Tag Archives: salem

Magic is Everywhere

Hi Friends –

I have to share with you some pretty great things that happened this weekend. (Spoiler, pretty much all of this has to do with Spirit.)  I understand if you opt out… still with me? Good! Mom and Dad finished their ten week Prosperity Plus course at Unity of Greater Hartford. (This is the building I’m always telling you we go and talk to Spirit.) It was led by our very own Aina Hoskins who is a wonderful life coach as well as member. If anyone thinks they may be interested in her services she is an amazing person. Trust me you guys I’m an SDP Dane, if there is one thing we can do its pick good people. From what I can tell the course was about getting in touch with your inner Dane. How to appreciate everything that life is and draw that to you. Part of it is that money stuff Dad uses to get my food, but that is only a very small part. Prosperity is about changing the way you chose to think about what you see and how you react to life’s conditions. Dad needs to do a lot more work on this, in certain areas, but he has a strong drive so I know he’ll be okay. Mom, well, I worry about her less but they really just need to get out of their own way. The human puppies were with us for about half of the time; even though they pretend not to listen just being there in the same room with focus like that has to cause a little shift so it’s worth it. Of course, I liked it too; all of the people there love me so much my tail wags the entire time. After the class wrapped we socialized, my favorite part! Dad was happy to talk to his friends too, especially Miss Catherine, but I could tell he was anxious to hit the road.

We loaded up in the truck and headed north. I reminded Dad that our route would bring us close to SDP, just in case I could talk him into a run around the pond and a meeting with Momma Chaos’ puppies. He said our schedule was too tight for that. I understood, because I know if he could, he’d always stop in to say hello. We were on our way to one of Dad’s favorite places, Salem, MA. Mom & Dad wanted to make good on one of their birthday gifts to the youngest human puppy; her very first Tarot reading with our Strega friend, Leanne. Before we visited her we made a stop for people snacks at Gulu-Gulu Café across the street. Mom and Dad love this place, too. It has to be good because the staff is super nice and they have a Boston Terrier as a mascot. (Next door the same owner have a pizza place with a pug mascot!) Ahh, dog people! We didn’t do much walking around because of the weather and the time of night, but my Tootlewear coat made it so much better. The people that I did get to meet were so much nicer than when we last visited in October, but that is a crazy party, and really nobody’s fault. Dad says I did great for being such a young pup. I’m sure I will conquer that next year! (Puppy steps)

I had my dinner next to the truck, (Dad brings me food and water on long days) so I was full, but they insisted on stopping for food. I understood once Dad said it was for them. (They eat a lot, just sayin’.) They stopped at On the Border in Woburn, MA. It was Saturday but said they’d be OK to brave the possibility of crowds and long waits. As it turned out the wait was totally reasonable and the people we met were nice. I could tell that the family was just riding the good feeling of the day. The food was really good, despite the fact that Dad questions chains. A few minutes goes by after they get their food when the waitress smiles and checks on them. She goes away for a few more minutes and comes back asking if they’d be ordering dessert? Mom and Dad thought it odd that she asked so soon, and said No, thank you…? She smiles again and walks away. A few more minutes go by and our waitress comes back. I was thinking, boy she really likes me!  She smiles and tells Mom and Dad that the reason she checked on us so often and asked about our dessert plans was that a gentleman in the bar, who wished to remain anonymous, had paid for their meal. By now, you know that Dad has a soft side so his eyes glassed over with appreciation, but he’s in public so he did a decent job with the “cowboy up” thing. The entertaining part about it is that this is exactly what their Prosperity Plus course was about; being open to allowing the flow of good to appear. They must have learned something to have this happen. They quickly agreed that we at least wanted to thank this gentleman. Mom took out one my business cards and wrote a note on the back. By the time Mom could flag down staff to give it to he had left. Dad says he has in mind who it might be, but isn’t sure. Mom said that the staff had presented him with coupons for being so generous so they are sure he’ll be back. Mom entrusted them with the card and we all hope that it will find him. We also hope that he has the chance to read this blog post and know just how thankful we are for kindness. I know he was sent from Spirit. Thank you for sharing your message.

