TBIs and Service Animals

Kyle Broussard
General Manager

Varro, Service dog and Olympian volunteer Photos Taken By Taylor Lemerand

Varro, Service dog and Olympian volunteer
Photos Taken By Taylor Lemerand

An injury often overlooked in American culture is starting to be recognized and emphasized here at Olympic College. In the beginning of June, multiple speakers were brought on campus for a multi-day seminar to engage and instruct on issues such as Traumatic Brain Injuries, the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animal laws, and tips on how to train new service animals.

Aimed primarily at veterans, this seminar was put on to help them understand and cope with some of the injuries they live with on a daily basis. Members from organizations such as the University of Washington, VetCorps and the Kitsap Animal Rescue and Humane Society met with veterans and their pups to try to lend a helping hand to those who have to live with these debilitating issues.

Much of the seminar was regarding service animals and their training. The entire second day of it was based around where and how to adopt, train and choose an appropriate service animal for each individual’s needs. They also went over the principles of not only owning, but cohabitating with their new service animals.

Dianne Canafax works for Kitsap Animal Rescue & Education (KARE) and has been working in animal training and rescue for decades. She is the owner of a service animal herself for multiple reasons. She shared personal stories of harassment and advice on how to handle people who do not understand the genuine necessity of a service animal for disabled people.

That, along with being taught about the laws regarding service animals and lessons from the traumatic brain injury seminar, gave these veterans a good picture of what to expect in their daily lives owning a service animal and taught them how to get the most out of their furry companions.

At the end of the day, many of the attendees were delighted to know that people understand their situation and are looking out for their best interests.