen had to lie under the table and not react to people walking by or sniff/eat food off the floor, walking through a store keeling and following commands given. Aspen also had to walk past “Diesel Row” in the back of the parking lot where semis park and leave them running. It’s noisy, and the purpose of this test is for Aspen to show that she can obey her handler even in a stressful and distracting environment. Finally, Aspen had to complete recalls and other outdoor testing to further show that she could manage being in different environments while remaining obedient to her handler. Typically, when a child is having a service dog trained, the parent takes the Public Access Test as he or she will be the primary handler of the dog. The trainers were so impressed with Willow’s ability that Jodie said they had her complete most of the Public Access Test, anything she didn’t do on her own, she did alongside her dad. Willow is the youngest to have ever completed the test with this training organization. Handling Aspen gave Willow a place to put all of her energy and angst making situations that used to be difficult for her so much easier. Continued --

Page 19 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 There are many ways Aspen has been helpful for Willow. Jodie said Aspen is most helpful publicly when the family is traveling and goes to different appointments. Her primary purpose is actually at home. Aspen provides sensory input to help settle Willow’s nervous system in a variety of ways but especially when she is falling asleep at night. Having Aspen has brought big changes to Willow. For example, Jodie said Willow has so much more confidence when she is handling Aspen. It gives a place for her nervous energy to focus. She walks differently -- it’s really beautiful to witness. One way Aspen has helped Willow is by helping her feel more comfortable and confident. Willow has started back at Occupational Therapy, and Jodie said they have been encouraged by how much more comfortable she is at these appointments. When Willow previously went to occupational therapy appointments, Jodie said “every 40 minute drive was miserable, and Willow was tense for every appointment.” Because of how tense Willow was, Jodie “felt they could never help her fully because she wasn’t even close Continued --

Page 20 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 to herself…which made it difficult for therapists to really understand her and help us add tools to our toolbox.” Now, Jodie said Willow is completely herself because she has Aspen by her side. She is able to learn alongside us as we learn more about Sensory Processing Disorder and how we can help her body get what it needs in moments of difficulty. As Jodie said, “Aspen isn’t going to stop Willow’s Trichotillomania, and that’s not really why we have her.” What Aspen does is to empower Willow to be herself so she can get more out of her appointments. Willow and Aspen have a special bond and make quite a pair.

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Page 22 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 By Lesleigh Bennett Paws Giving Independence (PGI) is a nonprofit organization founded by a group of students at Bradley University in Peoria in 2008. Bradley had a competition in the fall of 2008 called Project Springboard. Paws Giving Independence took third place in that competition and has been growing ever since. The founders realized after working with a group of service dogs in the Chicago area that Central Illinois could benefit from such an organization. Both founders had a background in service dog training and were well aware of the health benefits associated with service dog programs through work in the medical field. PGI exists to train service dogs to physically assist people with various disabilities. Many of the dogs that are trained within the program come from local rescues and organizations right here in Central Illinois. Dogs are taught to perform tasks for their owners, such as opening doors, turning on lights, picking up dropped items and other tasks that would be difficult for people with limited ability to perform without assistance. Pause to read about Paws Giving Independence The goal of Paws Giving Independence is to bring together the disabled and non-disabled communities. These dogs provide support, love, and a sense of independence for their owners. An incredible fact about Paws Giving Independence is that they place service dogs free of charge! Similar organizations charge in the tens of thousands for a well-trained service dog. Your donations, public endowments, and the generosity of Central Illinois and the surrounding areas keeps PGI going. The Founders Michelle Yuen, Director of Animal Intake and Care, co-founded Paws Giving Independence in 2008. She began training dogs in 2000 and her early work focused on behavior and training of shelter dogs. She has since trained dogs in agility, obedience, therapy work, and other service-related activities. She completed her internship with a Chicago based service dog program in 2006 and has continued her Continued --

