Area Service Dog Handlers Attend Virtual “Hands Around the Capitol” Webinars

Published online: Mar 01, 2021 Articles, Lifestyle
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IDAHO FALLS -- Service dog handlers in east Idaho, including Lindsey Andreasky, a student at BYU-Idaho, are participating in an online series designed for disabled and non-disabled service dog handlers in the state. An upcoming portion of the series discussing etiquette when encountering service dog teams will also be open to the public.

The series, “Service Dog Advocacy,” is part of Idaho’s “Hands Across the Capitol” celebration, honoring 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act at Idaho’s state capitol in Boise. The webinar roundtable discussions were organized by disability advocates from the Northwest ADA Center, the Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities, and Idaho Service Dog Advocates. 

Andreasky relies on Kismet, her standard poodle service dog, while attending her “dream college,” BYU-Idaho, as a music major. Andreasky, an Arizona native, met a local group of disabled and non-disabled service dog handlers in east Idaho on Facebook. The group trains their “pack” each week in Idaho Falls with between four and eight teams hailing from cities in the region ranging from Rexburg to Pocatello. 

Service dogs are trained for unique and specific tasks to help their handlers mitigate aspects of their disabilities so that they may go about their daily lives as normally as possible. In Andreasky’s case, Kismet is task trained to help Lindsey recognize and cope with stressful environments and situations. He can guide her to an exit or her car when she is too overwhelmed to do so herself. He also knows how to find a “safe place” in a corner or against a wall for Lindsey when she needs to gather her bearings. 

Cheryl Bloom, Eagle, will be one of the leaders of the online discussion. Bloom volunteers almost full-time as a disability advocate. As a service dog handler herself, she was instrumental in helping rebuild Idaho’s outdated service dog statutes in 2019. 

The upcoming Service Dog Advocacy workshop will be held on March 3 at 1:30 p.m. via Zoom. The online training is free. Registration is required. To register for a spot at this free online training, visit this link.

During the webinar, there will be a general “etiquette” discussion for members of the public and businesses. Service dog handlers will also be given advice based on the Americans with Disabilities Act and Idaho's service dog statutes for how to handle denials of access in places open to the general public. 

East Idaho Service Dog Advocates is an Idaho Falls-based group that brings together disabled and non-disabled service dog handlers with the public for increased understanding and accessibility.

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