|Barked: Thu Sep 26, '13 10:22pm PST |
|Cooper, it's interesting that you brought up a homeless shelter, because I actually worked at a homeless shelter for several years when I was working in human services. So believe me when I say I understand people who have it rough in life. And although I am not disabled, my sister is. Which is why the suggestion that I was just trying to create barriers for people with disabilities sort of hurt. (But also why I could let it roll off, because I know it's not true.)
I feel for your friend. But here's how I see that situation. As an advance, I recognize that it's easy for me to sit here typing this, and it will be harder for you to hear about somebody you know personally. Having a SD requires time and money and resources. If you don't have the money to pay for a dog's vet care, you can't have a dog, regardless of whether it's a SD or not. If the dog needs anti-inflammatory meds to prevent him from being in pain all the time and you can't give your dog anti-inflammatory meds...I think we know where I'm going with this. Hopefully your friend can help that mother find some assistance for the dog as well.
Presumably your friend's friend was in a much different situation when they got the SD, as it would be really irresponsible to take on responsibility for a dog in their current situation. If you have the resources to get a SD, then you would have the resources to get a one-time certification. A quick certification process when the SD is first obtained would be negligible compared to the total amount of time and energy and resources that the SD requires. So while your friend's friend certainly couldn't deal with a certification now, she could have when she got the SD.
So you ask what kind of human being could read that and not think that the mother is already dealing with too much. I completely agree! A person in her situation should never have to deal with something like SD certification, and they absolutely wouldn't in any reasonable certification plan.
I'm going to address my take on your points one by one. I obviously can speak only for myself and other proponents of certification will likely have other takes.
1. I do believe I can imagine people living a life different than me. But, like I mentioned above, if you have the time and energy and money to take on a SD, a quick half-day certification when you first get the SD is not a considerable burden. I mean, we're not talking having people get monthly certification or yearly certification; we're talking once every 8-ish years or so. (However long your dog's working life is.) So my response to this is people can live any style of life, but having the minimum resources for having a SD guarantees having the minimum resources for completing a half-day cert roughly once every 8-10 years.
2. Again, if you are abled enough to have a SD, you should be abled enough to do a quick cert once every 8 years.
3. This one is particularly interesting. If an OT dog can't pass a cert test, that dog needs more training in order to be a SD, regardless of whether it's an OT or program dog. This is also how I see a cert organization being helpful. Rather than OTers having to fend for themselves with no guidance save for what they get on a message board, they can be referred to reputable trainers and get help. Even now if the person is trying to train their own SD and they don't have the background to do it, it doesn't mean that their SD doesn't have to be fully trained. It means they have to go seek out other resources to help them. Some are free and some cost money. Having a cert organization wouldn't change that, but it would help people connect with the resources that would be most useful to them. As it stands, people can bring untrained dogs in public as SDs.
4. Of course there will be some bad dogs that slip through and some good dogs that run into trouble! Those would ideally be minimized, but it will happen. Like I said earlier, if a test screens out 90% of the bad dogs, just because 10% of the bad dogs slip through doesn't mean the test is useless. You now have 90% fewer bad SDs in public! I call that a win. If a good dog had a bad day, then you try to cert again later. As a test would be a minimum standard, most SDs would pass with flying colors and there would only be a few exceptions. Again, I'm not saying this system is flawless. But the current system is not flawless either, with a 6-year-old child having been killed by one "SD" and countless other injuries because SDs are out there that should not be out there. That 6-year-old child's right to live at least as great as a PWD's right to have a SD of their choosing whenever they choose regardless of it has been trained. In fact, I think the child's right to live might be greater than that.
5. Money's a problem. But compared with the amount of money that we waste on other things, this system could be implemented relatively cheaply. It's not like you'd be paying somebody to go knocking on doors and asking each household if a dog lived there. It wouldn't be the certifying org's responsibility to find you and hand you the cert; it's part of taking on a SD and would be the handler's responsibility.
As somebody else pointed out, every other country in the world requires certification and don't report any of these problems...
I guess what it comes down to for me is that taking care of another living being requires a certain amount of ability. All of us here agree on that. And the ability required to care for another living being for 10+ years is so much greater than the measly half-day cert requirement that it really shouldn't be a barrier.
Somebod y mentioned that poorly-trained SDs can already be thrown out of businesses and that businesses shouldn't be afraid of court. What about a SD that was nosing items on a shelf at Target? That's the SD I saw last week. Completely in control, walking at the handlers side, but nosing some toys on a shelf and pushing them around a bit. The handler saw it but didn't seem bothered by it. We all know that that is completely inappropriate behavior, but if Target asked them to leave and Target got taken to court, it would certainly not be a clear-cut case. No, the dog was not out of control. No, the dog was not fundamentally altering the nature of the business. (Yes, you could argue that it was, but an opposing lawyer could argue equally forcefully that it wasn't.) Even with full knowledge of the ADA, businesses are rightfully scared of kicking out a dog like that.
Frankly, I am really sick of seeing displays like this, and a lot of other SD handlers are too.
Another person wrote that it would be inconvenient for a business to ask every SD handler for certification. I really wouldn't anticipate that happening. You *could* get asked for certification if there were a problem, but in general it would be just like a driver's license. You need it before you're allowed to drive, but you don't have to show it every time you get in a car. The very fact that it would be required would deter people who just want to bring Fluffy into the store; the idea that you'd need to be a certified time, like a licensed driver, would deter those people just as generally people without drivers licenses don't drive.
Happy Friday everyone
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