April 16th 2011 1:39 pm
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[This is a follow-up to my entry from 04-14-11]
Well... Mom left a message for our County Administrator and followed up with an email to him, the 3 County Commissioners, and our Dog Warden.
Five minutes after the email went out, she got an answer back from the Dog Warden, saying:
"I was not aware of this tag offered by the State of Ohio, but I have contacted the Ohio Dog Warden Association to try to find out exactly where I can get this for you. I would also like to say that if you ever have any problems in Auglaize County with regards to your dog being denied access, please feel free to contact me directly."
So, it looks like Mom FINALLY got through to the right people the importance of getting me the right tag. Hope to have it soon :)
April 15th 2011 1:50 pm
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Aunt Karen teaches Spanish at a local high school and she always takes the kids to see Justo Lamas when he is in the area. [If you don't know who he is, please check out his web-site, which is http://www.justolamas.com. Don't worry, it's family-friendly and he's a really cool guy.]
It was my first opportunity to chaperon a field trip, so Mom jumped at the chance. Aunt Karen talks about me a lot to her students, so they already knew I am a Service Dog. Before we got there, she gave them a Service Dog etiquette lesson to make sure they didn't do anything that might keep me from doing my job... or annoying Mom.
The students in Aunt Karen's first period class were really nice when we came in. No one talked to me or tried to distract me. The students going on the trip were good when they were called down to meet us at the bus. So, Mom felt GREAT about things!
Mom decided to drive separately in case the noise was too much for me and we got into the concert venue after all of Aunt Karen's students were off the bus. As we walked past them, one of the silly teenaged boys actually BARKED at me. Guess he thought he was funny. I showed him what I thought of him; I kept my eyes front and ignored him.
Mom, on the other hand, didn't ignore him. She stopped dead and said, "Who just barked at my dog?" Of course, none of them would admit to it. Can't say that I blame them. Mom didn't sound exactly friendly and she had sparks flying from her eyes. I am so glad she never looks at me that way! When we found Aunt Karen, Mom told her what happened and, boy, did Aunt Karen get mad. She went to where the boys were and yelled at them.
We went to our seats and got comfortable. Aunt Karen bought glow stick bracelets and necklaces for all the students. I even got my own set, attached to my vest so everyone could see me when the lights went down. I looked extra handsome wearing them, I must say! At first, I wasn't sure about the music because it was kinda loud and this was my very first concert, but I looked at Mom and she just winked at me, so I settled down for a nap.
A few songs into the concert, Justo talked to the kids about his childhood to let them know that they can succeed, no matter how rough things are right now. It turns out that his Mom was sick with something similar to what my Mom has. Mom cried when she heard him talk about it so openly; a lot of people keep secrets about illnesses like Mom's and it was so good to hear someone say it without being ashamed.
At the end of the concert, Justo came out to sign autographs and take pictures with the kids. When most of them were gone, Justo bent down in front of me and asked Mom, "Who do we have here?" Before she could even answer, I was trying to get into Justo's lap. Boy, does he have good dog mojo! I normally don't do stuff like that, but I couldn't help myself and Mom didn't get mad.
Instead, she started thanked Justo for telling the kids about his life. She told him that I'm a Psychiatric Service Dog and they talked for a while about all the wonderful things I do to help Mom. Justo petted me, rubbing just the right spot behind my ears. He called me "a miracle" and my Mom's "right hand." Then, he hugged Mom really tightly and gave her la bendicion de dios three times and told her how special she is.
And, that is how I met Justo Lamas.
April 14th 2011 9:44 am
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While my county does NOT deny that I am a Service Dog, they are not complying with ORC 955.011. The law states, in part, "Certificates and tags stamped “Ohio Assistance Dog-Permanent Registration,” with registration number, shall be issued upon registration of such a dog."
Instead of providing me with the permanent Ohio Assistance Dog tag, they gave me a regular yearly tag at no cost, which means Mom will have to renew the tag every year. The receipt (certificate issued with the tag) does NOT mention that I am a SD. Mom was told this is SOP for the few SDs registered in my county.
Mom provided the clerk with a copy of ORC 955.011 and asked them to contact the county auditors in areas where the correct tags are provided, so they can get me the correct tag. After 2 months of no news, Mom contacted the auditor a week ago. She said she'd look into it.
This morning, Mom got the following email from the county auditor:
"I found a vendor who would sell us these dog tags. The company will sell them in packages of 100. I had one of my clerks ask the dog warden if he would like to purchase 100 of these tags and he indicated that he didn’t want to spend the money. As you know from reading the Ohio Revised Code, the Auditor is responsible for selling the dog tags. I cannot spend money from the dog warden’s funds. If you would like to speak directly to the dog warden, [contact info deleted]."
Obviously, her response didn't make Mom happy. She emailed the auditor back, asking for a "legally-based explanation of how and why a county dog warden has the power to supercede state law, simply because he doesn't want to spend the funds."
The more Mom thinks about it, the angrier she gets. The law doesn't say that the tags will be issued "if the dog warden feels like spending the money." It says they SHALL be issued.