Page 23 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 work. She has a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy and works as a pediatric physical therapist. She has spearheaded many Animal Assisted Therapy Programs. Brandi Weyers, Director of Fundraising and Accounting co-founded Paws Giving Independence in 2008. She grew up in the Chicago area and moved to Peoria to study nursing at Bradley. She knew from an early age that she wanted to help people. In 2007, Brandi volunteered with a service dog organization in Chicago that trained dogs for assisting with wheelchairs and mobility. She graduated nursing school, married her college sweetheart, and continues to work with service dogs. Types of Dogs Paws Giving Independence mainly focuses on three types of service dogs. Skilled Facilitator Assistance Service Dogs These service dogs help people with disabilities or developmental delays and the parent/caregiver is certified to handle the dog. This type of dog is not certified to attend school with the individual. To qualify for this type of service dog a family member will handle the dog when it accompanies the individual in public places. Facility Service Dog These dogs are trained to perform tasks at a facility, such as a hospital or nursing home. In order to apply for a facility dog you must be employed at the facility for at least 30 hours a week and have direct client contact. The service dog must live in the home of the handler and not at the facility. Some facilities that have had dogs placed are pediatric outpatient rehab centers, veteran’s outpatient rehab centers, schools, juvenile residential homes, and nursing homes. Service Dogs These dogs help by performing tasks for a person with limited ability. The applicant must be able to handle the dog independently in all public settings. Some areas that PGI trains service dogs for are mobility impairments (wheelchair, unstable walking, balance difficulties), medical response (seizures, epilepsy),visual impairment, hearing impairment, other physical disabilities. Sometimes a dog fails as a service animal due to health problems or inconsistency in public. PGI will disclose why the dog did not pass the program. These dogs are available to be adopted as family pets. This dog is not certified to work as a service dog or emotional support dog. Continued --

Page 24 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 How To Apply Step 1: Complete the Online Inquiry Form If more information is needed after you fill out the form, you will be emailed an application and a medical form. The application must be hand signed and PGI will respond within four weeks. Step 2: The team will review the application and a veterinary check will be done on all the animals in your home and those offering personal references will be contacted. Step 3: If PGI feels that you would be a good fit then a telephone interview is scheduled. If the telephone interview leads the team to believe you would be a good candidate then a home visit is scheduled. Step 4: Information is presented to the PGI Board of Directors and a decision will be made based on if it is felt that a dog would be a good match for you. Step 5: Once you reach this stage you are added to the waiting list and begin working towards completing 25 hours of training at PGI in Peoria. Step 6: You will complete 25 training hours, a workshop, and complete at least three successful home passes with a potential service dog match. There will be a follow up and re-certification in six months. Step 7: The service dog is placed in your care Step 8: Continued training is required for the service dog’s life. How to Volunteer Volunteers are a vital part of PGI’s ability to offer service dogs to those in need at no cost. If you are interested in being a part of a very important program in Central Illinois, you are encouraged to volunteer. You can apply online to volunteer in several capacities. You will learn to handle and train in weekly classes and work with dogs as they learn skills. You can be a general volunteer, a dog/puppy sitter (short-term sitting if handler is out of town), a furlough trainer (have a helping paws dog for one week once a month), puppy raiser, foster home, transition trainer, or be involved in fundraising and public events. Lincoln native, Lindy Belley is a volunteer and helps PGI with furloughs, fostering, and training. Lindy has shared her home with a few PGI dogs now and looks forward to many more. Donna Kosner is the Director of Community Outreach, Education, and Applications. She has been with Paws Giving Independence since 2010. Donna became involved with a local rescue in 2003 and fostered 100 dogs and puppies over five years. She is passionate about animal rescue. Donna is licensed in early education and has worked in a variety of settings. Donna recently shared with LDN how Paws Giving Independence is making an impact Continued --

Page 25 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 right here in Lincoln. A State of Illinois Program with the Department of Corrections partners with PGI and the ladies of Logan Correctional train dogs for PGI and another program like it in the Chicago area. Training is supplied to the ladies and the dogs to train are supplied. The ladies of Logan Correctional learn a trade and the dogs of PGI receive socialization, training, love, and hours towards their certification process. Paws giving Independence is a 501 C 3 corporation and all donations are tax deductible. This program is completely run on donations. They are unique because there is no paid staff and the dogs are placed free of charge, that means they rely on people like us to continue to keep the program running. For more information please go to www.pawsgivingindependence.org