Sunday came around and it is another chance to go and be with Spirit. Today though was a special day because Rev. Steve Cordry was a guest this week, and we all love him very much. For any of our readers out his way, he is co-founder of Shine on Cape Cod. We will visit when the weather warms, I’m sure. His sermon was on peace, faith and magic. Mom and Dad thought it was very fitting since we spent time in Salem the day before. After the service we had the chance to catch up with Rev. Steve, which is always great.

I can hardly wait to see what Dane-tastic things will be welcomed in the future.


written by DFS

PSA Monday: Do you have what it takes?

We had a few very INTENSE training opportunities this weekend for us and for Casper. I am sure later this week Casper will give you his own input about how things went down. We had a couple of successes and a lot of failures. It’s fine… those failures are learning experiences for us all and worth a LOT more than any success is. However, it is exhausting and frustrating for all those involved. For my part I have decided to write about what it really takes to be a service dog because I don’t think people have any clue, even people who know a lot about these dogs. I want to put us all in their place and imagine working under the same circumstances these dogs do. First I will let you know about our greatest issue this weekend so that you understand what is prompting this post.

We went to Salem, MA this weekend. We LOVE Salem! Casper has been there before during the off-season. We go a few times a year. Usually the first 2 weekends in October are busy, but manageable so we thought we would give it a shot. Of course, the gorgeous weather turned to drizzle by the time we got there and there was traffic so we were already in kind of poor spirits, but we soldiered on. As I think about the things we encountered I think it might be best to just make a list, so here we go:

1. Due to the government shut down the Visitor’s Center was closed which is where the best public bathrooms are. This means that the place was full-out port-o-johns instead. Try imagining getting a Dane in one of those. Most shops do not have restrooms for patrons and restaurants require you to purchase to use one. AND…those places are TINY and hard to navigate. We know of a large and very convenient bathroom in a cafe we frequent. The patio was full of yipping dogs that made Casper pull Dan down and then he was turned away from the restroom for not being a patron. (One a side note…as we left that day the Salem Fire Department, right next to where we were parked, let Dan and Casper use their restroom.)

2. The place always has lots of dogs. At least half of the dogs there this day were very poorly behaved and should not have been allowed in a crowd like this.

3. Kids are everywhere. You know Casper loves human puppies!

4. People are wearing weird costumes and masks.

5. Shops are TINY and hard to navigate and no one wants to step aside and let Casper get by. Yet, he is a pro in these tiny spaces and manuevers so amazingly. Never knocks something over. (Tiny hallways are different. They make him nervous and usually we can’t go down them. For example, to go to the bathroom at the back of some places.)

6. He apparently does NOT like voodoo dolls. You know, Salem in October. We found some at a shop and he would NOT move forward. Honestly, I can’t blame him.

7. Big booming drums and “here ye, here ye” makes him shake as badly as bagpipes.

8. No one seems to know (especially adults) that you DO NOT just pet someone’s dog. Service dog aside, you don’t just pet a person’s dog without asking. And you DO NOT go at their face squealing. Again, adults were doing this. Some were asked more than once as they approached to please not pet because he was working and they still advanced. One squealed and rushed at Casper (who was already nervous, see number 7) and I almost clocked him with the bag in my hand. This was the first time I actually yelled at someone for trying to pet him. We try so hard to be polite, but give me a freaking break!!!!

9. If you see a dog who is excited about another dog (service dog or not) and his owners are trying to hold him back that does not mean “he needs to learn how to do his job better.” That means that he was already beyond distracted and doing his job was next to impossible at that exact moment. You try doing you job in the same circumstances, lady!

