Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Job Has Gone To The Dogs: "Working"

My hips often freeze on hard surfaces causing me to go to the ground suddenly. My poor vision means I may not see obstructions, holes, or even helpful items like ramps or automatic doors. Goodee helps me with all these items. The Service Dog finds items for me and keeps a barrier between me and anything she views as atypical. She comes alert at the first strange smell or sound. --- In fact, Goodee the Service Dog is always working

She accompanies me everywhere. The pharmacy is one of our most frequent stops. Goodee knows the exact route to the waiting area. We take a seat on the couch and await my prescriptions. Goodee’s appointed station is just in front of my feet. She gazes in all directions looking for anything out of place.

This week a cluster of little girls came right over. —It often happens Goodee the Awesome Aussie has a friendly face. Her golden eyes invite inquiry.

“May I pet her?” one girl asked nicely. “Not right now,” “She is working.” I replied. The young lady let out a sigh, gave a disappointed look and moved away. “The dog is working” the young girl tells her friend. —Then the girls look at each other, give a look back at Goodee and Collectively say “THAT DOG IS WORKING?”

Recently upon exiting a mall a lady ran ahead of us. I thought this person was in a hurry and felt badly for being in the way. We seated ourselves on an outside bench to wait for a taxi. The lady came back around and positioned herself in front of the bench
Goodee was attired in her usual vest. “WORKING SERVICE DOG DO NOT TOUCH it clearly announces on both sides. “May I pet the dog?,” the lady says. “Sorry, not right now,” “She is working,” I replied.

Looking down at Goodee and then back to me the stranger took an argumentative posture. -- “Working huh?” the lady said, blowing cigarette smoke in Goodee’s face.

Just then my friend came up and did me the favor of stating that she had seen Goodee and I work together for years and yes in fact Goodee is working even when it may not look like it.

When we began going to the office I encountered the question “What does the dog do for you?” I gave a full response because I know my employer is only trying to be helpful and assist in mitigating my limitations.

“This dog does all that?” one supervisor said looking at Goodee as if an animal couldn’t possibly have that kind of intellect. “YES” in fact she does I quickly announced. (“She serves me better than most humans.”—I thought to myself).

These situations illustrate something that is commonplace among people of all ages. --. The human mind associates seeing a dog that is sitting, laying, standing or walking with the pet dog that we know and love

Pets are wonderful. We have many pets ourselves but we would like to take this time to talk about the working Service Animal.

“Not me, I’m playing “ “The human is blogging.” –Only the human is talking about Service Animals, Goodee the Service Dog wants to play with the cats they are PETS you know” – OK, Good point Goodee. You have time off when we are safe at home. You play with our PETS. The PETS are not specifically trained to do tasks mitigating a disability so they must stay home while we go out.

If a person sees our cat laying down it is not “working” because it is not trained to alert to strange noises or put a barrier between me and a stranger but you Goodee the SERVICE DOG are trained to do that. In fact, even when you are playing you observe me and come over to do your job.

“How do you do that Goodee the Service Dog?

“It’s a professional secret mom.”

OK Goodee I know some things are best left to professionals but, we could give our friends a small idea of what WORKING DOGS do.

There is no exhaustive list of tasks for the Service Dog.

WORKING means engaged in a task specifically designed to mitigate an individual’s disability.

Goodee observes me and knows when I need to change positions to prevent my muscles from become too tight. —So as we sit she is watching.

While walking if my lower back tightens my hips will grab hard surfaces causing a fall. Goodee walks with me taking cues from my pace. She knows if the day is good or bad. She knows when my hips must stop and rest.

To on-lookers she is “sitting” or “walking” or “just sitting/ walking” as some strangers say. - ---“Well the dog is just_______(sitting, walking, standing, laying), so may we pet her?” “Sorry, she is working,” I reply.

While most people think of a Service Dog for someone who is blind or deaf, it’s important to note that Service Dogs can be used to mitigate many disabilities both visible and invisible.

My friend Sue Kindred at Guardian Angel Service Dogs ( recently talked with me about Service Dog tasks She noted Service dogs are used to mitigate Epilepsy, Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, PTSD, Seizures Traumatic Brain Injury, and Spectrum Disorders such as Autism, Aspergers, or Social Anxiety Disorder.

“Let’s give them additional reading.” “HOMEWORK!” “Goodee, that’s not nice we could just call it references”

OK, here it goes…


For information on the training of Service Dogs:

“Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook “ by Marcie Davis, Betty White

The life changing effects of a Service Dog:

New York Times Best –Seller “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him" by Former Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan (with Bret Witter)

Information on Service Dog Access Requirements:

U.S. Department of Justice ADA Business BRIEF: Service Animals

If you have questions concerning the ADA and service animals, call
U.S. Department of Justice ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY) or visit the ADA Business Connection at 

If someone you know needs a service dog for an invisible disability, please visit

You may come upon a Service Dog Team and even when you least expect it they may have to announce:
“Not Now We Are Working.”

GoodeeWorks Productions

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