Page 26 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 By Lesleigh Bennett Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s) are animals that have been recommended and or recognized by a doctor and appointed to provide assistance. These animals are different from service animals. Federal law defines an ESA as a pet. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that an animal that provides emotional comfort is not recognized as a service animal. A service animal is defined by the ADA as a “dog that is individually trained to work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Emotional Support Animals differ from service animals in that service animals go through a rather rigorous training program to learn to provide support for a specific ailment. Some common conditions that qualify for a service animal include autism, blindness, asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy. Most service animals are limited to a particular breed, but Emotional Support Animals come from a wide range of critters. These Emotional Support Animals are used to treat issues like depression, anxiety, phobias, and other psychological or emotional difficulties. Any type of animal or breed can qualify as an Emotional Support Animal if it provides you comfort. Emotional Support Animals: what are they, and could your pet qualify as one? Types of Emotional Support Animals The most common Emotional Support Animals are dogs and cats, but animals such as parrots, bunnies, ferrets, and hedgehogs can qualify as Emotional Support Animals too. As you are selecting the type of animal that would benefit you, take into account your personal preferences and living situation. Housing with Emotional Support Animals According to federal law and the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) it is illegal to discriminate against someone with a recognized impairment. This law relates to Emotional Support Animals because it means that housing rights must be given to those animals. A “no pets” policy must be considered void, and the landlords must make reasonable accommodations for Emotional Support Animals, however there are some exceptions. A private club does not have to accept Emotional Support Animals. A landlord occupied dwelling with four or less rental units, and a single-family dwelling that is rented also does not have to accept Emotional Support Animals. Public dwellings such as dorms and public housing facilities must abide by the FHAA as long as it does not supersede public health recommendations. For instance, some states have regulations that prohibit dogs in swimming pools, including emotional support and service animals. Traveling with Emotional Support Animals The “Air Carrier Act” used to ensure that Emotional Support Animals could fly in the cabin of the airplane for free. The law has since been updated and now Emotional Continued --

Page 27 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Support Animals are treated as regular pets by the airlines. You will be charged a fee for your ESA to fly with you and if your pet is larger than what is allowed in the cabin of the airplane then they may be required to ride in cargo. Service Animals are always allowed to fly with you for free. Hotels have the right to make their own determinations about Emotional Support Animals, so before you travel check out the hotel’s website. Airbnb sites used to allow ESAs in their properties free of charge. Now, the law has changed, and they can charge a free or not allow your ESA at all. Making your Emotional Support Animal Official It is always smart to have documentation to support your claims. Registering your Emotional Support Animal with US Service Animals will allow you to provide a certificate of registration to airlines, hotels, and other essential spaces. You will also get an official Emotional Support Animal vest, ID tag, and become part of the largest support animal and Emotional Support Animal database in the United States. There are fees involved with legally registering your pet as an Emotional Support Animal. If you are thinking of registering your animal, be aware of scams. It is crucial to realize that registering your Emotional Support Animal shouldn’t be too easy. There is more involved than paying a fee and printing a certificate, many of which are not recognized as official. It is essential to speak to a board-certified physician, receive a diagnosis that would qualify you to have an ESA, and then receive written documentation from that physician. Also be aware that you will need to update that certification with a board-certified physician every year, there is no such thing as a lifetime certification. Emotional Support Animals can be an important part of the life of a person with mental or emotional conditions. When people who do not have the disability misuse the system by misrepresenting their pets as Emotional Support Animals to obtain special privileges, they undermine the importance of the accommodations made for individuals in legitimate need of assistance. Please, take the time to research all of the options, advantages, and disadvantages to registering your pet as an Emotional Support Animal. Sources: https://www.usserviceanimals.org https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/ everything-about-emotional-support-animals/

Page 28 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 By Angela Reiners If you struggle with daily tasks due to health issues, disabilities, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) you might want to consider getting a service dog. In her article, “Do I qualify for a service dog? These are the requirements you should know about,” Gabrielle LaFrank says, “If you’re curious whether you or a loved one qualify for a service dog, you must qualify as having a disability as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA): “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.” Should I consider getting a service dog? Continued --

