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Petitioning Lifeguard Licensing Company Ellis and Associates and 4 others

Ellis and Associates : Add Emergency Response Protocol for Service Dogs to your Lifeguard Training

Ellis and Associates is a lifeguard-training company that has its program and lifeguards in use in 42 States in the U.S.A., Mexico, Brazil, China, Spain, Bahamas, Korea, Cairo Egypt, Bahrain and Dubai. 80% of the country's water parks have been clients of Ellis since its conception, and they require continuous inservice training of their lifeguards everywhere they are in use. Among their training covers the bases of what to do in an emergency at an aquatic setting both in and out of the water, however, Service Dogs will not be cared for in the event that an emergency happens to them in a facility where Ellis lifeguards are responsible for the safety of their patrons. This is because no such protocol exists with Ellis and Associates. In the event that someone's Service Dog comes under crisis or duress in one of these facilities, there would be no structured help for the animal, and the one who depended on that animal would most likely be left alone and without their care-taker and companion, just as I was at the beginning of 2013 when my dog died. Luckily enough, she was my pet, and not a service animal.

On February 1st, 2013, my dog, Princess, died in my arms as a result of being denied the information to save her life just a day beforehand. Suffering from medical complications with her breathing, I took her away from the veterinarian's hands the day before with an uneasy feeling. Having been a lifeguard certified under Ellis and Associates for almost 2 years prior to that day, I asked her how to open an airway in the event that she stopped breathing in the future. The vet looked me up and down, and responded with a cold, "Put a fan on her."

When I came home the next day from school with an hour of lifeguard training afterwords, Princess came into my arms when I entered the threshold, and in the foyer of my home and in the arms of myself and my mother, she died. We rushed her to the closest animal hospital (NOT the same one we had been to the day before) and was told that the main reason she could not be resuscitated was because she had gone without oxygen to the brain for too long by then.

I had asked how to open an airway for oxygen the day before, and was denied the information to save my dog's life. The animal I grew up with from 7 to 17, 10 years worth of life, had ended prematurely due to the rejection of knowledge I had received from that vet. That night I decided to change something. Something has to be said for having all this training, and in the first time encountering death since becoming a lifeguard, not having the specific knowledge I needed to save a life.

I thought of those who needed their dogs most, the sick and the elderly--the disabled. If what happened to me had happened to one of them they would not only be at a loss without their friend, but left alone without the help they had grown accustomed. Sure, they could get another one, but it would never be the same without the animal friend they had grown to love for the past-however-long-it-had-been.

So, Ellis, this is a petition demanding the assemblance of some sort of emergency response protocol for these service dogs, which under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) MUST be allowed into the facilities of your clients where all other general population would be allowed to go. And yet, although this law is in place, the service dogs that care for our disabled populace are not given the same life or death protection the ones that they care for are given upon entering one of your facilities.

The continuous goal of Ellis and Associates is to "make a difference in aquatic safety".

So, Ellis, make a difference and protect those who protect us.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Lifeguard Licensing Company
    Ellis and Associates
  • Director
    Melissa Timmons
  • Director
    Joe Stefanyak
  • Senior Vice President/Chief Operations Officer
    Richard Carroll
  • President
    Jeffrey Ellis (President)

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