Monday, July 23, 2012

Update On My Previous Post....And Of Course One Big Apology

I really got myself into some hot water with my last post, in which I wrote about my dislike of service dogs (in particular dirty ones) in restaurants. I knew many would not agree with me, but I often write what's going on in my mind at any given time. I clearly have offended many with the language I used in the post, and for that of course I apologize.

To clear a couple things up :

Many of you are taking me to task for using the term "mangy mutt". I should have stated why I used the term. In a recent case in Vancouver an individual was asked to leave a restaurant on account of his service dog being utterly filthy. He had reportedly been informed on a prior occasion that diners were uncomfortable with the extremely dirty dog. When I used the term, I was referring to dogs such as this, who I really don't believe should be allowed to enter a restaurant, regardless if the owners are handicapped or not. In no way did I mean to portray service dogs as mangy, nor is it something I believe. Service dogs provide incredible assistance, and I have the utmost respect for them and their proud companions.

Where I really messed up however was by not making clear that I wrote the article based on what I had read with regard to that one filthy dog. I was attempting to vent my feelings against this one individual (and others who take dirty dogs inside eating establishments), but unfortunately came across as nothing more than a bigot. I am not making excuses, as what I wrote lacked compassion.

While yes I was both exaggerating and being sarcastic to make my point, I completely understand why so many of you are offended. As I write this I can tell you I am sad and embarrassed for ever having posted the article in the first place as it is not a true reflection of my nature, but more so because it upset so many readers. I started this blog to inform readers, share uplifting stories, and do opinion pieces. I know not all will agree with me when I share my opinions on issues, but when the feedback is overwhelmingly negative toward me on such a piece, I think it's fair to say I am the one in the wrong. Many of the comments have come from regular readers and even friends in the animal industry, people I respect, and you were right to share your dissappointment in me.

I have removed the post not due to the fact that so many negative comments have been directed at me (you'll find that there are still many posts where that's the case), but because I have taken what you have said to heart and do not want the blog to be a forum to spread what was clearly insensitive and discriminatory on my part. On this ill conceived article I went too far in expressing my opinion, I didn't express it properly, and I directed it at the wrong people.

In three years I have rarely seen such a response and readership level on the site as today, but if that comes from controversy over me not properly expressing myself and the result being a post that offends so many, it is not worth it.

Thank you for pointing out my mistake, and thank you in the hope that you are able to accept my apology. With that said, I'm off to post a cute pic & get back on track using the blog to continue to entertain & inform.


  1. thetorontopetdailyAugust 29, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    First of all Denise, thanks for taking the time to accept my apology.....and thanks for informing many of us as to the regulations. I think what one of the previous commentators was saying....& I that shitty dog owners are shitty dog owners, regardless of circumstances. It's definitely easier for many of us however, to recognize a poorly groomed or cared for service dog, as we seemingly place a higher standard of care on these owners. It may seem discriminatory, but I too feel that if a dog has gone through such rigorous training to assist one in their daily lives, that individual should take extra effort as well. I'm sure you, as one living with a disability, get angry when you see a service dog that is not "well kempt" (I believe you said so more or less in your reply). I don't think however, that we'll ever see more stringent laws.......the government would never act on such a "petition"....just think of the debate....don't worry though, I'll still be willing to point someone out (be they one eyed, three armed, eight testicled) in public if their dog seems in poor shape. Wow, I wish I'd worded the original article better haha. Cheers :)

  2. The ADA does not require that service dogs come from organizations that train these special canines. Many people owner train out of desire and some out of "have to". (They may not be near any organizations that train or have disabilities that limit their mobility to travel to such places). I know plenty of folks who owner-train their service dogs, or hire a personal trainer to assist them. I know people with service dogs who have owner-trained AND people who have received their dogs from organizations that are "poor pet parents" (to borrow your word although service dogs are not considered pets). My own service dog comes from an ADI certified training organization and I know that other people with disabilities who mitigate said disability with a service dog often give the rest of us a bad name. No dog should be un-groomed or unclean. Sue commented that sometimes the problem is money or ability to care for service dog hygiene needs. People with disabilities should always check with groomers in their area as many will do it for free or for a greatly reduced amount. Vets do the same as service dogs have to go to the vet far more often than a pet dog. No one likes hair in their food. But believe me... if I had a choice about having a disability (deaf and balance disorder) I would NOT have chosen this life. I chose a service dog organization and received a very special canine because I wanted to be independent. It's hard to ask people to pick up things for me, or to tell me my phone is beeping that a text came in... My dog gives me independence. I finished my MS and am now teaching again because of her assistance. And please remember... the ADA grants ME - a PERSON - rights of access with my chosen assistive device - a service dog. If a service dog is smelly, reach out to the person and ask them if they would like help grooming the dog or if they need some names of people who may do it for free. People take their pets into public places too... ones that have not been trained for proper public deportment (for example, my dog potties on command). They, too, give those of us with legitimate service dogs a bad name. Personally, I would like to see laws toughen up so that the "fakes" are no longer bothering the general public. I'll get off my soapbox...

  3. thetorontopetdailyAugust 29, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    haha thanks Selkie....believe me I don't have a problem posting my views on subjects such as these, and getting into debates with those who disagree with me. In fact, I welcome it. But in retrospect, I was using poor choice in some of my wording to get across my point, and my usual sarcastic personality went a bit over the line on this one. It really did come across as discriminatory, which was why I removed it. I definitely agree with you in that just because one has a service dog, that doesn't automatically make them a good pet parent (seemingly proven by the filthy dog in McDonald's). I'm pretty sure there is nothing in place with regard to a follow up on service dogs, but I'm looking forward to seeing what you dig up. :)

  4. You know, first, you are allowed an opinion LOL!! and it IS your blog so you shouldn't worry about venting here! Second, you bring up something I've often had concerns with. I don't know how the whole service dog thing works, but does anyone know if there is any followup once dogs are placed? I often wonder if there is anyone monitoring that the dogs are being cared for properly? It is naieve in the extreme to think that eveyr person who gets a service do is going to love and cherish it and make sure it is well taken care of. For instance, if that dog was filthy, what other issues might be going on? For instance, some breeds with curly or thick coats can actually get sick if they are not groomed properly- their skin can't "breathe" and it can get matted to the point of cutting the skin. And if the person with the service dog is that careless with the dog's appearance, are they also neglecting it in other ways? This is something I'm going to have to look into ...

  5. Thank you for your comments. It takes a big person to admit their mistake and poor choice of words. Again, I do hope you realize that for some with disabilities, service dogs give us much more than "rights of access". They give us back our lives. Real service dogs are well-trained and behaved and invisible in public places like restaurants. Thank you again for making this right.

  6. much better said! I wonder, if that dirty dog you talk about..possibly the person requiring that dog is on a fixed income like many others and cannot afford grooming fees, depending on their disability , maybe they cannot get it done on their own. Do groomers offer large discounts for service dogs to get all fresh and clean I wonder?