Page 29 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 The ADA does not specify any conditions. However, the ADA registry site says, “Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs and even Therapy Dogs can benefit people with disabilities associated with many diagnoses.” These include “Arthritis Ataxia (poor balance), Autism, Blindness or Impaired Vision, Deafness or Impaired Hearing, Diabetes, Cardio/Pulmonary Disease, Cerebral Palsy, Physical mobility Issues, Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.), Psychiatric Disabilities and Seizure Disorder (Epilepsy).” As LaFrank says, “Title II and III of the Americans With Disabilities Act describe service animals as those who “have been specifically trained to perform a task for the person with a disability.” Because these dogs are trained to do certain tasks, they are allowed to accompany their owners in most public spaces. The tasks these dogs perform depend on the needs of the person. Therefore, there are various types of service dogs. For instance, a guide dog, also known as a seeing eye dog, helps people who are blind or visually impaired “navigate their surroundings.” For hearing impaired people, service dogs can alert owners to sounds they cannot hear. An alert dog is another type of service animal. LaFrank says, “Though their exact detection skills vary by individual, an alert dog is trained to detect and alert their person of a substance that could be harmful to their health. There are diabetic alert dogs who can detect glucose, gluten alert dogs, and even seizure alert dogs.” Additionally, LaFrank says, “There are many other services a licensed dog can perform, from mobility assistance (providing support for a person to hold onto as they stand) or psychiatric service to daily tasks around the home. These all help an individual with a disability find more confidence and independence, no matter what difference they otherwise face.” The ADA National Network site on service animals and emotional support animals explains how these animals assist those with disabilities or other diagnoses. For instance, the site says, a psychiatric service dog “has been trained to perform tasks that assist individuals with disabilities to detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and lessen their effects.” These tasks may include “reminding the handler to take medicine, providing safety checks or room searches, or turning on lights for persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, interrupting self-mutilation by persons with dissociative identity disorders, and keeping disoriented individuals from danger.” Continued --

Page 30 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 A sensory signal dog or social signal dog is “trained to assist an autistic person or their caregiver. These dogs are trained to do a variety of social or sensory tasks based on the needs of the individual. For example, a dog might cue a person to pay attention to street crossings and crosswalks when walking to their job.” Additionally, “a dog might listen for a parent calling a child’s name and guide the parent to the child.” Seizure Response Dogs are “trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder. How the dog serves the person depends on the person’s needs. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure, or the dog may go for help. A few dogs have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance to sit down or move to a safe place.” Steps for Applying for a Service Dog If you think you may qualify for a service dog, there are several steps you must follow. The Service Dogs for America site says, “The first step in applying for a service dog from Service Dogs for America (SDA) is to fill out and submit the preliminary application.” Before you submit a preliminary application, you should make sure you meet certain eligibility requirements. For example, you need to make sure you meet the age requirements. SDA says Those applying for “Mobility and Seizure Response” need to be “12 years of age or older and possess the physical and developmental capacity to handle a service dog independently.” Those applying for assistance with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder “must be 21 years of age or older.” If you have a medical need, you must be able to verify it. At times, a letter from a doctor may be needed. If you have PTSD, “you must have an official PTSD diagnosis from a qualified and licensed mental health professional, be actively engaged in therapy for the PTSD diagnosis, for a minimum of one (1) year, and maintain compliance with therapeutic recommendations.” Applicants need to be able to show they can “demonstrate proficiency in handling a service dog at home and in a variety of public environments.” Additionally, they must be able to oversee “the dog’s safety, behavior and working skills.” Applicants are also “required to supply proof of financial resources sufficient for the care of a service dog, including veterinarian care.” Continued --

