Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dear Man at Victoria's Secret

I would just like to say that sometimes people really just...ummm...suck. While shopping with Charlie I had an interesting and embarrassing and awkward experience.

This what I have to say about it.....

Dear Man with no boundaries shopping at Victoria's Secret,

I do not appreciate you reaching between my legs to grab my very obedient service dog and then continuing to pet him despite his bright red vest that clearly says says "please don't pet me I'm working" and your childrens' plees of "Daddy you aren't supposed to pet that dog. See it says so right there." and my stammering for you to kindly stop. I also do not like your ridiculous comment that "It is okay, I have a golden retriever."
Please Don't Pet Patch
What in the hell does that mean? Since you have a golden retriever you are now
  • A. certified to harass those with disabilities
  • B. free to pet a random stranger's dog without asking and
  • C. allowed to be a jerk
I also do not appreciate how you finally saw the sign that says "I am a service dog" and then continued to asked me "what is wrong with you?" as if having a service dog makes one diseased or freakish. When I sheepishly and stupidly answered that I have seizures, I am appalled by your response of shaking uncontrollably and faking a seizure while saying to me and your children "everybody watch out. Don't have a seizure now!"

I think it is a crime you were allowed to procreate.


Leah and Charlie

Friday, July 30, 2010

Flying with Charlie

For the most part flying with Charlie is fairly easy. Most of the time the airport employees take the time to notice his bright red vest with "I am a Service Dog" patches on it and so they understand that he is a working dog and not a pet. Because Charlie is a service dog, he gets to fly on the airplane with me at my feet and he doesn't have to ride in a little dog bag. Most of the time he charms the hearts of the flight attendants and they bring him peanuts and water.

Once while flying from DC to Salt Lake City, my flight was severely delayed and Charlie desperately had to go to the bathroom. I didn't have time to go back outside past the security and then back through security. The ramp attendant for Delta was so helpful and he took Charlie and me down onto the tarmac so Charlie could do his business. The frustrating part was that Charlie didn't know what to do cause there was no grass around. Eventually he figured it out.  Dulles has a dog potty station in the airport. Check it out.

Charlie and I have flown on many different airlines. Jet Blue and Southwest have been the best and United Airlines the worst (read my United flying story frustration). I fly Delta a lot and they are always great too. Read my raving review about flying Southwest with Charlie.

We have flown together to DC, Portland, Chicago, Reno, Long Beach, LA, Salt Lake City, and New York. Here are a couple of great pics from some of our trips together.

The Grand Canyon

My friend Jo and Charlie in Portland, OR

Disneyland-Charlie hated Jesse

Chicago --- I rented a bike in Chicago to see the sights, but I had Charlie with me so I used the pashmina scarf I had and made a sling to carry him in. He absolutely loved it.

Charlie is the best traveling buddy. I will post more images of our trips and adventures.

the introduction

Hello lovely readers. I find that where ever I go with Charlie I get stopped because either

A. Charlie is "soooo cute"
B. People have a million questions about what he does
C. I am being interrogated that Charlie can not enter a place of business
D. People think I am faking it

I figure that someone out there obviously is interested in this little guy and our story, so I have decided 'what the hey' maybe I will write about us and someone out there will read about our adventures and smile, cry, laugh, or become informed.

Here is the short and skinny about Charlie Pants and me.

Me. Name, Leah Stone. Wife. Dog Lover. Grad Student. 28 years old. No Kids, 2 dogs Jack and Charlie. Entrepreneur. Musician. Artist. Lover of beautiful things like interior design, outdoors, music, art, a good book, anything vintage and old, and animals. I started having seizures at 24 years of age.

Charlie. Full name Charlie Pants. 5 years old. Trained Seizure Alert Service Dog. 15 pounds and slightly pudgy. Protector of all things around Leah. Big brother to "little brother" Jack, a 90 pound doberman. Smart. World Traveler. Lover of stuffed animals, stealing human food, barking at people outside, dog treats, and clicker training. Dead on of alerting me of a seizure about 5-10 minutes before it happens. Holder of the name to my music business Charlie Pants Music

People always ask me, "How does Charlie know that is seizure is coming?"

I usually reply by saying that how dogs detect an oncoming seizure in a human is a mystery. Some trainers and researchers think they detect subtle changes in human behavior or scent before an episode occurs. There is no scientific studies, however, to prove these theories. Trainers also believe the behavior is not breed, age or gender specific in dogs. Charlie was just born with this remarkable ability, as are other seizure alert dogs. This sets them apart from other types of service animals.

The next question I usually get is "Well how do you know he is telling you?"

Charlie, as well as other seizure alert dogs, exhibit attention-getting behaviors such as whining, pawing, licking, or anxious barking. Charlie's behavior is to lick my face very erratically and if he can't get to my face he whines and acts crazy until he gets my attention. Once he gets my attention, he locks eyes with me and wont stop until I lie down. Once I lie down, Charlie lays next to me. My husband says that when I am seizing Charlie tries to lick my mouth and nose and we have heard from trainers that this is his way of making sure I am still breathing.

How did he learn how to do this?

Well it is natural, but his alerting behavior was and is rewarded with food usually by someone other that me cause I am having a seizure. Charlie is trained to stay with me during a seizure or to press a button on the phone that dials 911.

This is a study that shows you just how special a dog like Charlie is.

A study in 1998 involved questionnaires completed by 29 dog owners who had seizures at least once a month. Of the 29 subjects, nine reported that their dog responded to a seizure. These dogs remained close to their human companions either standing or lying alongside them, sometimes licking the person's face or hands during and immediately after the seizure. Of the nine dogs reported to respond, three were said to also alert their owners to an impending seizure about three minutes in advance.

So there it is. What Charlie does, how he does it, and why he is so special. Charlie wasn't always a service dog. He started out as a family dog. He was actually a year and a half when he started his training, but because he was already alerting me of my seizures he was able to get certified as a service dog as long as he could become obedient in public.

All I know is that Charlie is the most amazing dog in the world. Thanks to him I have my freedom back and am not afraid to go anywhere because I know he will take care of me.

We would love your comments on this blog so we know someone is listening.

leah and charlie pants

Jo, Me and Charlie in Chicago

Charlie and Me at Fountain Head Lake