Hi Friends –
I have another Oklahoma based post for you today. Alright, well, it may be more of a rant but I know you love me so I hope you’ll excuse me if I am not quite uplifting today. I just feel the need to share a quick story that directly relates to why I ask all of you to share this blog and like my Facebook page. I know you all read and shared Dad’s post the other day about service dogs and life changing events, right? Good. (…and all the other posts? It’s really important to me.) See, I have asked Dad and Mom to set out on a quest, a mission of awareness, even though Dad tends to doubt his “voice” he promised me he’d try. We may crash and burn (I doubt that) but that’s OK; if we do, my next alias will just have to be Ash, and we move on.
I bring this entire subject up because I’m reminded of what Dad told us about him being surprised that many humans are not aware of the basic tenants of interaction with a blue-collar working dog.
Many of you know this so excuse me if I restate the obvious (to some), here is a short list of rules I’m asking you to consider before you approach us while we’re working.
1. Speak to the person first. Do not aim distracting or rude noises at the dog.
2. Do not touch the service dog without asking for, and receiving, permission.
3. Do not offer food to the service dog.
4. Do not ask personal questions about the handler’s disability, or otherwise intrude on his or her privacy.
5. Don’t be offended if the handler does not wish to chat about the service dog.
While the family and I were in Oklahoma enjoying our extended family, which Dad and I just had the pleasure of meeting for the first time, part of the pack went out to a restaurant for a good time. I won’t mention the name. (…but it rhymes with Waghetti Sparehouse) We arrived and we were greeted by very nice people but one human was so fascinated with me and Dad that he barely completed his work. As a matter of fact he went about breaking rule #1, quickly followed by rule #2. Dad’s jaw was so far agape that he ignored it rather than make a scene. He also forgot that I carry information cards that remind humans of the basics.
As soon as he greeted the party, he ignored Dad and gave me pets. That happens, and we were not moving at the time so we most often let that go. Mom and Dad like to pet animals, too. (It was technically wrong, but they would ask first.) So, this was only answered by a deep breath and eye rolling. We didn’t have to wait long for a table for six plus me. He also then looked at Nanny and asked her if I was a seeing-eye dog. Then the problem continued; we were made aware that our table was ready by the fact that the gentleman called me. He did this by making direct eye contact, patting his leg loudly and saying, “come on doggy, your table is ready, follow me.” I know! Dad he was ready to lose his composure. He wanted to correct the behavior with a wiffle bat, repeatedly! (For those of you not familiar with SDP, they use a wiffle bat to make loud noises when a major distraction is called for during training opportunities. Totally physically harmless to us, I assure you.) I repeat: this is the first time meeting this side of the family, so he chose not to appear crazy and make this a topic of discussion over dinner. The meal and wait staff was pleasant, followed all the rules, and shared their personal dog stories. It was great. The end of the meal came, as we were leaving the same gentleman chased after me and called out to try to get in one last pet. Dad and I were walking this time, not standing still. Again, we kept it together and shared the adventure after the fact. Mom surely was not happy and wished for a wiffle bat of her own. Nanny told her later that on the walk to the table that same man started talking to HER about me and how what Dad’s disability was. Nanny played it cool and just kept the answers simple and non-intrusive.
Now that I’m recounting the event I think we should find the receipt for that meal to confirm the date and time then send this blog post to the management staff and ask them to train that individual.
*On a side not there was one other wait staff incident on the trip. A waitress came to the table and said, “Hey dog! You are in my way!!!” We think she was trying to be cute, but through the meal she made a point to show us how in the way he was and how much she was put out. Mom decided to talk to the manager. We weren’t mad, but wanted to make sure they get the proper training.*
Thank you to all of you in my loyal blog and Facebook pack. I need to come up with a team name for all of you…that’s a fun idea, huh?
Written by DFS and LJS
Tagged: ask to pet, balance and stability, big dog, cerebral palsy, dane, disability, disability awareness, dog, dog walks, etiquette, family, great dane, leash, mobility, mobility dogs, Oklahoma, puppy, roadtrip, sdp, service animals, service dog, service dog project, service dog training, service dog vest, training
Totally agree that you need to contact the management at this unnamed establishment. This is totally disgraceful. I do not know how you kept it together and did not bite this guy in the buns Casper. You were such a good boy. If Carlene had been there you are right, she would have used the whiffle bat on this guy straight away. I know that you don’t want to make waves sometimes but then again, without education, especially in out of the way places that do not deal with service dogs all the time, your education in how to deal with service dogs is all they will ever get. Another way to look at it is, if you don’t deal with this moron, Carlene will beat him up with her whiffle bat if she ever gets near Oklahoma. LOL.
Casper, you and your human puppies have a lot more patience than I would have. I probably would have said something if I had been there. Congrats on your self restraint. As for nick naming your fans, how about ghosts.
Hi, Casper and Family!!
