Getting a Service Dog.

And.. I'm in the middle of the mother of all fights with two NDIS (National disability Insurance Scheme) service providers. One stole quite a large sum of money from my funds under the guise of 'it was all a mistake and I'm sorry' but hasn't paid it back into my account bc he says he, 'doesn't know how'?? And the other provided some faulty goods that I've returned and because it was majorily defective goods under Australian consumer law I'm entitled to a refund but unfortunately they're ducking and weaving too.

Honestly there are so many snouts in the trough...

So I'm referring one off to the fraud investigations department of the NDIS and the other is about to receive a formal request to refund me the full cost for the defective goods that of course, I don't want back even fixed.
 

Friday

Moderator
Going to get my best kitty kat hiss up and running which for me is quite a harsh sound bc I push air through my teeth and it's scary.
Right??? It’s just so effective.

K has decided that the just turning grapes on my vines are hers... hmmm we've had words about this several times.
I had to give up on blueberries, with my lab. Prehensile lips. OMFG. Dude. You. Are. Not. A. Bear. Ah well. Better than rocks. Or socks. (Labs and their darn pica. >.<)
 

Sideways

Sponsor
This dog wasn't tethered. He literally 'appeared' and was standing over my dog.
Then all bets are off! I don't do untethered dogs with my dog while he's leashed. Working or not working. Leashes make it really hard for dogs to communicate with each other properly - when one is on a leash, and the other isn't...?

Best case scenario, the dog off-leash is friendly, and will approach my dog slightly to the side, brief nose sniff, then start circling to sniff bums. But if my dog is leashed? His ability to do the same thing in a way that will communicate to the other dog, "I'm friendly too" is really hard to pull off (read: near impossible). When these exchanges happen to go well? I consider it really lucky.

Add to that my dog is trained as an assistance dog? One thing he's really not okay with is another dog getting between me and him. That ain't okay. He considers it his job to keep that from happening (which is an instinct that I encourage, and absolutely won't 'correct' him on). So when friendly-unleashed starts the friendly "let me at your bum" circling of my dog? At some point that inevitably puts him between me and my dog.

If my dog is also off leash, that scenario is okay. They'll do that circling away from me so that doggo doesn't need to be concerned. But when my dog is leashed, that circling happens right next too my legs, and the other dog ends up between me and my dog in a proximity that my dog isn't okay with.

Predictable problem. I can see it coming. And that's assuming untethered dog is friendly. Which isn't an assumption I leap to quickly, irrespective of the owner's (irrelevant) assurances - because I'm not concerned about their dog, that's their job - I'm worried about my dog, and is this going to unnecessarily stress him out? Because if he's stressed about his safety? He isn't worrying about my safety, which is what I want him to be able to concentrate on. "It's not your dog I'm concerned about" is something I've learned to say clearly and assertively without sounding aggressive).

When it comes to untethered dogs while my dog is leashed? Nup. Ain't happening. I'm useless at advocating for myself, but I protect my dog like a tiger.

And if I had the benefit of being in a shop at the time? I ain't leaving till owner, or shop staff, resolve the situation at their exit for me. They're gonna hear about it. "Who's dog is that? Oh my god! Can someone help? I can't get out!..." The whole shop will hear about it if necessary.

I personally wouldn't do anything to try and intimidate the other dog in the situation you described:
1) because the dog hasn't done anything wrong, the owner has
2) if the owner sees me scare their dog? I'm gonna cop an earful - and that's a confrontation I don't need; and
3) I can't do anything to intimidate that dog without my own dog registering "this is not an okay situation", which is the opposite of how I want my dog to interpret what's going on. If I throw a tanty inside the store? My dog is (appropriately) going to be concerned if I'm okay. If I direct aggression towards an unleashed dog, my dog registers "boss is scared of unleashed dogs", which is going to make my next encounter with an unleashed dog more stressful for me and my dog.

Add to that- if I interact with a dog, in a friendly or aggressive way? It's an invitation to that dog to interact with me. Friendly or not? I don't want that interaction. That dog is not my concern.

I'm guessing where you are, dogs tend to be larger, rather than the micro-dogs you tend to get waiting outside shops here in the metro area. Which makes it even more risky. Not because small dogs are friendlier, but because a larger breed doesn't even need to mean it and they can do a lot of damage to my small pupper.

I'd definitely talk to your trainer about this. This sounds like an environmental situation that they can probably help you out with, with strategies that are going to work for you. This likely won't be the last untethered dog you come across while you have doggo with you working. You also need to factor in the average level of knowledge of people in your area about assistance dogs (probably that's lower than in metro areas - depends, because places like Toowoomba everyone knows about ADs and the respect for them is crazy high), and the attitude of people in your area to letting dogs do their thing, irrespective of size etc (which is potentially more cavalier than you'd get in a metro area).

Those are factors that your trainer can give you tips for that will work for you and your dog.

TLDR: Untethered dog while doggo is working? Not going near it - I'll go in almost any other direction than towards that dog. And the owner is gonna get the performance of a lifetime from me. Because they're the idiot that is being completely unreasonable in that situation. And fk that!
 
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Thanks @Sideways I value your opinion. I am going to follow up with the trainer or I was. But there's been an outbreak in Victoria I think and now most states are making noises about closing down their borders so my trainer who has to go into Tully as a waypoint, cannot then get to me... so I'm sure I'll be hearing in the next few days that the evaluation is off ...again... ! That's when I was going to ask him all about it & describe what happens and how I should respond if at all.

I do agree... owners are crap when it comes to off-leash dogs.. what do they think is happening?

My little K is gaining rock-star status in my district in all of the businesses we regularly visit. She's just so peeerfect and dainty that even the most hardened anti dog person stops to admire her and comment on her happy disposition and wants to talk about her, dogs, life etc etc etc...

