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  1. #21

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    Thank you!

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manfire View Post
    How about going through the Smokies, Shennies, and Baxter?
    No problem at Baxter, leashed service dogs are welcome.
    The terrain of the rock scrambles on the Hunt Trails, though, good luck with that!
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    No problem at Baxter, leashed service dogs are welcome.
    The terrain of the rock scrambles on the Hunt Trails, though, good luck with that!
    Yeah, there would be plenty of trails in Baxter which a dog would have no problem with, but going up the Hunt trail is not one of them. But if you managed to get him through the Mahoosucs, then maybe you'd have a chance.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #24
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manfire View Post



    Hello,
    I haven’t been on this site since 2005 when I hiked the A.T. Anyways, I am planning another thru-hike in year 2020, but this time with my legitimate service dog. Not an Emotional support dog and not a therapy dog either, a service dog. I am a disabled veteran with PTSD and legal blindness. I know the ADA laws, but I can still get hassled when I am traveling with him. Even though it is illegal to denied services/rooms etc… because of Hondo (my service dog’s name), I still try to avoid these confrontational situations as it can really trigger my PTSD. I’d rather just not be where I Hondo and I are not welcomed. This post isn’t about my concern about etiquette while in the woods wit him. I will be avoiding crowed shelters, having him on leash at all times, mostly staying in a tent, etc… My concern is coming into town and getting hassled by hostels and local services. Has anyone hiked with a service dog before? or any dog and what type of issues arose? I was thinking of writting a letter to some of the business ahead of time that I plan on staying at and asking if it will be a problem fro them. There is nothing like getting to a town while being tired and hungry and not having a comfy place to stay to do “town business”

    IF interested: Hondo was trained by Southeastern Guide Dogs in FL for 2 years before I flew down to meet him and train with him for 12 days on their campus before bring him home. I didn’t name him. One of the ways the organization raises money is that people donate $5K to name a dog. So, he is named after a donors favorite John Wayne movie.
    Thank you for your service!

    I do not personally have experience hiking with a service dog, but I remember there used to be (I don't know if he still visits the site) a man on this site who does have personal experience with taking his service dog on the tail. He is a veteran, who also has PTSD...and originally came to this site to work out the logistics for his hike. He started with his service dog in 2016, but I don't know if he ended up finishing with his dog. However, he might be a good source of information for you.

    He went by the name "Bemental" on this site, but his trail name is Good Man Gramps. His website is: http://www.bemental.me/ and there is a "Contact" section. He might be a good source for specific questions.

  5. #25

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    It would probably be helpful to understand the typical business owner's point of view. That seems to be missing from these posts. I am aware that legally they have no choice, but it can often be easier to work with people if you understand what motivates them. Landlords often disallow pets because of their past experience with the very real costs associated with pets being on carpets, etc. To approach them with no respect for this can easily ruffle their feathers. Maybe, "He'll be getting a bath before he even goes inside", etc. would go a long way.

    Good luck on your hike.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Water Rat View Post
    He went by the name "Bemental" on this site, but his trail name is Good Man Gramps. His website is: http://www.bemental.me/ and there is a "Contact" section. He might be a good source for specific questions.
    I don't see any pictures or mention of his dog on the AT thru hike, even at the start. He did take the dog on an AT section hike the year before and there are plenty of pictures of the dog on that trip, so it definitely looks like after that experience he decided to leave the dog home for the thru hike.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  7. #27
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I don't see any pictures or mention of his dog on the AT thru hike, even at the start. He did take the dog on an AT section hike the year before and there are plenty of pictures of the dog on that trip, so it definitely looks like after that experience he decided to leave the dog home for the thru hike.
    Maybe I got the section hike and the thru mixed up in my mind... I thought he started the thru with his dog, then finished without the dog. Regardless, he did take his service dog on the trail and remains a good source for answering questions regarding preparing the service dog for the trip, what he would do different, hurdles he encountered during the time the dog was on the trail, etc.

    While Bemental's situation was not quite the same as the OP's (Bemental doesn't have sight issues), I thought he might be a helpful resource for hiking with a service dog, veteran's hiking with PTSD, etc. If the OP is lucky, maybe Bemental might also be able to point him in the direction of other helpful resources specific to his needs.

