This impromptu sledding party was enjoyed by all ages and all medical abilities and disabilities. It took place right in view of Explore’s live “Puppy Hill” camera at the Service Dog Project farm in Ipswich, MA. Two of the three dogs in the photo are service dogs “out of harness”. They are off duty and enjoying the remains of the Boston Blizzard of 2015. When you see a dog in a service dog harness you should not talk to them, they have a job to do and are working. However when you take the harness off, they are all dog!
A veteran called one day to tell us that his service dog had started grumbling at his wife. It was not a growl, but even a grumble needs investigation. We sent our trainer to their home to try and figure it out. They put the dog in harness and went off to Boston on the crowded train. Sure enough, the crowd was not the problem unless the wife got too close. Confused, they went home to think. When he took the harness off, the dog went straight for the wife with tail wagging and a big time happy patting session, All was perfect except when the veteran came near, there was that noise again. With further investigation it was found that with the harness on the dog was saying “look I am working – I have this under control, let me do my job.” Yet when the harness was off it turned to “Hey can’t you see I am off the clock?” Dogs talk. You gotta listen.
– Carlene White, founder of Service Dog Project in Ipswich, MA. The organization trains and places Great Danes with people who live with Multiple Sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia, and veterans with disabilities.