a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
|By Nancy Svoboda on Monday, 06 July 2009|
|As an agency, we have agreed to support a non|
-profit organization called Paws & Effect™. One
of the most important segments of this business
is the raising, training, and placement of service
dogs locally. Service dogs need real-world
experience to learn to help those with special
needs. This is where we have agreed to help out.
Beginning the week of July 6, Steve Hirsch will be bringing
a service dog to the agency for training 2 or 3 times per week.
The yellow lab will be wearing a vest indicating not to pet him
because he is working. He will be at Steve’s side wherever
Obviously, this is a new experience for the agency, and we
hope it will be successful. However, we recognize that some
employees may be allergic to dogs. If you have any questions,
concerns, etc., please contact Nancy Svoboda so we can
work together to make this a great experience for everyone.
From Paws and Effect:We're excited to introduce you to "Tag," whose full name,
Partager, means "to share" in French. Tag, a yellow lab,
will be a year old on July 1. In the true spirit of the word,
we appreciate your willingness to share in the experience
of training a service dog. Tag has learned to open
handicapped accessible doors by touching the associated
pressure plate; open and close interior doors by tugging
on the handle (when a tugging object is available) or by
pushing it shut with his nose; retrieve large and small items
and placing them back in a person's hand. Consistent
with the minimum standards of Assistance Dogs International,
Tag has learned at least three tasks to offset the limitations
a person may experience if they were mobility impaired.
You'll find that Tag is very quiet and gentle as well as
hardworking and diligent. For now, he has demonstrated some
fabulous work in public, although he still has some resistance
to going up and down stairs. With that, there may be times
when you see Steve actually training Tag and we hope that you'll
acknowledge them with a quick greeting and continue on. Of
course, every once in a while, Tag's age will shine through and
he'll demonstrate that he can be a silly, adolescent dog. We
are seeing that less and less, but know that there will be times
that it is just too plain hard to work, and an effort to engage
others to play will be offered. Again, ignoring the
behavior when it happens will provide Steve the opportunity to
redirect Tag into more appropriate public behavior.
We know it is challenging to resist petting a dog while it is
working, but refraining from doing so allows the dog to keep
his focus on the person for whom it is working. This dog has
been trained to avert eye contact with other humans as well
as making the effort to keep the tail wagging to a minimum.
In doing so, the dog discourages further interactions because
he appears aloof. Mistakes happen, sometimes it is just too
much to ask and we end up speaking with the dog or reaching
for them. Recognize this is a good training opportunity for the
dog, no apologies are required. However, we hope to see
spontaneous interactions decrease as people get used to seeing
Steve with Tag.
Once things settle in, we'll try to set up an opportunity where
people can play with Tag when his vest is off. Tag enjoys water,
retrieving, tugging, general fun and games and, of course,
being a lab, food.
Know how much your efforts are appreciated and how valuable
this experience is for Tag. He will be placed shortly after his stay
with Steve and we'll be happy to share all the details of his
placement as they become available