- Q. Is the dog in training?
- A. No, the dog is competely trained. I'm in training and we are learning to work as a team.
- Q. Is this a military dog? Military working dog?
- A. No, I was in the military.
- Q. Can I pet the dog? ( This is asked quite a bit. )
- A. This depends. Usually it depends on the situation. If the dog is in her service vest and is working at that moment, the guys explain that she is working and she can't be pet at that time. Then they thank the person for asking. Other times they allow the dog to be pet or spoken to, but only when they are in a sit/down position. I find they almost exclusively allow this when the children ask.
- Q. (While looking directly at the men) they will ask are you blind? They blink at the person, look them square in the eye and say no. Sometimes they explain that they are Iraqi War vets and this dog helps them injuries they received there. Most people nod, thank them for their service to the country and walk away. Some look skeptically at them and ask, so where's your injury? I can't see anything wrong with you.
We have only had one challenge about bringing a service dog into a business. A young greeter at Wal-Mart was certain that service dogs were not allowed entry. It was a challenge to Isaiah and he responded with certainty that it is federal law. Pat was with him and asked the young man if he had ever heard of The American with Disabilities Act? He had not, but he was educated today.
The public kindness has also been as generous as it has been uneducated. People have respected the men and their partners. They have thanked the men. They have let the dogs work and in Home Depot they went out of their way to help with the ongoing training these dogs need in unexpected situations. They allowed us to drop lumber, large metal clasps, and anything else that would cause an unexpected and loud sound. They ran saws for us and drove the loader back and forth. The whole experience bonded the men and dogs closer. The dogs and the men protected each other in a sense.
As these men heal enough to handle the day to day living that has been so difficult for them to continue, they will begin to educate those around them. Family, friends and perfect strangers will be exposed to a world that may be foreign to them. These men will pass along the kindness that started in the whelping box with inmates who got a second chance to change a life for the good. It continued with Golden Kimba Service Dogs and the dedication of Pat Schwartz to train the veterans on the way to handle their service dogs. Friends along the way who have provided situational training and playdates for the dogs. Lives will be saved from this program. Generations will be changed for the better. The darkness will begin to lift and the light will most assurdly mark the path for these teams.