Page 31 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 The National Service Animal Registry says, “Initial costs for adopting a service dog can range between $10,000 and $30,000.” For some dogs, the costs may be “up to 50,000 dollars, depending on the type of skills they are trained to perform. This high upfront cost is due to the amount of training and specialized care that is put in to raising the service dog and teaching them to perform highly specialized tasks.” After the initial costs, the registry says you should expect to spend about $1200 a year on the care of the dogs. Do not let the high costs deter you, though, because some places provide service dogs for little or no costs. For instance, the organization Paws With a Cause “provides no-cost service dogs trained to deal with a variety of medical conditions to individuals across the United States.” If you have gone through all the steps and are approved for a service dog, LaFrank says “the real search begins. If you’re looking for an Emotional Support Animal, though, you won’t need to find a specifically trained dog — any canine companion counts! For true service dogs, though, you’ll want to locate and contact a service dog provider or nonprofit.” It may take a while to find the best dog for your needs, so patience is important. This patience usually pays off. As LaFrank says, “Despite the long wait and even longer adjustment period, taking the time to register for and meet a service dog can be a lifechanging decision for everyone involved. Not only does a talented canine get a home and a job to keep them feeling fulfilled, but their owner can gain a sense of independence and joy that only a dog can bring.” Service dogs can truly enhance and improve a person’s daily life with all the assistance they provide. About Service Dogs for America. https://www. servicedogsforamerica.org/ LaFrank, Gabrielle. “Do I qualify for a service dog? These are the requirements you should know about.” 30 June 2022. https://www. pawtracks.com/dogs/qualify-for-servicedog/#dt-heading-what-do-i-need-to-do-toqualify-for-a-service-animal USA Service Animals. https:// usserviceanimals.org/blog/service-dog-cost/ Frequently Asked Assistance Dog Questions. https://assistancedogregistrycomlaw_infor mation/

Page 32 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 No Problem! Just go Hypoallergenic! Pet Allergies?

Page 33 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 By Matt Boutcher While the entirety of this magazine has to do with pets, the reality is that a significant portion of people have allergies to the more traditional pets, such as cats and dogs. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) reports that allergies to dogs and cats affect anywhere between ten and twenty percent of the world’s population. The AAFA continues by stating that these allergies aren’t just limited to dogs and cats, but any animal with fur. The AAFA reports that “even rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, and horses can cause allergy symptoms.” Some people can even be allergic to animals with feathers. This being the case, this not insignificant portion of the population may see a magazine such as this one and feel there is nothing in it for them. This, however, is not the case, as there are plenty of pets out there that are hypoallergenic. To start, what is an allergy and why are some people allergic to things that others are not? According to the Mayo Clinic, “allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance… that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people.” These reactions can range from something as minor as a small irritation to anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis, for those unfamiliar with the term, is an allergic reaction so severe that it could be life-threatening. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), when a person with allergies is exposed to the thing they are allergic to, their immune system releases antibodies. These antibodies then travel to cells that release chemicals that cause the allergic reaction. Since allergies are so unique, with different people reacting differently to different allergens, it’s difficult to say exactly what causes them. The AAAAI states, “it is not yet fully understood why some substances trigger allergies and others do not, nor why some people have allergic reactions and others do not.” Since allergies are so specific to the individual, it stands to reason that there should be plenty of pets for people with allergies. Likely one of the most popular hypoallergenic pets is the Hairless or Sphynx cat. While it is commonly believed that this breed of cat is fully hypoallergenic, that’s only partly true. One of the more common things people are allergic to in cats is a protein found in their saliva called “Fel d 1.” According to the Smithsonian Magazine, when a cat grooms itself, the Fel d 1 protein dries on their fur and becomes airborne. While it is true that, due to their hairless nature, Sphynx cats produce less airborne Fel d 1, they likely produce just as much of this protein in their saliva as any other cat breed. According to several sources, there may be cat breeds that produce less Fel d 1 protein than other cats. These breeds may include the Sphynx as well as the Siberian, Balinese, Devon Rex, and Cornish Rex. The unfortunate reality for cats, however, is that there is no true hypoallergenic cat. In addition to their saliva, irritants can be found in a cat’s skin cells and urine as well. Cats with shorter hair, however, seem to be less likely to cause reactions in people who are allergic to them. What about dogs? While they do not release the Fel d 1 protein, dogs do release their own salivary proteins called “Can f 1” and “Can f 2.” To make Continued --

