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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, June 24 2001

Working dogs

It finally happened. A restaurant refused to let me in with my guide dog. As a young Chinese fellow stepped in front of us and spoke in broken English, "No dog. Dog scare girl. No dog," I could sense the adrenalin rushing through my wife's veins. She had been waiting ever since I came home with my dog, Lucky, in October 1998 to meet such a challenge.

I simply said to her, "Let's get out of here." She wouldn't budge. She told me that she was standing up for the principle involved. The last time I stood up to the principal, he whacked me three times with a paddle.

True to my non-confrontational (euphemism for cowardly) nature, I walked out and let the poor, young Chinese man face her alone. She forcefully told him about the ADA and threatened him with arrest and public exposure. Since we had an appointment in less than an hour, she didn't follow through with her threats but she did write down the name and telephone number of the restaurant.

Several hours later, as soon as we arrived home, she was on the telephone to the restaurant manager reading him the riot act as well as the ADA laws concerning service dogs. The manager was either wiser or feared her threats of arrest and public exposure. He apologized repeatedly in his broken English. "I so sorry, so sorry. Young man, he dumb. Don't know law. I so sorry."

She told him that she was coming to his restaurant the following Friday and if we had any problems, she was going to call the police and the TV station. He answered, "You come. I give you free meal. You come. Bring dog." We did go and we handed the manager a three-page printout of the ADA laws dealing with service animals. To my wife, it was disappointing to get the royal treatment. She was still looking for a fight.To the disappointment of us both, the food wasn't good enough to be worth all the fuss.

The people of western Pennsylvania have been great in their reception of my guide dog and me. Shortly after coming home from Guiding Eyes, I went to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh for an eye operation. The staff from all neighboring departments came by to greet Lucky as though he were a rock star. They allowed him in the recovery room as soon as I woke.

Many of the restaurants we frequent will give us a special table so Lucky has a good place to lie. Because of the medical problems of our one foster child, we were in Conemaugh Hospital several times a month for more than a year. Lucky, again, was treated like a celebrity. They even allowed him into the ICU.

The one problem I do have is people being too friendly. Everyone wants to pet Lucky and he loves the attention. However, it can be very distracting and even dangerous to us as a working team. The worst incident I can recall happened while we were crossing Lloyd Street at Roberts Street. Midway through the intersection, a lady reached out to pet Lucky. He lunged toward her and pulled me off balance. I had to stop, listen carefully to get my orientation, then work Lucky to the up curb. Fortunately, there was no traffic but at a busy intersection such an incident could have been disastrous.

Lucky is trained to pull me back from danger, and has. The first time was at a busy intersection on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Lucky pulled me out of the path of a taxicab. However, if he is distracted, we are both left vulnerable to injury or death. He is my guide for safe traveling and should be allowed to go everywhere I need and want to go.

A second opinion

A man runs into the vet's office carrying his dog, screaming for help. The vet rushes him back to an examination room and has him put his dog down on the examination table. The vet examines the still, limp body and after a few moments tells the man that his dog, regrettably, is dead. The man, clearly agitated and not willing to accept this, demands a second opinion.

The vet goes into the back room and comes out with a cat and puts the cat down next to the dog's body. The cat sniffs the body, walks from head to tail poking and sniffing the dog's body and finally looks at the vet and meows. The vet looks at the man and says, "I'm sorry, but the cat thinks that your dog is dead too."

The man is still unwilling to accept that his dog is dead. The vet brings in a black Labrador. The lab sniffs the body, walks from head to tail, and finally looks at the vet and barks. The vet looks at the man and says, "I'm sorry, but the lab thinks your dog is dead too."

The man, finally resigned to the diagnosis, thanks the vet and asks how much he owes. The vet answers, "$650."

"$650 to tell me my dog is dead?" exclaimed the man....

"Well," the vet replies, "I would only have charged you $50 for my initial diagnosis. The additional $600 was for the cat scan and lab test."

Sent by David Caldwell

Four more to grow on

"It is not the enactment, but the observation of laws, that creates the character of a nation." Calvin Coolidge

"It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot (Marian Evans)

"It is the business of little minds to shrink." Carl Sandburg

"The envious only hate the excellence they cannot reach." Unknown

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