Public Access

The main purpose of a Service Dog is assisting the person with disabilities (PWD) with tasks both at home and away from home. The PWD has the right to take their Service Dog anywhere the human can go (there are few exceptions). The business or public entity has the right to ask the PWD to remove the dog should the dog be disrupting the service provided. For example, urinating on the floor, barking, and sticking its nose into food items that are not the PWD’s. This is made possible via the Americans Disability Act (see my other site for federal laws).

One of the things PWDs try to do is get the dog used to every public situation they can. Restaurants, stores, sidewalks, whatever the dog will be exposed to while working. This helps the dog feel safe. Some states have “service dog in training” laws. This grants the PWD the opportunity to do public access training with their dog as soon as possible instead of only being able to go to dog friendly places (see my other site for state law information).

Quinn has been to restaurants, one or two stores, parks, sidewalks, pet stores. Not much. Mostly because we currently do not have a way to transport my wheelchair so we are limited where I can go. I can walk but only so far (see “Why I Use a Chair“). I use a store’s scooter whenever available. Quinn never paid any attention to the scooters. Didn’t care. She walks closer to me than Joella ever did. Jo was notorious for going as far as the leash would let her which is why I had a 4 foot leash vs a 6′. Especially after the Birmingham Church Service Incident.

SDs need to be as unobtrusive as possible. There’s a recent wave of believing they should “tuck” themselves into tiny little spaces so to not bother anyone around them. I am not a follower of that philosophy. I put my sticks away so no one will trip over them, yes, but my chair? I don’t make that smaller. Why should I make my dog? Of course, I’d not let her lay in the middle of the aisle; that would be stupid and dangerous. But I’m also not going to force her to lay under the table, draped over the bits of it. Typically I removed a chair from the table and Jo took that spot. Quinn? Oy. Quinn doesn’t understand the concept of “people are going to step on you, silly”. If she lays under the table she can’t see what is going on! Right?

Joella slept everywhere we went. She didn’t care and easily got bored. McCormick Field for a baseball game? Once warm up was over (she loved watching them through the ball around) she laid down and took a nap. If I was sitting still for more than a few minutes, she was so over it. Quinn will never be bored. She will probably not sleep through anything. Maybe once she gets used to everything but I don’t think so. She is the only dog we have ever had who did not sleep during car rides. Even driving up North, she was awake almost all the time.

So Quinn and I need to work on public access stuff. She needs to meet a wider variety of people. Dark skinned folks, bald folks, screaming kids, babies in strollers. She needs to learn to be patient while I shop. She needs to keep an eye on me so she can follow my path.

We (me, L, and Quinn) went to Long John Silver’s last week. Quinn was calm, cool. She got excited about the ice machine (first time meeting one) but then she lay beside me and never moved. And if you know Quinn, that was amazing. Absolutely amazing. Quinn still? Wow.

My goal is to get myself out of this house at least once a week and take Quinn inside some establishment. It will be good for my mental health and it will be good for her.

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