Page 34 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 matters worse, like cats, their skin cells and urine can contain allergens as well. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), like cats, there are no dog breeds that are 100% hypoallergenic. There may be some breeds that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than others. Dogs that drool a lot, such as a Bloodhound, may not be the best choice for someone with an allergy to dogs. Also, dog breeds that don’t shed as much as others may be a good choice. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a long list of dogs they claim to be “hypoallergenic,” and you can see that list here - Hypoallergenic Dogs – Page 3 of 3 – American Kennel Club (akc.org) Keep in mind that, as the AKC states on the website, no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic. A dog that works for one person’s allergies may not for another. If you are allergic to the pet you own and love If you have a cat or dog and are allergic, the ACAAI states the best way to manage your symptoms is to remove the animal from your home. If this is not an option for you, or if you’d prefer to keep the animal, there are a few things you can do to help mitigate the allergens in the air. Firstly, you can limit the animal to only a few rooms in the house and keep them away from central living spaces. Next, somewhat obviously, the ACAAI recommends not hugging or kissing the animal, and to wash your hands if you touch them. They also state that you can purchase a HEPA air filter, and that over time, the amount of allergens in the air may start to decrease. Using a high-efficiency vacuum can help to reduce the allergen levels as well. Finally, giving your dog or cat a bath once a week can help with airborne allergens. Other pet options Well then, we seem to be out of options. If you’re allergic to cats, dogs, or worse, both, then what hope do you have to be able to have a pet? While dogs are the number one most popular pet to have in the United States, followed closely behind by cats, these two types of pets are by no means your only options. Fish are one type of pet that may be much more hypoallergenic than a dog or a cat. While there are people with fish allergies, foodallergy.org reports that only about one percent of the population is allergic to fish, and this is when eating them. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website describes fish as “great pets for people with allergies.” The only real problem when keeping a fish that Continued --

Page 35 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 could lead to an allergic reaction is mold in the fish tank. Should you give your fish tank the required maintenance that it needs, however, this shouldn’t really be an issue. Turtles and tortoises are another great choice for people with allergies. Similarly to fish, these creatures require proper tank maintenance to reduce the risk of mold. Human sensitivity to turtles and tortoises is rare. Those who are allergic will likely have a reaction when touching the animal, as their bodies react to the proteins the animal transfers onto their skin. Snakes, frogs, lizards, and other reptiles can be a safe option as well for many of the same reasons as turtles and tortoises. While people can be allergic to any of these animals, cases of allergic reactions to them are much rarer. If you are the poor unfortunate soul reading this article who is allergic to every pet mentioned thus far no matter how aquatic or hairless, don’t fret. There is one final sure-fire pet that is (almost) guaranteed to not cause an allergic reaction. That pet is, of course, a pet rock! Popular in the 1980’s, these easy to care for pets can still be purchased online. In all seriousness, there are many alternative pet options for people with allergies. Due to the unique nature of allergies, and the fact that not all animals cause every person to exhibit allergic reactions, finding the pet that works for you and your allergies needs to be more trial and error. Armed with this knowledge, however, you may have more luck finding a pet that won’t aggravate your allergies. Sources: 1. https://aafa.org/allergies/types-of-allergies/ pet-dog-cat-allergies/ 2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/syc20351497 3. https://www.aaaai.org/tools-for-the-public/ conditions-library/allergies/allergic-reactions 4. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/sciencenature/theres-no-such-thing-hypoallergeniccat-180968819/ 5. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergicconditions/pet-allergies/ 6. https://www.foodallergy.org/living-foodallergies/food-allergy-essentials/commonallergens/fish 7. https://safetyservices.ucdavis.edu/units/ occupational-health/surveillance-system/ zoonotic-diseases/turtles

Page 36 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 BEST EXPRESSION Each winner received a $50 gift card courtesy of Farm & Home Supply, pet toys from Lincoln Daily News, and for the pet parents, two Lincoln Daily News ceramic coffee mugs. Tempe Owned by Ethan & Kayle States Pictured with Farm & Home Store Manager Rick Wilson and Chassidy White with Lincoln Daily News.

