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Next Stop: Broadway!

Yesterday I was given the opportunity to speak with the local CBS affiliate, WFSB regarding service dogs and their rights to access. I feel the interview went exceptionally well. Kim Lucey, and the Cameraman (I’m sorry, I forgot your name)  are genuinely good people. I enjoyed our conversations and they made an event that could have been stressful, comfortable. Thank You. I understand that this was presented on the evening news and in my opinion, that means the story will be sensationalized to an extent. I am willing to concede in favor of awareness.

To see the new video click HERE

There are some points that I want to make a clear statement on for our readers that could not be conveyed in the short window of time they were given to air the clip. We have no negative feelings toward our friends at Mystical Elements. They have a wonderful shop and handled the event in the best way they knew in the moment. You can read about it extensively in the related posts, here and here. Apologies have been extended, and received on both sides. I can foresee a time in the future where we visit again perhaps and I am sure it will be a comfortable experience for all.

Just like I am new to being a handler of a service dog, there are people who are new to encountering service teams, and I am doing my best to be an ambassador. In no way do I feel like I have a great deal of information or experience to offer with regard to being a handler, but I do feel we can offer a perspective that may be unique in order to help others.

There are simple things that you can do to help us be more successful as a team. When you see a service team, and you’d like to meet, please be respectful.

–  Never, and I mean NEVER call to a service dog in any way, even if you know us and I have given you permission to pet in the past. I know you are well meaning, however, you likely don’t know when I need him. The moment you call a service dog, especially by name, is that moment his focus is not on his work. This goes for the fly-by pet as well. DON’T DO IT. It’s distracting to dog, and by extension at the very least annoying to me.

 – Always greet the handler and not the dog. This is distracting and, quite frankly, rather rude.

– If you have questions relating to the dog please ask, but ask me and not the people I may be with. We will work everyone into the conversation I promise. My family will talk your ear off given the opportunity and time. You can even ask me about my disability, I’m happy to talk about it. This does not extend to the rest of the disabled community as some of us are more sensitive than others, or just more private people. Be kind.

– DO NOT assume that now is the perfect time to pet a dog. A service team is usually out in public because they have something specific to do, and may or may not have the extra time in their day to give you at that moment.

My family and I love animals and people alike. This means we will take every opportunity to meet, but please don’t be offended if we cannot. If you see us another time, ask and we will allow it if the conditions are appropriate.

Working with a service dog has changed my perspective a bit on greetings. Especially meeting a dog and their handler, such as me, often now also means a dog to dog greeting as well. This can be tricky especially with different breeds and sizes. Casper is super friendly, but he is also super exuberant and is not aware he is a big breed and has a lot of puppy in him. With a smaller breed many have an easier time guessing the approximate age of a dog and provide the benefit of doubt with regard to playful nature that a large breed does not get. This is especially negated when that dog has a service vest on. Remember, he may be big, he may have a service vest on, but he is still a dog and still likes to play, given the opportunity. If you see us and you have your dog with you be aware of the responsibility we have as care givers to our non-human family. Please don’t assume that dogs will not greet given the chance; they will. This could have several outcomes that we may not account for in the moment, the very least could be me being pulled to the ground while dealing with the situation at hand.

My family and I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone: from Mystical Elements, Channel 3 news, the Camera Peeps, and all of our supporters who read the blog and follow Casper on Facebook.

written by DFS
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11 thoughts on “Next Stop: Broadway!

  1. Diane B Stern September 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm Reply

    Watched the Channel 3 commentary, very well said. You & Casper are really great as ambassadors for SD.

  2. Laura Fahey Hron September 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm Reply

    Thank you again for just reminding us of the importance of etiquette with the Service Dogs. Loved the news piece. Casper has grown into such an amazing animal. All the CP’s are ever so proud since seeing him as just a wee pup and watching him grow up. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your lives and a part of his.

  3. Barbara Lee September 16, 2013 at 8:50 am Reply

    “An opportunity to educate.” Dan, you are a wise & kind man. I loved watching the graceful, slow steps of Casper’s long legs. He IS still a puppy & what a wonderful companion/service dog he already is!!❤🐾

  4. Briana Bittel September 16, 2013 at 8:06 am Reply

    Hi there! My name is Briana and my service dog is Memphis. He is a Lab/ Great Dane mix- although as he grows he looks more like a Dane. I am 6ft tall so he fits me well. He is also a mobility assist dog. I have been denied access many times as he is my 3rd SD. I am enjoying your blog and I wish you two well!

    • casperthedane September 16, 2013 at 8:42 am Reply

      Thank you. We would love to hear more about Memphis and see photos. I imagine he is beautiful. If you want to share on our Facebook page you are welcome. Or you can email casperthefriendlydane@gmail.com
      We love learning about other service dogs and their families.

  5. Karen Maitland September 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm Reply

    Another good piece of education for the masses. Thanks, Dan!

  6. Hilda September 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm Reply

    Can’t wait to see you and Casper “On Broadway!!” Actually, that would be pretty cool; maybe Broadway should have a show on Service Dogs and their Handlers and everything that goes on between them on a daily basis. I’d go and see it!! On another “positive” note, when I watched your interview video, it was the first time I actually saw you and Casper walking together, and I must say, what a difference between walking with Casper and walking with a cane! Nothing short of amazing!!! It shows how important a service dog is in aiding with the task of walking. You and Casper are so inspirational…keep up the great work together and your wonderful blogs! ❤

  7. Linda Craig September 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm Reply

    Dan, you and Casper did a great job in the interview. I was impressed with how well you managed to explain the importance of a service dog and the training involved. Those of us who follow your blog now have the necessary information to greet any dog and handler. Unfortunately you will constantly be educating people but that is something you are excellent at! Thank you for sharing from your heart. Kudos to both of you…and your family! 🙂

  8. Nan Kan September 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm Reply

    Hi. I just wanted to say I do not think there is a better Service Dog Ambassador Team than you and Casper. Thank you and your family for sharing so much with everyone.

  9. Margie coldrick September 14, 2013 at 2:26 pm Reply

    you blogs are always well written and insightful. Thank you

  10. Marilyn Sygrove September 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm Reply

    Wonderful educational comments. We all are learning so much, especially how we “the public” need to behave with service dogs and their human handlers. Keep up the great dialog, and keep being a “teacher” to us all.

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