Im so proud of Kobash. We have avoided going into the local shopping centre together for months. Ever since they kicked me out with him when we first started going in together. There was….an incident…..on our first day out together. I was so excited at finally being able to go out with him. We had been out everywhere I could think of. Exposing him to everything I could think of. We had been at the shops earlier in the day, but I had forgotten something, and had to go back. There was something else had forgotten to do. Something to do with a number two doo doo. Poor Kobash had been holding it in all day while I shuttled him from one place to another. And by the time it was past 5 in the evening, he could hold it no longer. I cleaned it all up. Thankfully I had a plastic bag with me. Unfortunately one of the cleaning ladies was also going by at the time. “oh” she said. “And he was doing so well too”. Sigh.
The following week, we were back at the shops. I had was just about to go into the health food store, when one of the security guards stopped me. He enquired about Kobash. What sort of Dog is he. What sort of vest is that. He hadn’t seen a vest like Kobash’s before. I answered all his questions, then he went on his way, presumably, and I went mine. Not more then 10 mins later, he approaches me again. This time to tell me I’m wanted in centre management. I was confused to say the least. And startled. But I followed him in there. The secretary in there started throwing a barrage of questions at me. The same ones the guard asked me. Then said that Kobash couldn’t be a service Dog. She hadn’t heard of A.W.A.R.E Dogs, so there couldn’t be an organization like that. She knew the Guide Dog people and Kobash didn’t pull his tail in while he was lying on the floor so he wasn’t a proper Service Dog. I had no right to be in public places with him. But I have a public access card. I don’t care, you cant be in here. Especially in places where they serve food. I heard about what he did last week. Guide Dogs don’t go to the toilet in the shops. I tried to explain that that was my fault. That Kobash was a good dog and didn’t do that. But it was my first day out with him and I was over excited and didn’t pay attention to him. She didn’t want to know. She rang the man that I go through at A.W.A.R.E Dogs and didn’t want to listen to him either. I practically ran out of the shops. Well as fast and as well as I could considering the problems I have with my back and there are times I can barely feel my legs.
I was so upset and traumatized. I hate confrontations. I cant deal with them. I was a wreak for days. Over the next 2 months or so, A.W.A.R.E Dogs was the go between with me and the human rights commission and the human rights commission was the go between for A.W.A.R.E Dogs and the local shops. In the end they had to write me a letter of apology. Swear that such an incident would not happen again, and make sure that their staff was well versed in Service Dogs. They wrote me the letter, said that would do their best to make sure it wouldn’t happen again, but they couldn’t promise anything. And as far as they were concerned their staff knew enough about Service Dogs. A.W.A.R.E Dogs asked me if I wanted any monetary compensation for what I had endured. I said no I don’t want any money. But if you guys want a donation……The local paid a donation to A.W.A.R.E Dogs. I didn’t want anything from them other then to be able to go and do my shopping in the only shops I do my shopping in.
Its been almost 2 years since then. Kobash and I would go other shops together and other places, but I couldn’t face taking him into the local. He really didn’t like going in there. The incident upset him also. And when the local had their 25 anniversary, with balloons popping everywhere sending him rocketing to the ceiling every time, he really showed me he hated going in there. With everything he had. He could feel it from me when we went in together. I was so anxious every time. But then we got our lovely Ruff Ruff comfort vests. Which I got for Kobash for our upcoming trip to Melbourne. Its going to be a massive trip. The lovely lady that sent me the coats for Kobash and Nova also sent us up some wonderful smelling calming spray with things like lavender and ylang ylang in it. I put some on Kobash and on the coat when we went out on Thursday. And we made our trip to the local. Now I had taken him for a couple of five minute stints over the past week to see how he would go. And they went well. But this was Thursday shopping day. One of the busiest days at the local.
Kobash nailed it! He did so well. He was so relaxed he lagged behind me a bit. But we got our shopping done. It got done very quickly, but we got it done 😀
Needless to say Kobash got a favourite treat when he got home. And today he had a bludge day at home 🙂
But that day showed me how many people are ignorant about Service Dogs. They see enough guide dogs around, but there aren’t as many other types of Service Dogs around. That is one of the reasons I started Kobash’s page on Facebook. To help raise some awareness. And to show the different types of organizations like A.W.A.R.E Dogs Australia, that help people like me to be able to have a service dog. I