Sunday, November 3, 2013

     “Goodee, why are you using so much paper?”  “I’m making a naughty list mom.”
     “Naughty list?” “Santa takes care of that Goodee, why don’t we just write a blog.”
     “Well I happen to think Santa may need help this year.”
     “Okay Goodee let me see.”
     :I don’t have everyone’s name mom but Santa will know who they are by my descriptions.”
     “I’m sure he will Goodee but this list has someone from every place we’ve been in the past year.”
     “Exactly, mom despite best efforts everywhere we have gone this year people have been naughty and touched me, or talked to me when they were asked not to, or even got between us when we were trying to work.”
     “People don’t mean to be naughty Goodee; they just need reminders so why don’t we write a blog about things you should do for a Service Dog” We could probably forget about sending the naughty list to Santa.
     “Okay, mom I know people don’t like lists of rules but it is a good way for people to know what they need to do.” How about a list with examples?”    
     “Good idea here we go.”
The Holiday Party
1/ When planning social parties remember that people with Service Dogs MUST bring the dog. You wouldn’t ask someone not to bring their cane, walker, or needed medical drugs --- The human is TOTALLY dependent upon the dog so don’t ask them to be without it. ---No matter how polite you think you have asked it is as cold and rude as a slap in the face. If there is other guests who are allergic or afraid of dogs, just do your best to accommodate everyone.
Please consider making arrangements for other dogs to be elsewhere. Remember, the Service Dog is a medical device unlike a normal dog they are not available for petting and playing. ---They also may not appreciate other dogs in their space.
Holiday Shopping
     “These rules are good anytime mom”
     “Yes, Goodee but in Holiday crowds they are even more important.”
Remember that the Service Dog and human have to take up more space than a single person. Whenever possible keep areas clear so they can move. If you see a Service Dog do your best to give it space. Many people who are dependent upon Service Dogs need extra space for medical reasons. —Crowding in or getting between the human and the dog can be dangerous and cause physical harm to the Service Dog handler.
     “How about some real life examples here.”
     “Well Goodee my memory isn’t as good as yours.”
     “Okay mom there was one time a lady was trying to get to something in the store and instead of going the most direct way to the item she asked you to move back and patted the dog (that’s ME GOODEE the SERVICE DOG) on the head as she passed by.”
     “Good example Goodee, I had forgotten that. In this situation the person was physically able to take other routes to do her task but instead decided I should yield to her. It is difficult for me to move backward sometimes it can even cause me to fall so backing up was quite a challenge and the lady looked at me as if to say “hurry up!”
Talk To The Human
      Service dog handlers are people who compensate for the things they cannot physically do. They may not do things exactly like you but it is RUDE to talk about them as if they are not there. DO NOT talk to the DOG instead of the human and DON’T talk to anyone else with the Service Dog handler. It is good customer service to look at the Service Dog handler and say,  “May I help you?” DO NOT LOOK at the dog or even mention the dog. --- Would you talk to a wheelchair or even give it a second look? The Service Dog is an extension of the human it is only there to help them.
Do Not Touch--- Don’t Even Ask
     Many Service Dog Teams have patches saying “Ask to touch.”—In this case it would be acceptable to politely ask the human prior to touching. However, Team Goodee has patches indicating “Please Do Not Touch.” The number of people who boldly touch and then act as if they have won a prize continually shocks us! There is a reason for “Don’t Touch.”—In the case of Team Goodee it throws the human off balance and many times causes a fall to the floor – Some people are able to withstand a fall to the floor but others require medical attention or even hospitalization afterward.
     No matter how nicely you think you are asking the response will be “No”—so please don’t ask.  You may give me a look like I took away your toy or I’m the meanest person in the world but I still have to say “No the dog is working.”
Quiet Please!
The Service Dog’s ONLY purpose is to help their human do something they would not otherwise be able to do. —usually something  you can do without thinking about it like--- standing, walking, or remember something. – The Service Dog Team needs to work without distraction.   Please don’t bark or make other noises at the Service Dog. –It’s not cute it ‘s dangerous. If the dog or human is distracted it can cause physical harm.
    “ There are other examples mom such as: saying “doggie” thirty or more times until the Service Dog Team and everyone around them is tired or it. “Awe,” and other nice things can all be distractions.”
     “Right again Goodee.”

No Trips Down Memory Lane or 20-Questions
     Don’t ask why we have a Service Dog and we promise we won’t ask you why K-Y Jelly in your shopping cart. The reason we have a service dog might be personal and painful.  If you need to talk to the person about Service Dogs consider giving them your email address. There are educational resources please use one of them instead of expecting a Service Dog Handler to be a personal ambassador.
     While it is nice that your best friend’s mother’s cousin has a Service Dog, we may not have time or be physically able to listen to every dog story you throw our way. —Please forgive us if we need to excuse ourselves. —Sometime when you have time we would love to share the thousands of dog examples we have been given over the years.
No Directions for the Service Dog or Handler
     I struggled for many years before I got my Service Dog. It was an effort to stand, climb, or open a door, yet many times everyone ignored me. Now, I have a dog who does a wonderful job of helping me with all these items – I now have many people who INSIST upon “helping” me. – To date the “help” has caused me several trips to the doctor and delayed me many times. I will graciously refuse offers for help. —I even understand why you offer to “help” but please just LEAVE US ALONE! We LOVE being independent.
     The human doesn’t need any help reading signs or seeing which direction to go. —The dog is skilled and KNOWS when to go, come, lay, sit or do any other commands. No matter how skilled you are as a trainer, or how devoted an animal rights activist you are public is not a proper place for advice or debate.
     “There’s an example here too mom!”
     “Okay Goodee, what’s the example.”?

     “Once there was an employee in a store who look at me and said “Come on baby it’s okay.”
     “Yes Goodee, I was so GLAD you are properly trained and knew to ignore her. I was putting things away in my purse and wasn’t ready to “go.” I advised the employee that the dog “doesn’t go until I tell her.” I was then advised that the employee “thought she was helping because the dog might be scared or distracted and not know she could go.”—thanks for the “help” but “LEAVE US ALONE!”
That means YOU!
     No matter how “special” you think you are remember rules apply to everyone including cool store employees or medical office employees. – A Service Dog is ALWAYS working even when they are: laying, chilling, or sleeping. Unless you are told otherwise please read and observe all signs around the Service Dog Team
Yes, We Can!
Service Dogs have access to all areas of public access. —Access is required under Federal Law. 
       We have examples here too!”
     “Yes Goodee recently we had an encounter where a well-meaning employee said “You can’t have the dog in here because of the food.”  The employee was so sure of herself that she repeated this to me three times. Only when I started to call the police did she ask for her manager to sort out the situation. This is discouraging because I would hope t food chains have advised their employees about Service Dog access requirements. It takes only 5-minutes to properly train your employees please do so
It’s Not About YOU
     We like other humans and enjoy you but when we are out the Service Dog Team is just trying to do the many chores on our list. We are not a Show-N-Tell display for you, your child, or your employee. —If you have to notice us please do so far away from us. We are not your entertainment. We don’t do tricks on request. We might not even want you to know the dog’s name. —Why? Because it’s not about YOU it’s about us being able to move around safely and do things just like normal people do..

     “Let’s sign off mom”

     “Okay Goodee.”
     As a reminder Team Goodee loves to hear from people via email and  Facebook. When you see us out and about we may say:


Team Goodee is proud to announce that our young friend Teddy now has his allergy alert Dog Gizmo!. You can follow Team Gizmo on their Facebook page: “Adventures of Gizmo and Teddy.”

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