nov 19 2015
YOU GREAT DANE PEOPLE ARE NUTS....was my welcome into ADI ( assistance dog international) 10 years ago...Then president -Corey Hudson- had no use for me-- or... bailey --- who i had with me...
.OK Corey...maybe i can go along with the dane people are nuts.. (i being one of them) but i hope by now Service Dog Project has opened a new window and you realize the danes can do beautifully what they can do---- which is to help with mobility, ptsd, and public relations.... and if you have to bend over and pick up your own credit card off the floor because a dane is not a natural retriever... so be it.
It has been a tough 10 years of listening to so many ADI trainers discount dealing with danes. they are different--they think differently than ye olde golden retriever...if you try and do the normal things one would usually do to train a golden, you will fail miserably and decide it is the dane's fault for being stupid..... when they are in fact thinkers -they are trying to talk to you , and you are not listening.
when i hear the 'normal' dog trainer talk about trying to deal with a' stupid' dane in some dog training class, all i can think of is 'poor dane... stupid person'.----a very simplified example-- most dog training classes - because of necessity- involve walking in a circle.. most dogs will plod along willingly- but about the third time around , a dane will figure .."this is not making any sense-- my person must be lost, so let me show them how we got in here- so we can go home and i can sleep on my couch" as they drag you for the door.... the avg dog trainer will see it as disobedient...
i could go on for a long time on that-- and if any ADI trainers want to spend a weekend starting to learn to train danes- come ahead - what i really want to do is shock Corey -- again- with----
in the right situation do not discount a donkey as a service animal-- i see people trying to make a mini horse into a service animal-- and the concept of a small beast of burden is good, but the choice of a horse is far inferior to a donkey for that purpose. the problem is -- reputqtion--- the donkey has such a bad rep for being stubborn when in fact they are just being very slow and careful-- and they are not "fashionable"--- with the bella and george film making the rounds, we are getting dozens of calls about very small/ young children with walking disorders...a dane would not be suitable -- because whoever gets dog of ours has to be able to care for it 100% or it just won't work. before you knock the donkeys... you have seen pictures in third world counties where a donkey tags along with their owner -- they never take a wrong step and carry tremendous loads very carefully without micromanagement of a halter and lead... they think.... i have never seen a horse able to do that...
i have had experience with donkeys-- primarily mini's 32 " tall - about a dane size...
i have had them loose in hospitals- fancy hotels- schools- loose in boston traffic-- i had 8 that i drove like the budweisers -- with antlers they made pretty good fake reindeers pulling many a santa into a fancy ballroom-- they also made alot of money doing that... they wer e100% reliable and trustworthy... i would never attempt some of those things with a horse - or pony- a nicely raised donkey is kind- i have had 2 year old children wander into the middle of my 8 loose donkeys and not worry about the cute cow kick horses often do..there is a picture somewhere of me driving the 8 in a parade-- and if you look closely there is a 9th donkey "timmy" wandering around in front of 'the hitch' totally unattended- no halter or lead...
timmy would wander thru the crowd on the side of the parade--- he seemed to know about a person in a wheelchair and would seek them out.... ocassionally we would tie a helium balloon to his mane so we could keep track of where he was... timmy could easily have done alot of what george is doing with bella.. except keeping her bed warm..a carefully raised pet mini donkey would solve alot of mobility problems for very young children-- this does not mean you can get a rescue donkey out of the grand canyon but there are breeders...the budweisers farm has some...ADMS .. American Donkey and Mule Society still exists...
the greatest animal i have ever handled was Mary-- a mamouth donkey- but that is a whole 'nother story.
I just wanted to share this with you. This "family" that SDP and explore has created is tremendous.
Some people say that virtual friends are not real-but I know better-since the passing of Vivien we have received 50 sympathy cards from 25 different states and 2 countries. I have lost track of how many e-mail and private messages we have gotten. We also received a very nicely framed copy of the "Rainbow Bridge" poem with Vivien's picture on it. The outpouring of care and concern has been totally overwhelming.
Many of these are people that we have never met in person, but we all have a connection through SDP.
Although we never asked for it, we have received many monetary donations to go toward her final expenses as well. (If any more donations are received, we will be putting that amount into chicken bricks in her memory.)
I'll bet you never thought that your farm could connect so many people that only want to do whatever we can do to make life easier for whoever we can.
I just wanted to let you know what an impact you have had on so many people's lives and not just the ones that you help to gain their independence through your dogs.
Forever thankful to be Vivien's parents,
Jeri and Steven Ray