Instead of going berserk shopping on black Friday, the family packed up the MPV and headed to Terwilliger Hot Springs. Bear was along for the trip, and on the drive down he struggled to find a comfortable spot in the car as Fiona kicked him off the back seat, and he is getting too big to squeeze in on the floor between seats. He settled on sitting between the front seats, resting his head on the armrest.
Don’t want to spend a lot of time on the hot springs experience, but if you’ve ever been to a hot springs carved into the mountain beside a river (I seem to recall visiting one in my youth outside of Steamboat Springs), but a lot of people who frequent these venues loving feeling natural in nature. The kids had no idea, but as we rounded the corner on the trail for the final descent to the springs you could clearly see that the ratio of suits per person was zero. We had come all this way, and we were meeting another family here, we changed into our bathing suits, causing everyone to stare at us, probably feeling bad for our kids that had to grow up in such a restrictive home.
We stopped for a picture on our way back to Eugene, looking forward to a motel with hot tub and pool that required bathing suits. Signing into the motel, a Holiday Inn Express, the last initial on their form was to comply with their no smoking and no pet policy. I let them know that we had a service dog. The receptionist let me know that there were absolutely no pets, to which I responded it was against the ADA law to restrict a service dog. She said that proper documentation was needed to ensure that it was a service animal, some sort of certification. Though I knew there is no such thing, I told her that it was in the car. I put the vest on Bear and brought him into the lobby.
At this point I explained there was no such “certification” for a service dog, that she could call our trainer if she wanted, and that we’d taken Bear to Canada. I’m not sure why a trip to Canada would institute proper certification, but she bought it. The whole thing left a foul taste in my mouth, though. It made me think of the comments left on the story about the service dog that the Christian school forbid from coming to school. It made me wonder about how far it is worth pushing this. There certainly are a lot of service dogs out there. It wasn’t long ago that service dogs were limited to seeing-eye-dogs. Now there are dogs for people who get seizures, people with autism, people with diabetes, and I suppose there are others. A quick Google search not only lays out some types of service dogs, but also quotes the ADA law.
Though I feel that having Bear assist with managing Declan and Maggie’s diabetes is a great thing, I am not sure if I am ready to battle hotel chains, schools, and the outspoken slice of america that believes people are abusing the “service-dog” categorization. Taking a step back, I can see how easy it would be to simply tell the clerk that it is a service dog, giving the family pet free range to everywhere but the religious institutions.
On the flip-side, my blood boils as I am told that “absolutely no dogs are allowed.” I am invested in this service. We spend a lot of emotional energy dealing with diabetes, of managing blood sugar levels. We give/receive up to eight shots a day. We check blood sugar up to twelve times a day. We treat low- and high-blood sugars. It is a constant balancing act between insulin, sugar, activity, stress, sickness, and adrenalin. We have spent hours training Bear to signal a low-blood sugar scent. And when he signals on either Declan or Maggie the energy changes, going from a “well this sure is a bummer” feel, to a “Good job Bear!” celebration. I suppose that I am somewhat biased in how different the feeling is when Bear tells them they are low versus the meter telling them they are low as I have spent a lot of time soliciting the signal from Bear using scent samples.
- How do people feel about service dogs?
- When will Bear signal unsolicited?
- Can you define when a service dog is needed?
- Two more ear buds
- Three Tupper ware containers