View Full Version : Service Dogs are not all fun (pics too)

03-01-2007, 08:44 PM
I have heard so many times form people in the public and online comment on how lucky I am to be able to bring Sheena everywhere I go and how they wish they could bring their pet with them everywhere. Many people think it is all fun and easy to bring a Service Dog out into public. But they don't see the other side of things. They don't see the hard work it is to keep the gear clean and ready, to keep the dog completely spotless and so on even when you are not feeling good. Take today for example. We had to go and get our taxes done today so this morning I had to give Sheena a bath. Here is the problem. I have been really sick and weak for the past two weeks. So bathing a big White Shepherd, brushing her several times as she dries, clipping her claws and the fur on her pads, cleaning her teeth, ears and so forth was NOT an easy matter. Took me over 3 hours to get it all done just to be able to leave the house for a 30 minute appointment. By the time all was done and ready I was in so much pain and so exhausted I did not want to go anywhere. I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep.

I love Sheena and I see her as my lifeline to the world outside but having her is not all fun. I would never change the fact that I have her but if I could wake up one day and suddenly not have my disability and be able to leave her at home I would in a heart beat. I just wanted to be able to share with you all the other side of the coin and that when you see a service dog team it is not always as simple a matter as throwing a vest or harness on and walking out the door. Tons of work went into being able to leave the house. Sorry for the depressing post. I am just having a really bad day sick wise.

But on a brighter note doesn't Sheena look great after all that hard work?





03-01-2007, 08:49 PM
She is wonderful!! Woofderful.. lollllllllll.. :D

critter crazy
03-01-2007, 08:57 PM
Sheena is a gorgeous dog!! Even if she was covered i mud, she would be drop dead gorgeous! But you did a fantastic Job, even though you realy didnt want to! Job well done!!!:D

03-01-2007, 09:15 PM
She is beautiful. But, try doing all of that grooming to 4 dogs every week. ;)

03-01-2007, 09:28 PM
Great post Nichole! This is another side of the coin that too many people are not aware of and should be. Sheena looks great!

03-01-2007, 09:35 PM
Thanks so much everyone.

critter crazy: trust me if you had seen Sheena covered in mud after a 2 hour frolick in a pond you might not think the same way. On that day she was still my wonderful girl but was completely gross. lol

Kfamr - NO THANK YOU. lol Doing all this grooming once a week(sometimes more if I am going to a grocery store or restraunt) on one dog is plenty for me. I am so glad we only do this to Luca once every 6 weeks or so.

applesmom - Thanks. That is why I wanted to post it. I didn't add the hard part of getting our toddler ready as well. Sometimes it is more work to get Sheena ready to go out then it is our toddler. lol

03-01-2007, 09:53 PM
Wow! That is eye opening. I guess I never thought about all that.
Well, Sheena is a beautiful girl! :D
And I'm sorry you're not feeling well.

03-01-2007, 09:58 PM
I must say, she does look rather marvalous! :D

Daisy and Delilah
03-01-2007, 10:17 PM
She is absolutely beautiful!! You did a great job with her :)

03-01-2007, 10:19 PM
She is absolutely gorgeous - just don't let her outside to find mud to roll in!
Sending hugs and kisses to you and your spun-sugar girl!

03-01-2007, 10:49 PM
Indeedy! Absolutely beautiful! :D

03-01-2007, 10:56 PM
Sheena looks stunning. Elvis and Tinny's (BCs) Uncle is an assistance dog to his human Mum and does a wonderful job, so i know how much work is put into these amazing animals ;).

Astro (Assistance dog) far right, with Tinny in the middle and Elvis on the left...

finn's mom
03-02-2007, 06:30 AM
She's gorgeous! I think I'd have to call the mobile groomer if it took three hours to groom my dog! Yikes! I would be frustrated and tired, too! I think I've only given Finn three complete baths in his entire three years! :) I love my low maintenance doggie.