Whether you find the receipt or not, you absolutely should contact the restaurant. Training is in order and education is ALWAYS the best option. That said, you and Dad were very composed and I applaud you both Sometimes, you have to make a scene but the way you all handled this was with grace. Bless you!. (I would not be surprised, however, if Mom pulls out the wiffle bat the next time – I love it when Mamas go into their ‘Mommie Grizzlie mode; – that is their way of saying ‘I love you!’) Now go write that letter, baby boy!!
Hi Casper: People definitely need to be educated on “etiquette” required when seeing a service dog. I know, when my husband worked at a Mall, trainers would bring in puppies with their mama; mama would keep them in line and help them navigate escalators and all that is training for small puppies. Everyone in the mall would look at them and smile as we all know how cute puppies are, but the trainer always maintained not to touch, pet or talk to the puppies. Maybe your dad can tell the host/hostess of the restaurants that he establishes that you are in training and that would the host/hostess please let the staff know that, and in so, not touch, talk, pet, etc., before asking for permission from your dad. That may help; it’s a start. Also, perhaps a notice in the restaurant window pertaining to service dogs, may help as well. Good luck; I know how frustrating this must be to the whole family.
We all know who the CPs are (Camera Peeps)….how about CPPs, Casper’s Pack Peeps! Just a thought…I know that CPP in Canada stands for Canada Pension Plan, LOL!!
Love you, Casper ❤
I am very impressed with how you all handled it. I wouldn’t have been that patient. I only once asked to pet a service dog when I was much much younger and the woman was so nasty to me I was shocked. This was before service dogs were being used more and more. Later I learned that yes I did the right thing by asking. Whew…… but she didn’t need to be so nasty. Possibly she was in pain or was annoyed but whatever it was, I felt bad I asked. Needless to say since I have been a CP I am amazed about Danes and how well they work for people. My own danes are just my children but you Casper you support a whole family and that is great. the best idea is to educate and you and Dad along with Mom are doing a great job. Hopefully people will become more educated and treat everyone with the same respect. Love you Casper you are a Good Great Dane Secret Service Dog…..
We usually ask to pet service dogs, before we had Casper (and we would now but Casper gets too excited so we don’t get close). I always tell the kids that it is ok if they say no because we don’t know their situation, but if people are nasty about it I get upset. I have the same reaction to people who take their pet out to a place full of people and then say you can’t pet it because it don’t like kids/men/people who breath, etc…
We hardly ever say no if someone asks because we know Casper loves it, too, but if we do say no we always are very polite and try to explain why. It just never pays to be rude. Of course, as you said, she could have been in pain, or even have just had someone pet without asking and was upset. Still, I think you have to especially be kind and explain to younger people/kids.
I am glad that you went over all the rules again. It is easy to forget when seeing such a handsome and big dog as Casper. It would be a good idea to write an email to the establishment so in the future should they encounter another service dog they will know
how to behave and what questions are not appropriate. Have fun and safe driving on the
rest of your trip. Thank you for all your wonderful stories. I love that Casper’s sweet face!!
Oh, good heavens. Casper, I would not have had the patience of you and your family. I’m afraid had I been nearby I would have figured out something in place of a wiffle bat and had a private talk w/that “person” who talked to you rather than mom or dad. Sheesh, I never realized how ignorant so many people are about service dogs…..bad assumption on my part. I’ve never had a service dog but have always known the rules. Think next time new family/friends/whoever, you need a BIG card of rules to flash in front of invasive people. Thank you all for acting like the adults you are, Now, go pry dads jaws apart because I’m pretty sure they are still clamped tightly.
love and hugs,
It is ok, Dad gets over things pretty quickly. We know that some people just don’t know the etiquette and it is our job to educate. Of course, if he had distracted me enough to pull Dad down then we all would have been seeing red. At least Mom and Dad would; I am color blind.
Some people just don’t think before they act or speak. You and your daddy were very well behaved in that awkward situation. The restaurant management should be advised so that others can avoid this rude treatment. Thank you Casper for sharing.
I do think you should mail this to the restaurant. Some people, A LOT of people just don’t know. He won’t ever know unless someone tells him. Then some people just don’t care. I think the card with the rules for a service dog is a fantastic idea! I realize that Dan didn’t want to cause a scene (1st time meeting the family) so now you know! Lauri you hand one to them! I have a very large timid GSMD. People get in her face always. I ask them to step back & their response so often is “I’m a dog lover. Dogs love me!” She is beautiful, they like to get a close look at her 1 blue eye, 1 brown eye. I can usually stop it by raising my hand & saying “she’s in training.” And I still get, “All dogs love me!”😩that’s when I’d like to get right in their face and say, “How do you like this?” A little growl never hurts…😉
Good for you!
Totally agree with this! When you see someone with a service dog (and I’m sure he was clearly identified), you address yourself to the PERSON with the dog and take your cues from there. Unfortunately, I think a lot of folks get distracted by the cuteness of the dog (and it is, of course, CASPER), and they just lose sight of how important it is for him/her to be paying attention to their human. Casper, the more you can do to spread the message, the better. I don’t think your Mom needs a whiffle bat just yet, but it’s good to know you can always pick one up at the dollar store.