I’ve been helping others with service dog issues since 1998. I’ve been partnered with a service dog since 1991. I also run and administer the nationally known and rated Service Dogs and More website, which is listed on every search engine you can imagine.
A dear friend, Fred Shotz, who is no longer with us, told the Department of Justice that he considered me one of the top disability and service dog experts. So, when I give out legal advice, people DO listen to me. I can make mistakes, but most of the time, I do know what I am talking about.
Well, a person on Facebook had a problem, and wanted me to call her to talk about it. She gave me her phone number and I called her. She’s flying with her dog and she wanted to put her service dog in cargo, because it’s a 10 month old puppy. She told the airline he’s a service dog in training. And that she needs him. But she still wants him in cargo. The airline wants him in the cabin with her. She’s afraid he’ll have an accident or barf or bark or something.
She even went so far as to call the CEO of Delta airlines. I just have to shake my head. Delta is being extremely accomodating. I told her that her dog IS a service dog at the age of 10 months. I explained about Gillis working for me at 4 months when he picked up a pill bottle for me in public. I then took the “in Training” off his vest.
That wasn’t enough for her. I then explained that when she called the airline, she made it harder for the next person who followed with a service dog in training to get reservations, the airline is going to want to have all this paperwork she’s showered Delta with. This woman insisted that wasn’t going to happen. Delta would know it’s a one time thing. No, Delta will do the same thing to the next person, I’ve seen it.
Then this woman, who called ME for help, had the gall to tell me that I didn’t have the right to tell her she was wrong in what she did. I didn’t do that. I said that what she did was going to impact the next disabled person with a service dog that dealt with Delta. I’ve seen it time and time again. She then told me she’d dealt with service dogs for 35 years. Fine. But, she called ME for help. If she’d already dealt with it, then she didn’t NEED my help.
It really pisses me off when people call me for help and then tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m willing to go to great lengths for someone but I will not tolerate someone who tells me that I don’t know what I’m doing and critisizing me when I explain what they did is going to hurt the person that follows them.
Yes, you have to think of you… but if you use a service dog, you are going to get noticed, and you also have to think of those that follow you… we do not want to clean up your mess that you leave behind. I have had too many years of cleaning up the messes of service dog handlers that have come before me. Those that let their dogs eat in restaurants, that allow their dogs to wander off leash, those that let their dogs go potty in public, but don’t clean up after them; that let their dog come up to strangers and sniff them, and of other things.
Our dogs are supposed to be ‘invisible’. There is a movement by the users of guide dogs to get those with service dogs banned from public places, because we don’t need our dogs! I always thought that was stupid but with the way I see some service dogs act and the way some handlers allow their dogs to act, I don’t blame guide dog handlers at all!
This is why I expect almost perfect behavior from my dog… and why I retired Chewbacca after Norwescon this year. He made it CLEAR that he didn’t want to work anymore. I had to drag him out from under every table and he ignored commands from me. He’d never done that before. it was embarrassing and it showed those around me that I didn’t have control of my dog. Impressions. That is a biggie.
Now, I’m looking for a replacement for Chewie. I haven’t had any luck in getting a puppy. And I only want a puppy. I don’t want another year old dog, because of the impressions they already have. I want to start fresh, like I did with Gillis.