03-02-2007, 06:41 AM
Nicole- I know washing a big dog is hard work, but this is what I use and it makes the washing alot easier. The sprayer does a good job and makes rinsing a piece of cake. Here is the link for the sprayer.
Also- someone told me they use a shop vac- in the reverse side of the hose, to blow the water off. It WORKS! One day I hope to have a real metro dryer, but its on one of those wish lists that never seems to go anywhere.. lol. http://www.petsmart.com/global/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=84552444178 2050&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302026059&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=2534374302023689&bmUID=1172839230998&itemNo=7&In=Dog&N=2026059&Ne=2

03-02-2007, 08:00 AM
Nicole,Sheena is beautiful. :) Hope you Feel better soon.

03-02-2007, 10:10 AM
Shenna is stunning! I hope you get to feeling better soon. I appreciate everything you've posted about service dogs, I've learned quite a bit reading your various posts. But I've got to say, I don't think I'd much care to wash & dry my huskies every time I went out in public! :rolleyes:

Pawsitive Thinking
03-02-2007, 10:29 AM
Forgive me for being a bit thick here but why does the dog have to be spotless??? does that detract from them doing their excellent work???

Please don't take this post as a criticism in any way - I just don't really understand I guess which is why your post is so valuable

I do hope you are feeling better now

Lori Jordan
03-02-2007, 10:43 AM
What a Pretty Girl you have there.

03-02-2007, 12:40 PM
Thanks all. I am feeling a little better today.

cloverfdx: Thanks so much for posting the pic. I love to hear about other service dogs.

borzoimom: Thanks for the suggestion but we already have a special nozzle that we use on our shower head for her. She is trained to turn on command and everything. Bathing Sheena is actually very easy when I am well. But with me being so sick and weak it is much harder.

cyber-sibes: Thanks. Knowledge is power I always say and the more knowlegable someone is about Service dogs the better it is for all Service dog handlers.

Brody's Mum: That is a very good question. Thanks for asking it. There are many reasons why a service dog should be kept immaculate. When you are in public you can be dealing with allergies so the grooming is very important to try and keep down the amount of fur and dander she leaves where ever she goes. Another is cleanliness. Say you went into a restraunt and sat down to eat and someone with a service dog walked by that was not washed or groomed. The dog is shedding(as many service dogs are not poodles and such) and some of the fur heads towards your table. How inclined would you be to continue eating? Also it is a respect thing as well. I appreciate and respect all the businesses I enter with Sheena and as such I want to show my respect by making sure my dog is always clean and smelling fresh when I enter. Plus respect for other people in the public. Not all people appreciate dog fur on their clothes so I want to do what I can to make sure that does not happen. Also I am a representitive of other Service Dog handlers every time I leave the house with Sheena. And as such I want to put across the best image possible for the public to see. These are just a few of the examples but I hope they help to answer your question.

Agian thanks everyone for the compliments. Sheena's head is swelling with vanity as we speak. lol

03-02-2007, 12:45 PM
I'm sorry you're having a bad day Nicole. I have a hard time bathing the dogs when I'm having a good day let alone a bad one.

I hope you're feeling better.

Sheena is just stunning. It's very interesting getting your side of the story. I'm guilty of wishing I could take my dog everywhere.

03-02-2007, 02:44 PM
I know grooming big dogs can be hard, Would you consider taking her to the groomers for a bath? My groomers does a discount for service dogs. They are always so well behaved! :)

03-02-2007, 02:46 PM
Great post Nichole! This is another side of the coin that too many people are not aware of and should be. Sheena looks great!

She looks terrific. I think she's beautiful, by the way. Sheena, do you feel like you received a full spa treatment? :)

Thank you, Nichole for another enlightening (sp?) and informative post! I hope you're having a better day today. Fingers and cat paws crossed for Nichole to feel better!

03-02-2007, 05:06 PM
Wow. She looks beautiful. If I had to groom my dogs before they went
out with me, they wouldn't get out much. :) I hope you're feeling better.

