Delilah

I believe the phrase is, “we have a winner.”

I found a dog at Houston Humane Society that passed every test I could think to throw at her—literally. Her name is currently Delilah, although I’ll probably change that to something I can get closer to saying, like Leah or Leia. She is technically a GSD mix, but she appears to just be a underweight grayish GSD to me. Anyway, she did easily beat three other dogs in my tests, exhibiting good food and play drive (loves tennis balls), no significant prey drive (she showed deference to a male Chihuahua of all things), no negative reaction to the wheelchair, fair retrieval response (not great, but adequate to our needs), and she seems to be outgoing and confident. She was all I could ask for in a recruit so I started the adoption sequence, and she should be ready Thursday. Enclosed is a short video of Delilah cantering besides the chair to check her locomotion.

I’ll still want to bring her by GCVS for an orthopedic x-ray series. I would also really appreciate it if Kate or Dr. Beale would reach out to HHS and talk to their vets about suturing her stomach to the abdominal wall at the same time that they spay her. They probably won’t, but I hate the thought of opening the poor dog twice in rapid succession. The suture procedure is something I do to my working dogs as an insurance measure. It isn’t an absolutely guaranteed way to prevent what is commonly called “bloating,” but it does greatly reduce the chances and severity of an incident. I learned that lesson the hard way after nearly losing Lilly and being raked over the coals by Dr. Li$ka for $3600. I sure wish HHS would agree to let GCVS do both procedures.

I must say that dealing with Houston Humane Society was a pleasant change from I’ve had to deal with since Ari’s death. I had a mother/daughter team dutifully trotting out dogs on my list, and helping with the tests. As it turns out, HHS is the only local shelter that admits to occasionally being visited by something called “Service Dogs, Inc.” for recruits. It was nice to be able to operate completely above board and not need to shade the truth any. (Although, if you think about it, my basic tests are no different from what any decent pet adopter should be doing!)

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Vals pals dogs

Melissa,

I anticipated this response since GHGSDR sang a virtually identical tune. At least yours is somewhat more honest in that it hints at the real problem: perceived risk of liability. People become very paranoid when they hear their efforts may involve a disabled person. It is as if nobody acknowledges that most disabled people are mentally competent. Who said one word about your organizations guaranteeing your amateur evaluations of your dogs? Not me. I do my own evaluations, thank you. That’s another reason why I have a trainer recognized by both the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and the Working Dog Association working with me. I’ve had to evaluate and train my service dogs to meet my needs since Congress formalized the concept. You can read on below about why I do not even qualify for any of the “standard” service dog programs, but the short answer is that they do not work with my level of disability. That’s why I had to become proficient at evaluation and training for my needs.

As of the moment, Val’s and GHGSDR are creating a major problem for me by soaking up most of the local supply of available and affordable GSDs. In effect, I’m being blocked from the only source of dogs I can readily evaluate these days. That seems creepily like the sort of matter lawyers love to spend years fighting over, but that’s not going to get me another dog within my lifetime either. Your evaluations are a convenience for me at most, but I have to have access to the dogs to evaluate them. Your decisions (addressing Val’s Pals and GHGSDR) are essentially denying me the right of a responsible adult to determine the suitability of an animal for myself apparently solely based on my intended use. The proof of that assertion is in the simple fact that you would eagerly let me meet as many dogs as I wanted if my application claimed I wanted a pet.

Can you at least understand why I must take the matter quite seriously?

Scott Royall

From: Scott Royall
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 2:46 PM
To: adoptions@ghgsdr.org
Cc: al@longoriahausdogtraining.com
Subject: RE: GHGSDR Application
One other thing, your website lists two dogs that could fit my needs. No question, they would need two very different work profiles, but that speaks to the very point you seem to miss. I neither need nor can use one of those “cookie-cutter” dogs those organizations turn out.

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 14:30
To: adoptions@ghgsdr.org
Cc: al@longoriahausdogtraining.com
Subject: RE: GHGSDR Application

Well, at least now I know of a valid email address for contacting you. That’s a necessary first step in establishing an actual two-way communication with you as opposed to blindly filling out an application. Have you ever worked with service dog organizations? If you have, you already know I have no chance of being accepted by any of them. I am 59 years old, and not a veteran wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq. That’s the one unfortunately real truth in the murky world of service dog creation. It’s a topic inhabited by many misconceptions and misunderstandings, and the content of your email was clearly based on a number of them.

To start with, there is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a “service dog.” I suppose that’s only logical since there’s also no universally-binding definition of what a disability is. I reckon that’s impossible to pin down since any given disability can affect an individual in various ways. Likewise, the traits of every service dog can only be defined in the broadest terms, because the specifics of a good dog/human match are as individual as imaginable.

