Sunday, September 26, 2021

Take a Hike!

Sepia colored man and woman walking on a forest trail

Walking is good aerobic exercise. It keeps your heart strong and blood pressure healthy, and it aids in blood sugar control. Regular walking decreases mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and lowers your risk of dying from cancer.

Taking a hike outdoors is great because you are immersed in the natural world. Research has shown that persons spending 120 minutes in nature (2 hours a week) have less stress and a higher sense of well-being than those who stay indoors.

However, due to the ongoing pandemic, it may not be as easy for you to get the outdoor exercise you need. Try bringing the outdoors inside. You can watch a video of a hike through various awesome natural sites while you use the treadmill or stair stepper, or just walk in place. 

Imagine yourself hiking in the Swiss Alps, climbing a mountain in Hawaii, running through a forest in Alaska, or striding rim-to-river in the Grand Canyon. View the natural scenery on YouTube while you exercise safely indoors. Here are some suggested virtual hikes.

If you are counting your steps, you can hike the Appalachian trail, virtually, using an app on your smartphone (iPhone or Android). You will unlock interesting checkpoints when you reach them.

However you do your hiking, whether in the physical world outdoors or indoors viewing a virtual hike, try to complete the recommended 150 minutes of walking per week, for maximum health benefits.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

What is the difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal?

Light brown service dog focusing on the picture-taker
Service dog

Although these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are major differences between the two. It is important to know these differences, which begin with the legislation that defines them.

A service animal is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Service animals are limited to two species. The most common service animals are dogs. If the person using the service animal is allergic to dogs or is prohibited from being around a dog for religious reasons, a miniature horse can be a service animal, although this is quite rare.

Service animals are individually trained to do specific tasks necessary for the person they serve. They must always be under the control of their handler at all times. They are almost always permitted to accompany the person they serve in any place where members of the public are allowed.

An emotional support animal is NOT covered by the ADA. Instead, it is defined under the Fair Housing Act. An emotional support animal of any species is identified by its owner as providing emotional support; however, it does not need to have specific training or to perform any tasks for its owner. Emotional support animals are permitted in rental housing if a medical or rehabilitation professional provides documentation of its owner’s need for it. However, emotional support animals are NOT allowed in public places that do not allow other pets. 

For more information about service animals:
For information about emotional support animals:

Saturday, September 18, 2021

What if someone at my school or work is allergic to my service dog?


Greyhound standing at attention

It happens. You have been authorized to take your service dog with you when someone else in that environment says they are allergic to dog dander. (It could also be that someone is extremely fearful of dogs. The same solutions apply.)

In this case, it is understood that both individuals need reasonable accommodations. The difficulty is in figuring out what can be done because their needs are in conflict.

It is not legal to deny the use of a service dog in a public area such as a classroom or workspace because someone else is allergic. Therefore, methods must be developed to minimize contact between the dog and the person with the allergy.

The Job Accommodation Network has developed a set of recommendations of how to manage the conflicting needs by eliminating or minimizing exposure of the allergic person to the dog. Their suggestions include:

  • Flexible scheduling or different work areas for the two individuals
  • Using portable air purifiers and HEPA filters 
  • Asking the service dog owner to temporarily use other accommodations, or to use dander care products on the dog
  • Asking the allergic employee to wear an allergen mask

View other suggestions of how to handle this tricky problem of conflicting health needs here:

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Save The Date! Preparedness Trivia (on Zoom) on 9/15!


Picture of a smiling young girl in front of books with "Never stop learning" spelled on the binders

Wednesday, Sept 15, 1-2pm SLT, 4-5pm ET

Please join the Region 2 National Preparedness Division for Ready Games in celebration of National Preparedness Month this September. 

Participants will be tested on their preparedness knowledge with true/false, multiple-choice, rank, and short-answer questions. Dot worry about bringing a #2 pencil. Participants should have a second electronic device (mobile phone, iPad, etc.) to log their answers for the test. 

Who should attend? The whole community – individuals and families, volunteer and community-based organizations, local, state, federal government, and private sector. 

Register here: