Service Dogs Only

I was reading online about the latest douchey thing our pathetic “president” did recently when something shiny furry caught my eye. It was a story about states cracking down on fake service dogs. (read it here)

I cannot express how important I think it is that people understand why rules for dogs exist. A while back I read about a woman who went on a hike with her service dog. This dog was trained to alert her when she had a seizure coming on. The area where they were hiking had a leash law, but just the same, along came an unleashed pup in the distance with his Rules Don’t Apply To Me owner. Without warning, the unleashed dog bounded for the service dog as the owner ran from behind yelling “Oh don’t worry! He’s friendly!”

For no apparent reason, the “friendly” unleashed dog went after the service dog. The service dog, while not a bloody mess, was traumatized. The woman said it took months to build her dog’s confidence up enough that the dog could do it’s job again.

I no longer trust Harlow off a leash in public. Years ago, I used to laugh as I watched her play the role of park “mayor” greeting all the new dogs as they entered the dog park. She knew how to act with certain dogs. I watched in awe once while she played with a tiny italian greyhound. They ran in circles, darted this way and that, and not once did Harlow lay a paw on that dog. She understood, somehow, that she was bigger and could easily crush it with one misstep. Alternatively, Harlow knew when a dog would be open to and capable of rough-housing.

About a year ago something changed and I am no longer comfortable with having her at the dog park. There were two incedences where she was aggressive towards other dogs.  Once when an Old English Sheepdog ignored her invite to play, and another time a few weeks later when, according to the owner, another dog nipped Harlow. To me this was no big deal, but Harlow went completely berserk, and I don’t know what would have happened if Harlow got to that dog before the owner grabbed it out fo the way.

The owner of the Old English Sheep dog was pissed, and I was mortified. No dogs were hurt in either incident but I don’t take her to dog parks anymore.  That’s just not a risk I’m taking again.

My point is that while Harlow has always been high energy and a “handful”, I do not know what caused her to become reactive to this degree.

This entry is sort of going off the dog path. My point is, it doesn’t take much of anything to change a dog’s disposition, and when thousands of dollars have been invested in training a dog for the specific purpose of keeping a human safe and able to be part of the community, you going online to buy a fake service dog vest so you can get your precious “baby” onto a flight with you or bring it shopping with you is complete bull.

Actually, what would really solve the problem is to hold accountable those people who SOLD these vests. In no scenario should you have a service dog vest in your possession unless you have a trained service dog who received that vest as part of its extensive and expensive training.

YOU AND YOUR DOG ARE NOT SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES so just follow the rules and don’t be a jerk! Also, don’t bring your dog into a restaurant, or into a store with you or anywhere else where they are not allowed. Dogs are dogs and you can’t know what might set them off. You don’t know your dog hates small children dressed in blue who for no apparent reason smell like strawberry shortcake until a small kid dressed in blue who for no apparent reason smells like strawberry shortcake and who, by the way, was never taught how to appropriately approach a dog, approaches your dog and gets bitten for smelling weird and wearing the wrong color for the season.

It’s common sense, people.

Also, this site is really great for teaching kids and adults how to behave around dogs. The videos are super cheesy, but the concepts are smart and important.

Here’s a picture of Harlow gazing at me with love and adoration to cleanse you lectured-at palate…

IMG_7594

 

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