An article in the paper
a man who lost his service dog supposedly over an issue of weight.
First, let me make it clear that I have never dealt with the service provider in question. To my knowledge, they won't touch guidework training with a ten foot pole. I went to
Guide Dogs for the Blind.
So I don't really know anything about the school and can't comment on their policies. Each person goes to a different service provider for different reasons. Each provider has different reasons for their policies. That being said, I have already been asked about this particular incident, and I expect I'll be asked again. I wanted to write this down oo that I'll give a good, well-thought-out response. I'm always interested in others' opinions on this stuff. I'm open for questions if you're completely lost too.
Guide Dogs does state in the user contractthat the user must "maintain the Guide Dog in good physical condition keeping it at a reasonable weight." The contract doesn't state what that is, but we were taught that the dog really shouldn't gain more than two or three pounds from their class weight (what they were when we left training). While I know that dogs do gain weight and I don't know of any dog being taken away for this happening, It's still something that's addressed on the visits from reps from the school. The reason this is important is that the pulling in harness can be stressful to the dog's joints, and even moreso when the dog is carrying around extra weight.
That being said, there are a few things I noticed in the stories I'd like to comment on. First, the dog did gain a significant amount of weight. That is of concern. But it sounds like there was a real effort to get that off on the part of the handler. Second, I don't think we have all of the facts, at least I hope we don't. If there's something going on like this, I would hope the training program would respect confidentiality. I am really hoping there wasn't abuse or something awful going on that worried the school. Still, if they didn't even give the guy a chance to say good-bye, that's not right unless there is a significant reason to get that dog out and get it out now.
If this is a case of the guy really trying and the school being heavy-handed, then I hope he's learned more about dog handling and healthy weight. If he has, I really do wish him luck with a new dog.
Just my thoughts!