03-02-2007, 06:06 PM
all agreed with you, nicole. nicely and well input. I don't think I have your patience lol. we're lucky but at same time, dog can not be too.

not just to keep their cleanliness, their limitation of playing and attention too. this bothers me the most. my service dog IS A golden retriever and this breed is BORN to play. with him as a service dog now, he cannot be petted or can't play at more than half of time when he's at friend/people's house, other places, even beaches. part of training for well-behavior display. also, he can't really play ball or live with other dogs in the same house, distraction/confusion issues as I'm told I'm not allowed (best not) to have other dog. unless the second dog is a service dog too. because their lives and trainings between them are totally different. with service dog, has more restrictions than "family" dog. calm-ness & polite-ness are the most important part of being as a service dog.

so, feeling bad for him at most time aren't fun... and at extra times I try my best to take him over to beaches, parks over the weekends. and he can play with others without vest on - he knows it when his paws land on grass or in sands! :)

sheena is one goregous looking! can I pet her? :D

03-02-2007, 09:56 PM
Thanks agian everyone. Sheena's head barely fits through the doors now with how proud she has become. lol

ramanth: I think everyone is guilty of that at some point. LOL Not a sin to wish it.

Muddy4paws: Thanks for the suggestion. And I might consider it next time I am too sick or weak. Never really thought about it before. I will have to check to see if there is a groomer here in town. We live in a small town so we might not have one.

sandragonfly: Great points. I have heard about many facilities that provide Service Dogs that do not allow other dogs in a family that they will be providing a service dog too. I guess that is one of the many reasons I went with Owner training my own Service dog with of course the help of a trainer. Gave me more freedom and options. I couldn't imagine not having Luca or thinking I couldn't have another dog because of Sheena. I have never noticed her losing focus for her work with him or the other pets around. She works just as hard with him there as without. Each dog may be different though.

03-02-2007, 10:16 PM
yeah, me either - I'm GOING to get me another dog, guide or not, once we all settle down. I've been to hospitals at numerous of time, moved around a lot last and this year so, crayola trainings had been a bit off track. I see he's so good around here with other pets too, my ten cats, chinchilla, and past rats.

you see, your sheena probably don't play as much as she would now because she's so well-trained, right? sometimes I could see in crayola's eyes, "I wanna play with kitties!" but knew and used to stay calm then pouts and went asleep. his job is to sleep, right?? :rolleyes:

03-02-2007, 10:34 PM
Sheena is stunning! I don't understand how people can make comments about being able to have their pets with them. That seems a bit insenstive to me because Sheena is way more than a pet. Whenver I see a service dog, I do ask if it's ok to pet them. On most occasions, I've been told yes. However, a few weeks ago, I got to see a Golden in training. Thanks for sharing all this with us. I can't believe it takes that long to get her clean and groomed. She sure is a beauty.

Pawsitive Thinking
03-03-2007, 04:33 AM
Thank you for that. I understand things a whole lot more now :D Sheena is a beautiful dog and a credit to you

03-03-2007, 08:36 AM
Sheena is indeed beautiful! I never thought about how much work goes into keeping her clean to go in public. Thanks for sharing the info and I hope you are feeling better soon. :)

03-03-2007, 09:14 PM
Wow Job Well done! Sheena looks gorgeous:D And thanks for sharing that about Service Dogs. You're right, alot of people don't see the other side. I never really thought about how it might be hard to have to bring a dog with you everywhere and your post let me know that it is a lot of work and tiring. Thanks so much for posting, next time I see a service dog I will remember what you said.:)

And I give you so much credit to be able to do that all the time even when you are sick. You are a wonderful person.:)

Aspen and Misty
03-03-2007, 09:27 PM
I know what you mean as far as how hard it is to get a service dog ready to go out, everytime you go out. While I do not have a disability I did raise a service dog for Paws With a Cause. I helped her through her first year and taught her a lot of stuff, her name was Breeze and she was a black Lab. I was constantly washing her or clipping her nails or washing her vest. Even if she was all pretty and clean I still wiped her down with baby wipes before leaving the house. When she was little I had to carry a back pack with me every time we went out because a little puppy sometiems has accidents and trust me, a service dog in training pooping in the middle of the grocery store is no fun, expessially when you are not prepared!! LOL.

Here are two pics of my silly girl, god I miss her:



Sheena looks gorgeous and you deserve a hug for taking such wonderful care of her! I hope you are feeling better soon, sorry to ramble.