Tag Archives: disability awareness

Snow Day!

Hi Friends –

The other day the weather reports were all saying it was going to snow overnight and on our last walk of the evening, around 11pm, the snow hadn’t even started. Dad said that sometimes the forecast is wrong and that maybe this one will miss us and we’ll only get a couple inches. I said that all we can do is wait and see. I hoped it would snow because it’s so much fun to eat and play in. Dad, on the other paw hoped for sun and 80 degrees. He’s silly. Either way we planned on staying home because Dad has a pawsome job that lets him work remotely, and his office Alphas (managers) allow for the quick decisions that life shows the need for. As it turned out Dad woke up feeling a bit sick, so he changed his plan from a remote day to a day off. Of course, he still logged in and tried to work but his Alphas barked at him and told him to take care of himself. Thankfully he listened and only stayed logged in for about a half hour.

We spent most of the day inside catching up on shows and napping. I did most of the napping, but it was a great day. What made it even better was that Mom decided to take some of her comp time she earned from working extra hours over the holidays. We did go out several times for short walks. Mom and I tried zoomies in snow but it wasn’t really all that much fun because I quickly found that I needed to hop to get my feet out of the heavy wet snow; I just ate it instead. I love eating the snow.

Mom said the other reason she brought me out was to keep me occupied and not thinking about our time away from dad. We live in a large pack of kennels (condominiums) and our kennel has a smaller parking lot for our cars. So before a storm Mom and Dad like to move them to a bigger lot close by so the plow trucks can move and not pile huge mounds of snow in front of them. Once they plow the lot Dad goes into action and clears out my truck and Mom’s car and brings them back over to our lot. The problem is that I have to stay inside while he does this to keep me safe. I appreciate this, but I still get worried about Dad being out there without me.  If Mom wasn’t with us he would have brought me with him and just have me wait in the truck with the heat on and the rear hatch window open so we could talk. I can squeeze into Mom’s car if it’s just us and walk him back and forth to pick up the truck. It’s a long cold process, so I chose to stay in and cuddle.

I also want to mention that Mom and I were proud of him yesterday! He came in and told us that there was so much snow piled in front of Mom’s car that he couldn’t just drive it out, so he found the crew clearing snow and asked for help. This is a big step for him. In years past he would have spent hours digging on his own and refused help; this time he sought it out. With two shovels on the job they cleared him out in no time and were glad to help. He also accepted an offer from a neighbor to clear the top of the truck for him. The neighbor was several inches taller and had it done in minutes, again, happy to help. When he told us these stories I pointed out that he did well and had learned that allowing others to give is just as important as him giving of his time and talents. We truly are grateful for those that assisted and allowed Dad to see prosperity principles in action.

 

written by DFS

No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the practice of “NO: Touch, Talk, Eye Contact” as it relates to dogs and more importantly, Service Dogs

Let’s start with the more common house pet. The practice, when successfully used, can help with anxious dogs cope with separation and hyper dogs that jump up on people for attention (or claim you as theirs). The reason this works in assisting the dog to be calm and polite is that a dog gets to know us by smell before sight. If you don’t look at your dog it should back off, even if slightly, and wait for an invitation for attention. If there is no invitation they should just give you back your space. Now, this being said, in the past I have been a HORRIBLE offender and have had a practice of wanting to pet and cuddle every dog I have ever seen the moment I see them. (Editor’s Note: The whole family is like this. The kids are very good about asking an owner before petting their pet. I, however, have been known to pet stray animals and once got ringworm from a stray cat! Oops!!!) I am wrong for acting this way and I will be better in the future. I see this on a daily basis and need to correct it in myself and work with the family on this as well.

StopRoundPatchS

The example I have in mind is when Lauri gets home from work and gets greeted at the door as quickly as possible by the kids (they will slide across the tile and almost knock me over!) and Casper (he acts like Dan gives him no attention all day and we KNOW that is not true). If I don’t happen to be there to hold his harness he does his “happy puppy dance” and gives her no space what so ever (I have even punched him in the snout on accident just trying to get out of my coat). Granted, all of us are happy to see her and we all want to greet, and be greeted, but this is an inappropriate behavior. A better way to act, on all of our parts, is to calmly greet from a respectable distance and allow whoever is entering to feel respected and peaceful. I understand that this is going to likely take longer for the children to grasp than Casper.

Let me now extend this to Casper while he is “officially” working. (I will use this term because he is a service dog but I don’t require him to “work” when we are in the house.) Let me also be clear, though, that from my experience he is never off duty. Even when he has been in full play mode with no collar, harness or butterfly vest on him he always has an eye on me and if I fall he is there in a moment’s notice to help. I have plenty of real life examples, but I will let you read the blog at your own pace and see for yourselves. I am, admittedly, the learn-by-doing type. This means that the wonderful people at SDP who raised and trained Casper could have told me a million times that I need to implement the “NO: Touch, Talk, Eye Contact” rule every time you are in public and I would not have listened until I experienced why I need to do it. I have difficulty with this because I know how a guy like Casper can attract attention and I don’t see that as a bad thing all the time. I want to be approachable and teach people about service dogs and disability acceptance. I have carried a misconception that these two things are mutually exclusive. What this means is that I have set a precedent of allowing people in to our space to greet in almost any situation and I now look back on this and realize it was a mistake.

I see this clearly with the people Casper has made friends with at the office. There are a select few people whose very presence cause him to break his down-stay and seek attention. He will even look for them as we pass a particular area. This is my fault. I taught him to be distracted. I did not purposely do this; I was misguidedly trying to be nice to everyone.  I think it is my failed attempt at acceptance, and I honestly don’t know if it was for him or me; I suspect, though, it was selfish. I can see in situations where I do not let Casper be social, even if I want to, that he is perfectly focused and happy all at the same time.

do not pet

You may be asking yourself if I have an action plan. The answer is yes. I plan on working with those people we currently interact with on a daily basis and inform them of the new rule, and why we have it. I also will need to make the changes at home so no confusion is caused. (The girls know how rules apply to others but often think they are exempt and set this precedent in public that hugging or petting him is ok. We are working on this.) Another step I plan to take is to get a “NO: Touch, Talk, Eye Contact” patch as well as a patch that displays Casper’s job as mobility dog. I may even get him a new vest so these patches are on his left panel where they are the most visible to the general public, and place his current large “do not pet” patch on the opposing side.  (Of course, most of us know these things are only minimally effective. I have toyed with getting a giant sign to hang off his butt. Seriously, though, in large crowds it is a problem. I think we all need shirts that largely state “DO NOT PET THE SERVICE DOG” on them or something.)

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Written by DFS
Edited by LJS