Tonight whilst trying to fathom a new puzzle I gave her, she backed up to a clothes rack where I'd lazily hung a Christmas ribbon... don't ask..?? The ribbon became entangled in her tail somehow wrapping around the last section. It was flapping around all over the place when her tail wagged. She caught sight of the ribbon waving around like some lunatic balloon man behind her and decided she needed to chase it... so for the next several minutes she chased herself around the house in circles. It was quite funny but I don't think she was happy about it.
 
I've been notified that the training organisation cannot come and assess K because they must land even temporarily in Melbourne before taking off again to my neck of the woods. Covid restrictions will mean that they'll need to quarantine and be tested for 14 days after arriving in state and then again when they arrive home. Hmm It's not life or death stuff about her PAT but it'd be great to get it done and then relax for the next couple of years. Oh well... wait and see when they try to do it next time.

Good news - I received the refund re faulty goods. Now trying to recoup the money that was stolen.
 
Got the stolen money back but still proceeding with the fraud investigation. Similar to a burglar breaking into my house, stealing something and then getting caught while walking out & offering to give it all back. Not going to happen that way.

Trying for the fifth time with a new assessment date for K. a couple of weeks away again so we'll see whether any covid restrictions prevent the assessor from flying to me this time.

Putting in job applications left right and centre - getting some help from former colleague's and my sister who is a HR guru. I've got four jobs in the pipe-line and more to start applying for tomorrow. All quite specific and being government jobs very high priority in employing ppl with disabilities. It's been a long time since I've been in paid professional employment. Whew!
 
K nearly killed herself and I do mean dead... by eating a bunch of African Queen grapes.

I raided the vines and cut all the low hanging fruit off but clearly by the number of times and the contents of her vomit last week - I missed a bunch.

She was really ill for a few days.

Grapes are apparently highly toxic and there's no known threshold ie one grape or a bunch might cause substantial and irretrievable kidney damage or death.

So not sure if she's got kidney damage now or not but she's back to eating, drinking and fooling around as per normal. I could've taken her to the vet but I also read that once the grapes are ingested unless vomiting is made to happen immediately afterwards there's little point. She vomited up about 20 grapes in 10 places o/night all around the house but not in my room. The first I knew of her being sick was when I got up to go to the bathroom and found her deposits all over the place. And just like red wine, they will not come out of the carpet. Not that I care because sooner than later I'm ripping all of it up but even so ...?

So I don't know what to do to be honest. We've got the assessment in a couple of weeks and she's working well. I've been through panic attacks and every emotion on the scale worrying about her.

+++++++++++

Next week I've got a job interview and now I'm terrified out of my wits but also really pleased to be short-listed. Currently oscillating regularly between the two emotions on a 10 minute rotation. I've been reading up on interview techniques, answers, questions blah blah .... It's an interview done remotely so that's super different for me. I'll have to give K the biggest bone and a chew toy and pop her in her crate so she doesn't try to steal the show by popping up on the cam. lol...

Finally caught up with a former boss who has smashed the glass ceiling and is finally flying free in one of the highest paid jobs in the country and she's happy to give me a reference. I'm just chuffed about that actually. It's a painful past to revisit but if it means she can speak to my skills in a favourable way I guess it's okay?

I'm still writing job applications, averaging one submission every three days because I honestly don't think I would be so fortunate to get this job and I don't want to jinx myself.

But if I do get it oh boy! things will be different for me in so many good ways and little K will be scooting off to work with me and undoubtedly making herself even more friends.

But I'm in for an intensive work hardening process too and that's going to be difficult for both of us. On the other hand I won't have to deliberate endlessly between affording the lawn mower man, doing it myself or going to the hairdresser anymore or not. Or one million other little but annoying diy things I cannot do around the house because finally I might be able to save up and pay somebody to come and do them. Hooray!
 

Starfire

Confident
I have finally received formal notification that I am approved for a SD. Yay! My dog is currently being trained in the special doggy academy and has yet to pass his examinations and be registered. So... it might be several months before we are introduced. I am not told anything until he/she passes.


I have been through several rounds of interviews, medicals, reports, bureaucracy with lots and lots of questions. Home inspections and more! The process is very thorough and I understand why and now.. I am finally through. Cannot believe it really. Just thought I would tell you all. :)
My dog is training to be a SD dog as well so I share your excitement! York is registered. But I now need him to add mobility training. He got passed but his picking up articles from the floor and handing them to me is not reliable enough for me. The one thing I really need! He will go back to school for 4 more weeks. I so sorely missed him that they let him come home for a week.
Would like to stay in touch about our SDs. Oh, York is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Not your usual SD. IMG_20200227_091451.jpg
 
@Starfire you have a gorgeous dog there! Best of luck with the picking stuff up task. I'm sure with a little bit more work your dog will return and be fully trained.

K just passed her final PAC today and she got 100% !!

Er... probably because I've been running her through her tasks a couple of times a day for the last year - when they've not been completed organically. The assessor didn't know what was happening at first because we were all set up and ready to go, he'd barely sat down and described the assessment and had not given any of the usual warnings/caveats etc and K started doing her thing. She even toileted on command despite being a little hesitant with the assessor watching on. Can't really blame her for that. We went down to the shops, did the public transport part and stuffed around with the public side of things for a couple of hours and she worked really well.

As usual people watched her and commented on her appearance and amazing behaviour. I did tell the assessor that we virtually cannot go anywhere without her being received with rockstar celebrity attention lol... Oh and I know she's aware because she wags her tail and bats those Cleopatra lashes when a human gives her a compliment.

So we're all set for another two years now. Finally, finally got it done - hooray :)

I gave her a lovely bone for lunch - K can be bribed, bought and bargained with for anything food related.
 
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