Wednesday, September 17, 2008
No joke ... Service dog makes himself of service
D'ja hear the one about the dog that called 911 ...?
No, it's really not a joke -- despite the way that most media outlets are treating the story of Buddy the GSD and his owner John Stalnaker.
Disabled man trains dog to perform life-saving function. Dog performs flawlessly at need, and also demonstrates an apparent awareness of the seriousness of the situation. 911 system correctly flags the address as one featuring a trained service dog, allowing the dispatcher to treat the call as legitimate. Police and ambulance crew save man's life.
Wacky stuff, man.
A special steaming turd goes out to the Philadelphia Examiner, for a treatment of this story that equates its news value to that of a recidivist pervert anally raping the family dog.
Here's one newspaper story that got the facts straight, refrains from smirking or making "original" dog puns, is grammatically correct, contains no glaring spelling errors that I could see (e.g. "Shepard"), and does not incorrectly state that the pup was "adopted at eight weeks from Paws With a Cause." Too bad I had to go to the foreign press to find it.
I hope Buddy's story helps to educate the dog-ignorant public about the ways that service dogs can aid people with disabilities and permit them to live independent and dignified lives.
Am I the only one who winces when she sees "enlightened" signs in public places, such as "No dogs allowed except seeing eye dogs" or the puzzling "Only medically necessary pets permitted?" (Both on the doors of major national chains that presumably retain attorneys who handle their ADA discrimination claims.)
The mainstream media doesn't seem to care to help with that. An opportunity to devote a couple paragraphs to Mr. Stalnaker's training of Buddy, or Buddy's status under the ADA, is lost in favor of platitudes about "man's best friend" and gabbling about "Fido."
(Service dog trivia. The first guide dog in the US was a German shepherd named Buddy.)