top of page
cryoglobulinemia vasculitis
Cryoglobulinemia Vasculitis
Diane Dike

Please contact our partners Freedom Service Dogs of America (FSD) to apply for or learn more about service dogs.

Clients include children, disabled adults, veterans and active duty soldiers. Disabilities they train dogs for include: autism, traumatic brain injury (TBI), cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cryoglobulinemia. 

Dogs come from shelters and rescue groups. The cost to rescue, train, house, medically care for, and then give to a client is 25,000. They are able to offer trained service dogs to clients without charge through extensive fundraising efforts. They also offer lifetime support. 

Trained dogs can:
* Open doors, pick up items, pull wheelchairs, go for help, turn on lights, and 50 other commands.

* Enhance social interactions

* Assist in programs for humane education, disabilities awareness, character development for at-risk youth, and rehabilitation therapy.

SCwSG/CVO is proud to partner with FSD to raise awareness, education, advocacy and support for people who can gain a higher quality of life because of the help service dogs can provide. SCwSG/CVO offers a full Love Kit of hope and encouragement to every graduate of the FSD program.


There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.
—Henry Ford

As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—I have a condition that substantially limits a major life activity and my dog is trained to do specific tasks, which mitigate my impairment. The ADA requires specific training for an animal to exempt them from restrictions that apply to pets. There is no national certification program or ID card required for these animals to be allowed access to all places the handler goes. However, if a dog is displaying nuisance behavior, an establishment is able to ask the team to leave.

What worked for us. I get emails and questions weekly from interested people who need help training their Italian Greyhound or any dog. My philosophy for training Gracie is based on more than three decades of teaching special needs and regular education students, from pre-kindergarten to the collegiate level. As a teacher, I always tried to discover what motivates my students and, in this case, Gracie. I taught Gracie in small increments and with positive reinforcement. Dog training is not something you do just one time but is a daily adventure of learning, teaching, trusting and growing.

Upon rescuing Gracie, I realized that training her to be a well-behaved pet, let alone service dog, would be a challenge because of her breed and the difficult start she had. I took her right where she was and helped her to grow into the special working dog I knew she could be. Like all of us, she had her own unique style of learning and potential. I simply tapped into that style and potential to achieve the desired result: a well-behaved, balanced dog of service for my specific needs. I am by no means a professional dog trainer.

It should be noted that I did consult with my veterinarian before embarking on the adventure of training Gracie for service. I also did much research and called many organizations connected with training service dogs, including: The U.S. Department of Justice, Delta Society, IAADP, Paw-a-bility, Top Dogs, and several trainers.


Essential to helping Gracie become a working dog was creating a plan, following the law, growing in our bond and trust, and making the best use of our time together. 

Dedicated and faithful service. I’m so thankful for a friend who will come when I call and help me when I fall. I haven’t been hospitalized since we rescued each other. She’s been the best medicine with no negative side-effects.


On the picture page an episode started in my feet and worked its way up my legs. Gracie tried to warn me about 20 minutes before the onset. It was the first time I realized she had the intuition gift. I have encouraged her gift by listening to her and doing what I have to do to be safe. She has been right-on ever since that day. 


It's thought that some dogs are sensitive to chemical or electrical changes that occur in their partner and if the alerting is encouraged, the gift can save one's life!  My friend's dog alerts him before he has a seizure. Animals that can alert are called “medical alert dogs.”  Because she alerts me, I am able to get to a warm place, elevate my legs and hopefully keep the damage to a minimum. Because of neuropathy, I can't always tell that I'm getting cold until it's too late. PREVENTION is key with this disease. The good news is, I have not been hospitalized since Gracie and I rescued and trained each other!​

A service animal is an animal trained specifically to help a person perform a task that they’re not able to perform otherwise. Please do not take your pets into establishments that say “No Pets” and call it a service dog. It is illegal and considered fraud. For a more detailed list of tasks Gracie has been trained to perform for my particular disability, please read our books God Made Only One of Me or Gracie Comes Home. For more information about service dog programs, contact the listed agencies.

This is an excerpt from Diane's book, "God Made Only One of Me".


Training (a Rescued Italian Greyhound) Gracie by Diane Dike, Ph.D.

bottom of page