Yes, service dog organizations generally do have very specific definitions, but those are driven as much by economics as anything else. The types of conditioning and training those dogs are put through are very expensive so only human applicants whose needs fit the profile that organization’s dogs are trained to help with are considered. Essentially, you need not even apply unless you live totally without caregivers and no other dogs. Both things eliminate me immediately, and my age makes me a poor “investment” from the organization’s viewpoint.

That’s just one side of the equation, let’s now take a look at my own real-world criteria for selecting my working dog candidates. (Did you know that my best dog, the award-winning Lilly, came from CAP? Of course you didn’t, because you didn’t bother to talk with me!) At the most basic level, my dogs need to be healthy, even-tempered, and eager to learn. Yes, it’s that jaw-droppingly simple, at least from your perspective! Naturally, there are some additional tests that might wash out a candidate, but please tell me how that’s any different from other adoption? Don’t those have trial periods? This is why I have Al Longoria working with me, to help with the evaluation and basic training my dogs need.

Your decision, if unchanged, unfortunately puts us in direct competition. Let me spell it out very clearly: I’m not someone to be lightly dismissed, and I need another dog. If you remain unwilling to work with me, I will have no choice but to start visiting the very same animal shelters that you largely depend on beginning this weekend. I will of course mention my conflict with you. In fact, I’ll simply show this email exchange to their management, and let them judge the merits of each side for themselves. Since they will be looking at me in person–something you’ve never bothered to do–I suspect your relationships with them may cool somewhat in the future. Sadly, you have only two days to reverse yourself, and I don’t even want to consider the outcomes of not doing so.

Scott Royall

GHGSDR Application

One other thing, your website lists two dogs that could fit my needs. No question, they would need two very different work profiles, but that speaks to the very point you seem to miss. I neither need nor can use one of those “cookie-cutter” dogs those organizations turn out.

From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 14:30
To: adoptions@ghgsdr.org
Cc: al@longoriahausdogtraining.com
Subject: RE: GHGSDR Application

Well, at least now I know of a valid email address for contacting you. That’s a necessary first step in establishing an actual two-way communication with you as opposed to blindly filling out an application. Have you ever worked with service dog organizations? If you have, you already know I have no chance of being accepted by any of them. I am 59 years old, and not a veteran wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq. That’s the one unfortunately real truth in the murky world of service dog creation. It’s a topic inhabited by many misconceptions and misunderstandings, and the content of your email was clearly based on a number of them.

To start with, there is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a "service dog." I suppose that’s only logical since there’s also no universally-binding definition of what a disability is. I reckon that’s impossible to pin down since any given disability can affect an individual in various ways. Likewise, the traits of every service dog can only be defined in the broadest terms, because the specifics of a good dog/human match are as individual as imaginable.

Yes, service dog organizations generally do have very specific definitions, but those are driven as much by economics as anything else. The types of conditioning and training those dogs are put through are very expensive so only human applicants whose needs fit the profile that organization’s dogs are trained to help with are considered. Essentially, you need not even apply unless you live totally without caregivers and no other dogs. Both things eliminate me immediately, and my age makes me a poor "investment" from the organization’s viewpoint.

That’s just one side of the equation, let’s now take a look at my own real-world criteria for selecting my working dog candidates. (Did you know that my best dog, the award-winning Lilly, came from CAP? Of course you didn’t, because you didn’t bother to talk with me!) At the most basic level, my dogs need to be healthy, even-tempered, and eager to learn. Yes, it’s that jaw-droppingly simple, at least from your perspective! Naturally, there are some additional tests that might wash out a candidate, but please tell me how that’s any different from other adoption? Don’t those have trial periods? This is why I have Al Longoria working with me, to help with the evaluation and basic training my dogs need.

Your decision, if unchanged, unfortunately puts us in direct competition. Let me spell it out very clearly: I’m not someone to be lightly dismissed, and I need another dog. If you remain unwilling to work with me, I will have no choice but to start visiting the very same animal shelters that you largely depend on beginning this weekend. I will of course mention my conflict with you. In fact, I’ll simply show this email exchange to their management, and let them judge the merits of each side for themselves. Since they will be looking at me in person–something you’ve never bothered to do–I suspect your relationships with them may cool somewhat in the future.

Sadly, you have only two days to reverse yourself, and I don’t even want to consider the outcomes of not doing so.

Scott Royall

GHGSDR Application

Well, at least now I know of a valid email address for contacting you. That’s a necessary first step in establishing an actual two-way communication with you as opposed to blindly filling out an application. Have you ever worked with service dog organizations? If you have, you already know I have no chance of being accepted by any of them. I am 59 years old, and not a veteran wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq. That’s the one unfortunately real truth in the murky world of service dog creation. It’s a topic inhabited by many misconceptions and misunderstandings, and the content of your email was clearly based on a number of them.

To start with, there is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a "service dog." I suppose that’s only logical since there’s also no universally-binding definition of what a disability is. I reckon that’s impossible to pin down since any given disability can affect an individual in various ways. Likewise, the traits of every service dog can only be defined in the broadest terms, because the specifics of a good dog/human match are as individual as imaginable.