Page 37 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 BEST EXPRESSION Pet Name: Bailey Sparks Owner Name: Wes and Erica Sparks Pet name: Alec Owner: Tom Romer “Noble Beast!” Pet Name: Lucifer Owner Name: Emma Rodgers Dog name: Pearl (the bat dog) Owner: Jodi Deters

Page 38 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Pet Name: Ryker Owner Name: Devon Osborne Pet Name: Piper Owner Name: Kenda Colby BEST EXPRESSION Pet Name: Winston Owner name: Lily Koehl Pet Name: Not listed Pet Owner: Martin Hullinger

Page 39 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Pet Name: Miss Lucy Pet Owner: Carol Utterback Miss Lucy chilling out with mom on the bed. Pet names: (L) Zahah (R) Piper Four-year-old bull terrier sisters. Pet Owners: Michelle Robinson Pet Name: Prince and Jazz Pet Owner: Nichole Royall BEST EXPRESSION

Page 40 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 BEST EXPRESSION Pet Name: Bandit aka Larry Pet Owner: Michelle Robinson He is a two-year old Beagle Kab that loves having his picture taken! Pet Name: Daisy Mae Pet Owner: Brandy White Pet name: Angus Pet Owner: Misty Bell Name: Ripken Dean Young (Boston Terrier, age 4) Pet Owner: Emilie Young

Page 41 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Pet name: Joey Pet Owner: Chad and Casey Kerns This is our girl, Joey Kerns, who just turned 15 in October! BEST EXPRESSION Pet Name: Minx Pet Owner: Patty Noonan Pet Name: Emma Pet Owner: Nichole Royall Pet Name: Nacho Pet Owner: Amy Davenport

Page 42 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 BEST EXPRESSION Pet Name: Nacho Pet Owner Chris Davenport Pet Name: Cash Pet Owner: Hunter & Kyle Schmitz Pet Name: Rudy (black dog) Pet Owner: Kim Morris Pet Name: Apollo Pet Owner: Roger & Deniece Saylor

Page 43 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Pet Name: Olly (black & white dog) Pet Owner: Kim Morris Pet Name: Tempe Pet Owner: Ethan and Kayla States BEST EXPRESSION Pet Name: Daisy Pet Owner: Casey and Caitlin Lore Pet Name: Maggie Pet Owner: Melanie Blankenship She loves to travel!

Page 44 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 BEST EXPRESSION Pet Name: Quinn Pet Owner: Melanie Blankenship Pet Name: Ozzie Pet Owners: Chris & Phyllis Graue Pet Name: Jack and Gertie Pet Owners: Miles and Angela Craig

Page 45 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Pet Name: Shelby Pet Owners: Dan & Lori Langley Pet name: Lucy Pet Owner: Maggie Madole Pet Name: Judge Judy Pet Owner: Kim Huynh BEST EXPRESSION

Page 46 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Caught In The Act Each winner received a $50 gift card courtesy of Farm & Home Supply, pet toys from Lincoln Daily News, and for the pet parents, two Lincoln Daily News ceramic coffee mugs. Ace Owned by Kathleen Redemaker & Dusty Ersye Ace is “our 4 year old lab mix hound from New Holland” Pictured with Farm & Home Assistant Store Manager Bob Rankin.

Page 47 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Caught In The Act Pet Name: Dog Pet Owner: Pet Grandparent Misty Tackett Bell Pet Name: Winston Pet Owner: Lily Koehl Pet Name: Not listed Pet Owner: Martin Hullinger Pet Names: Bozley and Axl Pet Owners: Sharon Wright and Gary Warren

Page 48 2024 Animal Stories Lincoln Daily News February 2024 Pet Name: Reece Pet Owner: Seth Goodman/Gaynor Goodman Pet Name: Shimmer Pet Owner: Bret Aukamp Caught In The Act Pet Name: Reggie Pet Owner: Linda Auxier Pet Name: Daisy Mae Pet Owner: Brandy White