Every year my city holds an outdoor “World of Nations” event… I guess it’s kind of like that tent thing at EPCOT.
Three years ago some friends and I tried to go. We bought tickets on-line, made the 50 minute drive from where we were living, paid to park, and waited in the long queues at the gate… But that’s as far as we got.
We were screamed at, humiliated, and thrown out by event security because of Avery. We all signed, I had obnoxiously bright, neon pink, hearing aids, and Avery was dressed in a marked vest. There were other personnel, and even a few sheriffs deputies right there, but none were willing to intervene and we were forced to leave. Well, actually, *I* was forced to leave, the guy told the others “just leave the retard and that animal in the car and come back.”
It was awful.
Unfortunately for that guy, I’m great writer with a photographic memory and a passion for helping others.
I located the company, and shot off an email to their generic “contact us” link explaining that the way we had been treated was not only embarrassing, but illegal, and included a link to the ADA laws.
I heard back almost immediately from customer service, followed by the director of training, and finally the president of the entire company, which turned out to be a HUGE international leader in special event security.
According to the president, my email tipped off a massive, world wide emergency training session that week.
This year, I just live right down the street from the venue, the weather is gorgeous, and I decided to give it another go.
I’m pretty sure my earlier correspondence truly yielded some kind of results. The security was organized by the same company, they were still just as strict, standing in pairs, sending tons of guests away for banned items, but each group we passed, quickly nudged each other and said stuff like “look! It’s got on a vest. It can go in.” “Remember, that dog is working, don’t distract it.”
It made me really happy to see the change and think that maybe we helped pave the way for someone less able to self advocate.
Once inside. We had a great time!
After finally getting to experience it, I completely understand the strict No Dogs policy. There is tons of loud music, thick crowds, and more food than you could possibly imagine, oh, and it was about 100 degrees outside! Avery really worked hard today! We stopped to let her rest more frequently than usual.
If you don’t already know, please pay attention (and share with your young children)!
IT’S RUDE TO GRAB OR DISTRACT A WORKING DOG!!!!!!
Please understand, it’s not because she is unfriendly. Truthfully, she loves attention, and most of the time we are happy to stop for a chat. Just PLEASE, be reasonable and ask first! In the middle of a big crowd with lots of stimulation is NOT the right time. She is focused on doing her job; is my phone ringing? Did I drop anything? Is someone calling my name? If so, do they actually want me, or someone with the same name? Am I signing or talking to her? Where am I going? She has SO much to think about, without you or your children grabbing at her!
Just catch us when we are relaxed and out of the way, like this.
Now, she is enjoying a well earned nap with her lovey bunny.