10. All of this happened within about 40 minutes. Dan was only pulled down once and Casper was immediately back in his control. Every incident that was less than acceptable on Casper’s part was 100% brought on by people who do not think at all about anyone but themselves.

Ok, so there you go. Again, Casper will tell you more detail, but you really needed to know this for what I have to say. And remember that this was just in 40 minutes of one day. We encounter some of these things and others daily. (For example grocery story freezers and fridges make a hum that makes him nervous, but we get past that. Or he sees a squirrel or something. You never know what might happen.)

Now bear with me while we explore most of these issues from a human stand point.

We will start with the bathrooms. Size is a huge issue. Dan has to use the handicapped bathroom with Casper. And even individual bathrooms might be too small, have a narrow hallway or even have a very strong air freshener that really bothers him and he won’t go in. Imagine you are with a friend. Maybe the friend needs you help because they sprained an ankle or something, who knows. That friend wants you to squeeze in a tiny bathroom, or worse, an outhouse. Would you be happy, or even willing, to go in there? Imagine if it smelled just HORRIBLE to you. Is if fair that you be forced to go in, especially if you could just go to a better bathroom down the street or on another floor? Not really. We don’t consider this to be a training issue. It is just not fair to require him to go in a tiny smelly space when it is just a little extra work to go elsewhere. (Another thing to keep in mind when you are wishing you could take your dog everywhere with you.)

Now imagine you are working, whatever you do whether it is in an office, a school, driving a truck, and throughout the day (or even just once) someone brings a dog in. Do you stay focused on your job? I know I wouldn’t. I would be pretty excited about playing with that dog!!! Or maybe it is a mean dog. This barking nasty dog comes in and is nipping at you. Do you stay calm? Probably not. So, then why would we assume a service dog should? (But you know, so many of them learn to work despite this and Casper is better everyday. I would never learn to not get excited about a dog!!!)

So, you are concentrating on your work and a parade of screaming, giggling, running kids surrounds you. Can you concentrate?

Is there something that scares you? Clowns? Chucky? Honey BooBoo? Try working with that popping in and out unexpectedly.

You are focused, really hyper into your work because you know someone is depending on you. Maybe your job, like mine, means you are trying to troubleshoot over the phone with someone. Or maybe you are giving a presentation. Suddenly a HUGE booming starts just by your head. How well are you concentrating now? Maybe its bagpipes. In fact, let’s think about this one. A dog has super hearing. I tried to imagine what these super loud to me noises sound like to him. My best comparison is my smoke detector. I HATE that sound. Imagine it is going off and it is RIGHT NEXT TO your ear. Do you jump? Does it hurt? Can you work effectively?

What would you do if a random stranger came up and started stroking your hair or just got right in your face? Working or not you probably would not react well. Or maybe it is someone you know well and it is a wonderful shoulder massage. Are you concentrating well during that? What if that stranger in your face seems threatening to you because of their approach? Yeah. Probably not doing your work ethic a lot of good.

Now let’s add another angle to this. You chose your job. Whether you like it or not you chose to do it. A service dog did not. He is born into it. And he does it because he loves his handler.When they are working they are happy. This is what they are made to do and they love their job and their handler. If they don’t feel well they still work. If they don’t want to be somewhere they still work. They work 24-7. It is like being a mom. You just don’t get to take vacation.

Almost everything I mentioned above is eventually overcome by a service dog after they reach a certain point in training. There is usually one or two issues they will always struggle with (often seeing other dogs or getting pet) but they are still doing better than I ever would. So when someone says he needs to learn how to do his job I get mad. Really mad. He is amazing for how young he is. He still has some room to grow and so do Dan and I, but how do we learn if we stay at home and worry about whether he will be perfect. If I was worried about perfect behavior we would never take the kids anywhere. Or me for that matter!!!

And here is out boy drinking from the water fountain in the middle of Salem. He was a photo op for a LOT of tourists!

I bet we could have trained him to step on the pedal himself if given time!!!

written by LJS