Yes, service dog organizations generally do have very specific definitions, but those are driven as much by economics as anything else. The types of conditioning and training those dogs are put through are very expensive so only human applicants whose needs fit the profile that organization’s dogs are trained to help with are considered. Essentially, you need not even apply unless you live totally without caregivers and no other dogs. Both things eliminate me immediately, and my age makes me a poor "investment" from the organization’s viewpoint.

That’s just one side of the equation, let’s now take a look at my own real-world criteria for selecting my working dog candidates. (Did you know that my best dog, the award-winning Lilly, came from CAP? Of course you didn’t, because you didn’t bother to talk with me!) At the most basic level, my dogs need to be healthy, even-tempered, and eager to learn. Yes, it’s that jaw-droppingly simple, at least from your perspective! Naturally, there are some additional tests that might wash out a candidate, but please tell me how that’s any different from other adoption? Don’t those have trial periods? This is why I have Al Longoria working with me, to help with the evaluation and basic training my dogs need.

Your decision, if unchanged, unfortunately puts us in direct competition. Let me spell it out very clearly: I’m not someone to be lightly dismissed, and I need another dog. If you remain unwilling to work with me, I will have no choice but to start visiting the very same animal shelters that you largely depend on beginning this weekend. I will of course mention my conflict with you. In fact, I’ll simply show this email exchange to their management, and let them judge the merits of each side for themselves. Since they will be looking at me in person–something you’ve never bothered to do–I suspect your relationships with them may cool somewhat in the future.

Sadly, you have only two days to reverse yourself, and I don’t even want to consider the outcomes of not doing so.

Scott Royall

Wheelchair Realities

Gentlemen,

As promised, here is a set of before and after pictures regarding my wheelchair.

Before:

And after:

In truth, the pictures do not do justice to the work that was done. You can only see one of the crumbling terminal strips in the first shot. Dave might not recognize the name Anderson PowerPoles, but Darrel probably does. It’s a type of connector that has been around since, as I remarked to a friend, Jesus Christ was an ankle-biter. The wheelchair manufacturers used PowerPoles of the various sizes for several decades. Ironically, I never thought of those connectors as the solution to our issue until immediately after my last email to Dave Murphy. I needed to check out the website of an Amateur Radio equipment supplier for another project, and saw they happen to make a line of what they refer to as Rigrunners. That’s their brand name for what are essentially large terminal blocks employing PowerPole connections to distribute power, typically in the mobile context. Mine is rated at 45 amps continuous, with protection and metering. Of course each PowerPole connector set in my size, the smallest, is also rated for 45A continuous so the line to your adapter has a mini-blade fuse in the Rigrunner for 25 amps.

Once I started recognizing that what we were trying to achieve had requirements almost identical to those for a mobile radio installation, the problem of finding people to do the work also vanished. Houston may not have Mobile Mounts, but we do have River Oaks Car Stereo (ROCS). As the name suggests, ROCS makes the bulk of its income on installing car stereos, but all of the senior technicians are Hams. The shop thus has a brisk sideline business in mobile two-way communication installs. In my case, a technician opened my bustle, studied the box of new parts I had brought, and knew what work was needed.

Here are a couple of pictures showing the other end where your adapter connects to the system:

Yep, nothing more complicated than another set of PowerPole connectors, and they work fine. Remember that even the smallest PowerPoles are rated at 45 amps continuous so your adapter has all the juice it could use. I get no problems from your adapter regardless of how hard I push the laptop. The connector poor Cody brought was far larger, clunky, with a latch on one side. I could easily imagine that latch having a very short life. Sure, PowerPole housings can be crushed too, but those housings can be replaced in the field. Somehow, I don’t think the same could be said for Mobile Mount’s big ol’ connector.

Look, I do appreciate that you sent Mobile Mount down here at least partly out of the noblest motives. However, I also caught the very strong whiff of a lot of CYA going on, and that ruined your efforts for me. I have no idea who Tom Martin is, but I would be unsurprised to learn he’s a corporate lawyer. I’m enough of a “good ol’ boy” for my hackles to rise at the mere suggestion of a legal presence. What needed to happen is what finally did happen. We backed away from the problem, and a solution immediately came to me. As I’ve said before, a big part of me wants to permanently drop-kick Lind, but I realize that it is the sole source of DC adapters suitable for my requirements so I’m rather stuck with it. Don’t expect me to not speak my opinion, though.

As it happens, one of the 240W adapters apparently did go down (no output) just before this work was done. I say “apparently” because I have no way to double-check it at this point since it doesn’t yet have PowerPoles installed. I’m going to assume for the moment that Darrel doesn’t have an issue with installing PowerPoles as well. Please ask him to issue a RMA number to me so I can ship the adapter to be checked and equipped with the connectors. Thank you.

Scott

P.S.

Ari died two weeks ago from heat stroke.