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 Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2003 02:48:17 -0000

  From: "Bethany" <>
Subject: Chester is home!

WELL,it finally happened! After months of waiting and preparing and anticipating, I went on to Circle Tail on Thursday the 3rd for weekend training and got my service dog!! Chester is a 3 year old shepherd mix. He's just a love, and he's been so good. He's already starting to bond to me, and he works well for me. He knows all his basic commands, he's got a good retrieve, and is excited about learning new things. We're going to start working on him waking me up in the morning, and we're currently working on refining his basic commands so he knows how they will apply to me. For a new relationship, we already seem to be bonding well...he seeks pets and hugs, and loves to snuggle next to me.

We haven't had many access problems, but one we have had has been stressful to me. Buckeye Express food service has now twice told me that I could not have my service dog there. The first time, last night, the woman working at the registers was really quite bitchy, yelling "Dog!??" in indignation when I came in, then getting the student manager and when he said "you can't have dogs in here" going "YEAH!!!" in the background. I told the manager that Chester is a service dog and he said "oh, he's a service dog? okay, that's cool." I thought that this problem was solved, but tonight I went in and one of the other student workers who knows me from when I worked there freshman year came up to me and said all friendly and rather conspiratorially "Beth, can you kind of not bring him in here anymore? I don't think we're supposed to have animals in here." I explained to her that federal law says that service dogs must be allowed to accompany their handlers everywhere the handler goes. She said "yeah, but...I don't think we're supposed to allow him in here." I told her exactly what the law said, politely but firmly. She then stated that she was going to talk to her manager tomorrow (not the student manager) and see what he said. It sounded like she fully expected him to say that I couldn't have Ches in there. I told her that if he needed to talk to me I'd give him relevant laws. I haven't had problems anywhere else on campus yet, not even Mirror Lake cafe.
It's kind of strange that the food service in the basement of my own building would be the one to give me problems. I'll see what the manager says, and that will determine my further course of action. This has upset me, though I've been okay as far as standing up for myself. That's not usually like me...I haven't freaked out yet, and that's a good thing. If I get pushed much harder, though, it may not be pretty. I already find myself wanting to avoid going to Buckeye Express, and that's the place that is closest and most convenient for me 'cause I can just run in and grab stuff. If I don't go there anymore, it's going to be a big inconvenience. I e-mailed my counselor at Disability Services to advise her of the situation, so we'll see how it pans out.
Anyway, I'm sure there will be lots of news as Chester and I learn to work with each other. I'm so excited!

Private Trainer
Self-Trained Service Dogs
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