  8. #28
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    It should be noted that while I do not know any of the details of Bemental's situation, when I Googled the general subject of ''service Animals for Vets with PTSD', the results indicated that these types of animals are typically 'emotional support' animals and there for do NOT qualify for rules regarding ADA and therefore would not be allowed in places such as GSMNP. To qualify as a service animal, the animal must be trained to perform some task for its human (lead a blind person, pickup dropped items that can't be reached by someone in a wheelchair, alert a sesure prone individual that the animal detects a sesure is starting, etc).

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    It should be noted that while I do not know any of the details of Bemental's situation, when I Googled the general subject of ''service Animals for Vets with PTSD', the results indicated that these types of animals are typically 'emotional support' animals and there for do NOT qualify for rules regarding ADA and therefore would not be allowed in places such as GSMNP. To qualify as a service animal, the animal must be trained to perform some task for its human (lead a blind person, pickup dropped items that can't be reached by someone in a wheelchair, alert a sesure prone individual that the animal detects a sesure is starting, etc).
    Well, for starters in his very first sentence he says he is legally blind. But good for you for proving the point, even after he clearly explained some of his physical issues, the dogs extensive service dog training, what he went through to get it and the fact that he is a bona fide service dog, you still question the validity.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    There is no permit for taking a service animal thru GSMNP... but from what I understand basted on past discussions here on WB, they follow ADA guidelines for service animals.
    It is as though the hiker-service dog are ONE. And, BTW, I have found that it never hurts to call ahead to establishments to let them know that you and Hondo (or Polly and I) will be arriving soon. Why not? It gives them a chance to "adjust" if there is a potential problem. It is all worth it to me.
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
    --Salaun

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketcher709 View Post
    Well, for starters in his very first sentence he says he is legally blind. But good for you for proving the point, even after he clearly explained some of his physical issues, the dogs extensive service dog training, what he went through to get it and the fact that he is a bona fide service dog, you still question the validity.
    I'm sorry if my opening line didn't make it clear... but my post regarding Bemental was NOT directed at the OP (at least I assume your use of the word 'He' as an indefinite reference was indeed a reference to the OP).
    The purpose of my post was to simply make sure no one mistakes the legal distinction between a service animal and an emotional support animal.
    As you say, the OP is clearly talking about a service animal that falls under the guide lines of the ADA. So it didn't make much sense to bring up Bemental's situation if my suppasition is correct... that Bemental's animal is an emotional support animal and not a service animal as defined by ADA guidelines.

  12. #32

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    I always remind those hiking with dogs insisting on bringing them into shelters...many hikers have severe dog allergies or phobias. Do not be shocked if you are told to put pooch outside.

  13. #33

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    Being ignorant about such topics, I have a question. How does one navigate on the trail with a service dog? Do dogs know to follow the white blaze? That seems like a stretch to me. Clearly such a thing is possible. I just don’t see how it would be foolproof enough to keep someone from going off-trail on such a long journey.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tundracamper View Post
    Being ignorant about such topics, I have a question. How does one navigate on the trail with a service dog? Do dogs know to follow the white blaze? That seems like a stretch to me. Clearly such a thing is possible. I just don’t see how it would be foolproof enough to keep someone from going off-trail on such a long journey.
    Here's info on the first guy to do so:
    https://christsfaithfulwitness.blogs...ight-true.html

