22 August 2009

Gator, the Service Dog...+ Mia Update


Pension Milou welcomed two American 'allergy' dogs this week. One to visit and she'll stay here shortly. The other - Gator - he arrived yesterday. Both are Goldendoodles. Labradoodles and Goldendoodles - and other mixes - are dogs specially bred for people with allergies. How it is that the Poodle manifests itself in the coat and not the Golden Retriever (which is the allergic bit) I'm not clear.

And then I learned that one of them - Gator, the beautiful two and a half year old dog you see in these photos, is also a registered Service Dog.

Gator is trained to visit sick people in hospital and retirement homes - in other words, a therapy dog. He also does rescue work. His owners hoped he'd also be trainable as a water rescue dog but unlike poodles and golden retrievers (of which he's both) he's not crazy about water!


One of the massive side benefits of owning a service dog in America is that the dog is permitted to go everywhere with the owner - this means restaurants, hotels, shops, all places normally forbidden to a dog in that country. And airplanes. So when Gator flew first class with his owner from Florida to Nice, he flew in the cabin, lying at the feet of his owner. Now you know why he's called Gator...he comes from Florida.

Today, his family are taking a cruise from Monaco to Corsica and were really surprised Gator wasn't allowed on board. France and Monaco doesn't recognise the American Service Dog badge - or at least the owner of this cruise ship didn't. Apparently a small dog would have been allowed (Gator is a BIG boy) and perhaps a Guide Dog for the Blind (not sure about that tho) - so that's why he arrived at Pension Milou yesterday and he's a pleasure to have around. He's so good, so obedient - as you gather, I'm all for Service Dogs staying here...he's one beautifully behaved dog, yet he's having great fun playing with a little Westie pup who is staying here. As you can see from these photos, he settled in immediately.


Update on Mia: Mia has now been here for 8 months and you'd not recognise her. She is in great physical condition - adores playing with the other dogs. Sometimes I think she's a puppy, she so loves playing. She's still scared of strangers who call, but is getting better and better - rarely barks at them and 'wants' to come into the house when they are here but isn't quite brave enough. But still there is a vast improvement. And now, when I go out, I can leave via the front gate, rather than lugging up the back garden and out the back way. Such progress. And best of all, she is the most loving adorable dog when we are all here together - just the dogs and me - finally, she's happy. Again, thank you so much for all the comments and support during the last months with Mia and earlier with Mistral.

15 comments:

martha said...

This is the best possible news - for Mia and for yu. I am so happy for both of you.

Gator looks to be a real treasure. I'm sure, from looking at his clever/wise face that he really loves his work of helping people.

Teri said...

Gator appears very contented with his mini "staycation," while the owners sail to Corsica. Funny how some individuals defy their breeding. My old lab preferred to stay dry, thank you, while the Rottweiler happily swam through ocean waves to fetch driftwood. Go figure.

TC said...

My golden lab thought the yard pond was his personal cooling off spa. He was more terrified of baths than the bichon though? And the lab insisted he be thoroughly towel dried if he happened to get wet in the rain and come inside.
It is funny how the hypoallergenic characteristics are passed down?

Stacey said...

This is amazing! I wanted to have Sadie trained to be a service dog before we left the US but didn't think there was time! How funny! He is such a cute dog! (But I am a little partial to the breed.)

Jilly said...

To anyone following the comments, Stacey's lovely dog, Sadie, is the other Goldendoodle I refer to in the text. She is gorgeous too!

lady jicky said...

Oh Jilly , I am so happy to hear how Mia is going. Time is the secret - and alot of love and care too!!! Give her a big hug from me.
I am not a big dog person but ... I could pinch Gator!!! LOL
In Australia Guide Dogs for the Blind go EVERYWHERE - it is illegal to not allow them in - I remember one Taxi guy got in BIG trouble for knocking back a blind person and their dog! Huge fine and you can loose your job sometimes. As for therapy dogs - I am not too sure but I do know the guide dogs are so well trained here that they MUST go Everywhere with their blind owner.

Lessie said...

I love the pic of Gator lying on the tile. He does look at home! So glad to hear Mia is doing better and better!

altadenahiker said...

What's not to love? My lab likes to sit in the kiddie end of the pool, but no swimming thank you all the same.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jilly, (and Jilly fans) I just logged onto my email...wish I would have had access to email while on vacation...Wonderful...He was TRULY happy with you and sends you a big 'soft kiss' ;-) I feel blessed to have met you and please be assured we will be back for a visit. He was happy to see his little brother (a British short-hair kitty) they played and played and fell asleep together, I have to have my son send you a pic of this. Mia does seem to be doing well he is lucky to have you in his life.

Kate said...

Service dogs are truly appreciated here in the US and are objects of great interest and much affection.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

I see the spam.

Anyway, I am happy to read this post about your work with the dogs as it continues.

frenchie4moi said...

Great news on Mia! I can't wait to have a dog someday.

Merry Christmas Jilly!

Nancy

Nathalie said...

Jilly, how's Beau?

Jilly said...

Nathalie, thanks so much for asking. It's been a nightmare but really, as of today, I do think he's much better. Over a month since the operation. Your asking me on this blog makes me realise I need to write up the story and will do it over the next few days! Thanks so much...

vanessa said...

Wishing a good health for Mia in the future :)

For Gator, What a cute and responsible dog. As a service dog well, this dog is obviously helpful. Good luck Gator! Keep up the good work.

Also thanks for sharing this blog :)

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