My Service Dog, Jade

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jade's First Time at the Movie Theater

Tonight my better half and I went to the movies, and for the first time took Jade with us.  She's never been to the movie theater, and I've always been weary of bringing her just because the movies are always so loud. I've always wondered if it'd ruin her hearing, or cause her unneeded stress.  It's true that  a Service Dog is allowed to accompany a disabled person WHEREVER that person can go, or decides to go....but a good and smart Service Dog handler considers the situation in which they place their Service Dog.

I wasn't sure if Jade was ready, but again, she amazed me, as usual.  She was just as calm and relaxed as could be, as she always is when on the job. I brought her a small blanket that I'd crocheted a long time ago to help her feel more comfortable. It's the same blanket I keep on her bed.

We entered the mall where the theater is located and Jade's been in there several times in the past.  Nothing unusual, but it was fairly packed; which was odd for a Monday evening.  We found out why when we arrived to see some people dressed in costume as Star Trekies. Jade's used to being in large crowds and that doesn't phase her at all. Once we bought our tickets, we headed for the elevator, because as I've stated on my blog many times, the one thing you should NEVER do as a SD handler is to take your dog on an escalator.  It's way too dangerous for your dog, but some handlers are less inclined to consider their dog's safety.  Jade is great with elevators....never had a problem.  The first time she got on an elevator was at the mall, and it was as though she'd ridden in them her whole life.

Jade at 11 weeks
So we arrived on the top floor to get our popcorn and drinks, and Jade waiting patiently in line with us, doing a "front."  This is where she moves to the front position, in front of me, sideways, parallel to the service counter, and sits and waits patiently.  Once we had our goodies, we headed to the theater, and I thought, this is where she could get a bit stressed since this is totally new to her.  It's not like the old days anymore, where the lights are on in the theater and it's very bright until the previews start and the lights dim; the theater is already dark upon entry. Without hesitation, so as not to make Jade think something was wrong, we entered the theater and found the handicap seating toward the front. I squatted down to avoid getting in people's way, and spread the little blanket next to my seat for her.  Jade got right on the blanket and did a perfect down/stay.  For a little while, she watched the big screen intently, with her ears up and alert, turning her head from side to side.  It was as if she was watching the movie, but I'm certain she was trying to ascertain whether the people on the screen were real or inside that screen-like thing, like the one we have at home, only smaller.  :)  I watched her out of the corner of my eye for a while looking for any signs of stress, but then she lay her head between her front paws and began to doze a bit.  She stayed right there until the movie was over!

What an amazing dog! I swear this dog NEVER ceases to amaze me.  She makes me proud!

The one very NOT new experience we had was all the folks at the theater staring at us as we entered the building, waited in line, entered the theater, exited the theater, etc.  I really don't like people staring at us, but I suppose it's to be expected.  People don't usually see service dogs every day, although I wish they did.  I wish there were more of them out and about.  There's always at least one small child that says something like, "Look mommy, there's a dog!" or "Hey that lady has a dog!"  Can't get anything passed the children, especially a dog! :)

Jade hanging out with buddies
What I  absolutely get tired of and find absolutely RUDE and DISRESPECTFUL are those people who say things like "What's wrong with you?"  or "Why do you need a dog, you're not blind?!" or "What are you training her for?" and the most annoying one...."Isn't it hard to give them away once you have them trained?!"

I really don't mind people asking questions, inquiring about her training, her breed or making conversation about service dogs, etc.  I don't even mind when people stop to tell me about their Uncle's friend's service dog, etc. as long as I'm not in a rush, and I'm MORE than willing to take a moment to help educate others on the value of service dogs and such, or even to let someone pet her, especially children...that is, IF THEY ASK!

In summary, it was the very first time Jade attended the movies with me, and she was masterful! It was as though she'd been doing this her whole life.  You amaze me, Jade! You're the BEST DOG in the world!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Service Dog Booties

If you have a service dog, and you live in a place like I do, where you have to deal with extreme temperatures, you know how hot the pavement can get.  The pavement here, mid summer, gets so hot it's sometimes gooey, as it starts melting from the extreme temperatures.  Having a service dog, you know that your dog must go everywhere with you, even in these extreme temperatures.  It's only the right thing to do to cover your dog's paws with something to protect them from the heat.

I've had people tell me that they just don't go out as much as they'd like to in the heat because their poor service dog's paws are starting to crumble from the heat.  Or that they know their service dog is suffering when they go out because they do a little dance when on the pavement trying to keep their paws from burning.

Believe it, your dog's paws definitely feel the heat from the pavement/asphalt and it hurts.  So please do your service dog a favor and cover his/her paws with something!

