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?
From: Scott Royall
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 2:46 PM
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:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 14:30
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.