    And the second:
    https://www.outsideonline.com/203676...oughest-trails

  15. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    It should be noted that while I do not know any of the details of Bemental's situation, when I Googled the general subject of ''service Animals for Vets with PTSD', the results indicated that these types of animals are typically 'emotional support' animals and there for do NOT qualify for rules regarding ADA and therefore would not be allowed in places such as GSMNP. To qualify as a service animal, the animal must be trained to perform some task for its human (lead a blind person, pickup dropped items that can't be reached by someone in a wheelchair, alert a sesure prone individual that the animal detects a sesure is starting, etc).
    First and foremost, a PTSD service dog is NOT an emotional support animal. They are 100% legit and legal service animals and legally must be treated as such. My credentials for knowing this? I'm a disabled veteran who spends all day every day with my GSD service dog and this is a subject I have both researched and lived thoroughly. My dog knows tasks in mobility, medical alert, and PTSD; BUT even if he only knew PTSD tasks he is still just as legit as any service dog. We spend most of our time outdoors but we still spend some time inside places of business occasionally and so I'm thorough on my knowledge of those protocols as well. That being said, personal comfort is not enough to qualify a dog as a service dog. To qualify to be an actual PTSD service dog, that dog must actually DO something to mitigate it. For example, when I sleep (usually in my hammock) I sleep with my hand laying on my dog's side. If I start moving around having a nightmare he takes my hand or shirt sleeve in his mouth and tugs at me until I wake up. Then he comes to me and nuzzles until I'm calm. Also, he has different sounds he makes (not loud sounds or barks, as he is trained to only bark if there is direct and proximate danger to me) to indicate different types of potential danger approaching camp. With my hand on his side I can feel these different vibrations and I know, without having to actually wake up, as things come within his smell and hearing range during the night, thus giving me a restful night's sleep free from the anxiety that used to come with closing my eyes. Those are examples of repeatable ptsd tasks but there are more.
    If anyone has additional questions on this topic I'll be glad to tell you what I know.
    Fair winds and happy trails friends!

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Lady View Post
    I always remind those hiking with dogs insisting on bringing them into shelters...many hikers have severe dog allergies or phobias. Do not be shocked if you are told to put pooch outside.
    Even as a disabled veteran who spends all day every day with my service dog, I agree that sleeping in a shelter with folks who are uncomfortable with it is kind of a a-hole move. I would never even put someone in the position of having to say they were uncomfortable to begin with, because I have enough common courtesy to not take my dog into a shelter full of people. I don't really care to sleep in the shelters anyway.
    That being said, if the situation was ever such that i HAD to share a shelter, I absolutely do have the legal right to do so. The ADA clearly states that fear, anxiety, allergies etc are NOT grounds to remove a service animal. If such a situation exists, it is the person with the alleged problem who must leave the area, not the disabled person and his service dog.
    Further, if I were somewhere in public and someone "asked me" to give them extra space and had a real good reason, I'd at least consider it, and even if circumstances were such that I couldn't oblige then I would at least be polite in my explanation as to why. But if someone TOLD me to 'put my dog outside' the most likely scenario is that they find themselves kicking rocks and seeking shelter elsewhere.

  17. #37
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    My understanding (i'm no expert) is that GSMNP does not allow dogs on it's section of the AT. I do not believe they make any exceptions. The OP should contact GSMNP directly on this issue for guidance. Additionally, I would suggest contacting Baxter SP as well. I would only rely on direct info from those sources. I am fairly sure SNP is OK with service dogs. I don't think there would be any other potential show stoppers. Good luck! I expect supports will far outweigh the few who might take issue with your plans.

    GSMNP: Here's what I would do: Use one of the listed services to house and transport your dog around the park. Accept what I would expect to be numerous offers from other hikers to assist you through the park. Problem solved.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igneouss View Post
    My understanding (i'm no expert) is that GSMNP does not allow dogs on it's section of the AT. I do not believe they make any exceptions. The OP should contact GSMNP directly on this issue for guidance. Additionally, I would suggest contacting Baxter SP as well. I would only rely on direct info from those sources. I am fairly sure SNP is OK with service dogs. I don't think there would be any other potential show stoppers. Good luck! I expect supports will far outweigh the few who might take issue with your plans.

    GSMNP: Here's what I would do: Use one of the listed services to house and transport your dog around the park. Accept what I would expect to be numerous offers from other hikers to assist you through the park. Problem solved.
    This sort of thing has been discussed in the forum in recent years and it's my understanding that because of ADA requirements, GSMNP does allow service animals. But as it's been pointed out in the discussions, this does not include emotional support animals and of the like. The ADA requires the animal to perform a task for the disabled individual. Those with TRUE trained service animals will likely know and understand the rules and regulations of the ADA as it applies to service animals, and it's only been in recent years the national Park service (in general) has started to follow the ADA guidelines in placesnitnused to restrict service animals.

  19. #39

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    As no expert on thru hikes or service animals the only thoughts I have is will the dog be able to get enough down time to do his duty when he is working? If the dog is always working when does it get to relax. As a human we need that downtime, it's is why many of us hike. As long as that can be worked out I personally love meeting well behaved dogs on the trail. I do at times have problems with owners but never with the dog. We know how much the trail can wear on humans just remember that the dog is hiking and working at the same time. Once that is worked out you will hopefully have a great trip.

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