This is what I've done for my service dog.  I make booties.  They're stylish, cute, and very comfortable for your dog.  They let the dog's feet breathe and all the dogs that have worn them, have had NO problems getting used to them.  They're very soft and the dog is still able to feel where their feet are going and have been very comfortable.

I've tried purchasing dog shoes, and boots for my dog, but she was not comfortable in them and they made her paws very hot and sweaty.  Also, she had trouble feeling where her feet were going as the bottoms were made of rubber,  and she would stumble clumsily along.

These booties are the ultimate in comfort, extremely flexible (like socks) and will protect your dog's paws from the heat and/or extreme cold.  They come in YOUR favorite color, and your dog will LOVE them and thank you for protecting their paws.

I made these for my dog and for other people's dogs.  I love to make them, and can make them in all sizes, and colors. 

If you're interested and you like these booties for your dog, please let me know. Just be respectful of your dog's paws and keep them from suffering the heat or extreme cold on the pavement.  

Your service dog will do anything for you, make him/her comfortable.

My trainer's dog LOVES them. He's comfortable, stylish and protected! 

Rudy says "Thank you Jewel Jade! I love them!" 
My Jade LOVES her booties! 

Small dog? NO problem! 

Super cute! Stylish and protective!

They also come with a little pouch to keep the booties in. 

Each pouch is different, depending on your color, and style. 

Want some booties for YOUR dog? Leave me a message here. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Volunteering In Training Class

Well, now that my Jade and I are finished with our training (for the most part) and have been completely certified as a Service Dog Team, we have decided to give back by volunteering with the organization that helped train Jade.  So we are going to class once a week to help the new comers with their training, in any way that we can.  I just felt it to be the right thing to do.

The class we have been assigned to is called the CGC 1 class.  This is the first of three classes that will help these dogs and handlers pass their CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test. After passing this test, they will go on to the Service/Assistance classes to begin training for Service Dog.  This is the same way that Jade and I went about our training, except that we skipped a few classes along the way because Jade already knew a lot of this stuff.

So there is the CGC 1, 2 and 3 class.  Then the dogs and handlers take the exam. Once they pass the exam, they go on to Service/Assistance classes; there are Assistance 1, 2, and 3 classes. Once the dogs and handlers have completed the Service/Assistance classes, they then take the exam for Service Dog Certification. However, in the Service/Assistance training, there are a few tests to pass along the way, including the test taken in the handler's home to ensure the dog is properly trained in manners at home before going on to test for public access.

I am happy about volunteering and Jade accompanies me to the class.  I like watching all the different dogs and handlers learn so much and progress into becoming such wonderful assistance dogs. I think the experience will be enlightening and purposeful.  There is only one problem. Well, two, if you want to get technical.  In this class, there are two pit bull type dogs.

That is a HUGE problem for me. For one, I don't want to expose my Jade to any situation that could endanger her training, or her life, for that matter.  My trainer knows how I feel about pit bulls, so I'm wondering if she put me in this class deliberately.  I don't know, but if she did, I think that is very disrespectful. She knows that Jade was viciously attacked by a pit bull, and she knows we don't want to be around them.  Just having Jade in the same room with these pit bulls could turn out to be a disaster.  Nothing can stop a pit bull once it sets its mind on attacking and killing. They're just too unpredictable. I do however carry weapons, everywhere I go, and will NOT hesitate to use it if I have to. I will NOT let my Jade get attacked again, and jeopardize all the work, time and money we have put into her training.

Too many service dogs are being attacked by pit bulls.  If it were up to me, I would NOT allow pit bulls to be service dogs.  Their instincts to fight and kill are way too strong to be in the role of service dog.  I don't even think pit bulls should be allowed in public, period.  They're way too much of a public safety hazard. Bash me all you want, but I guarantee that most of the general  public agrees with me on this.

So I have been thinking about what to do about this since we attended the first class.  I could just quit altogether, but I'm thinking, before I do that, I might attempt to request a different class, a safer one.  A class with no pit bulls in it.

In my opinion, pit bulls shouldn't be allowed in training classes with normal dogs, ever. It's too much of a liability. I think pit bulls should have their own training classes, just for pit bull type dogs, pit bulls, and pit bull mixes.  They're just not like other dogs, and in a class with normal dogs, it's just too dangerous.

So, I think I'm going to request a different class.  If that doesn't work, well, then, I most likely just won't go back.

Pit bulls have killed over 150 people in the last 3 years, and have attacked and killed many, many more animals, including Service and Guide dogs.