Dogs to the rescue when the government thumbs its nose at the ADA

If there is any interest, I could post an essay toying with some ideas about how to tweak the Americans with Disabilities Act so that government employers actually obey it.  For the moment, I’ll simply note that gimps such as myself are well advised to have a Plan B for when they don’t.  If you must rely on someone for help with activities of daily living, man’s best friend is a better bet than your fellow man.  I don’t walk well and I’m even less skillful at standing on the subway.  For seven years, I had loyal service all day and every day from a Shiloh Shepherd named CJ’s Blue Smoke & Mirrors.  He never grumbled about working and the worst thing he ever did was to snore while a judge was droning addressing counsel.  I was so grieved by Blue’s death that it took two years to get up the gumption to move forward, and now the day is upon me.  On Monday and Tuesday, I’ll be training with my new partner, and then we’ll be on the job together in Boston.  Here he is:

Honestly, I feel like I’m embarking on an arranged marriage.  I’m worried about everything.

For those of you who may not know how dogs help gimps, you may enjoy reading the NEADS website.  If you like the idea of prison reform, check out the Prison Pup Partnership video.  Don’t watch the video about Canines for Combat Veterans unless you have Kleenex handy.

And one other thing.  My new dog was born in the Czech Republic and his name is Cormet, which really doesn’t work for me.  Among other things, it’s a strange sound to the American ear, so unless I change it, I can plan on spending a lot of time repeating and spelling it.  Dogs don’t care if you change their names.  To a dog, a name is just that sound the two-legged one makes when she wants your attention.  So I’d love some ideas.  I’ve considered Reacher, Jake and Rover, but I’m stuck.


Author: Lowry Heussler

Lowry Heussler is a lawyer from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Having participated in the RBC as a guest-blogger, she made it official in 2012. Her most important contribution to the field of public policy to date was her 1994 instruction to Mark Kleiman, "Read Ann Landers every day. You need to learn about real people." Her essay on the 2009 arrest of Henry Louis Gates went viral and brought about one of her proudest moments, being described as "just another twit along the lines of Sharpton, Jackson, Gates, etc." (Small Dead Animals Blog). Currently serving as General Counsel to BOTEC Analysis Corp., she has been a public housing lawyer, a prosecutor for the Board of Registration in Medicine, a large-firm associate and a small-firm partner. She serves as a board member for NEADS, Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans, a charity that trains service dogs to increase independence for people with disabilities.

19 thoughts on “Dogs to the rescue when the government thumbs its nose at the ADA”

  1. Handsome fellow… Keeping close to the original, Kermit comes to mind, which shouldn’t cause any confusion with anyone. But maybe more appropriately, Corbett, as in Gentleman Jim.

  2. Nice-looking dog. Is a Shiloh Shepherd really different from the German kind? Looks like the back might be straighter, which is a good thing, as I understand it.

    Since he’s from the Czech Republic I was going to suggest “Checkers,” but thought better of it.

    1. Cormet is not a Shiloh; he is a pure German Shepherd from European bloodlines. You’re right that he has a straighter topline than American-bred GSDs. All GDSs have angulated femurs that have nothing to do with hip dysplasia. The unusual angle of the femur allows the dog to expend less energy when trotting, so he can work long hours without exhaustion. Unfortunately American breeders seem to have fallen in love with overangulation, and their dogs sort of sidle along when walking. I have not had good experiences with American GSD due to temperament problems. I need a bomb-proof dog who will not react badly to the stresses of city life.

      Shiloh Shepherds are an American rare breed that came about by accident when a GSD breeder was asked to produce some dogs that looked like wolves for a movie. The Shiloh Shepherd is (or should be) a big solid dog with a rock steady temperament. I can’t vouch for all of them, but Blue’s breeder produced dogs that were darned near perfect.

      The major difference between the GSD temperament and that of the Shiloh is that if a representative of each breed was confronted with a chaotic scene like rush hour in a subway station, the GSD will think “This is intolerable. Someone has to fix this mess, and I guess that’s me, since all these 2-legged ones are not getting it done.” The Shiloh thinks, “Glad it’s not my problem.” Then he goes to sleep.

      1. So is it the overangulation that causes what often looks to me like the excessive slope of the back?

    2. I’ve got a Shiloh and had a GSD. Imagine that somebody took a wolf, painted the muzzle black, emptied it out, and filled it up with marshmallows. That’s a Shiloh. They’re not nearly as smart as GSDs (neither am I), but they are tremendously sweet animals. We got a Shiloh after our GSD died because we have a small child. You can trust a GSD with your child, but you can’t quite trust it with your child’s friends. The GSD might decide to protect your kid from its friends; the Shiloh will only wheeple.

      As far as I understand, Shilohs are mostly GSD with some northern breeds thrown in. They are similar to the Alsatian Shepalute, another rare breed from the West Coast.

      A Czech GSD is much more than a properly-angulated GSD. They’re really tough dogs who need a lot of work: German Shepherds a fortiori.

  3. Cormack? McCormick? Easy to spell/”get” for English speakers, dog still comes when called.

    1. Just what I was thinking! Another possibility is “Corey” or however you want to spell it. Dogs apparently respond best to long vowel sounds so “Corey” is a very appropriate name for that reason.

      If you don’t mind the military reference: Corporal strikes me as a nice name for a service dog.

      I also did the same thing with one of my dogs. He was given the name “Huey” which I thought was very undignified, so I changed it to Hugo, which I still think is a really nice name for a dog, so I would nominate that one as well.

  4. Hi Lowry. How delightful to find your articles on one of my new fave sites. Baloo, one of Blue’s littermates, is still w/ my guy and me. We’d kept up w/ Blue through JV and were sad to hear he’d passed. I’m glad for you that it’s time to begin with another helpmate. He’s beautiful and looks sincere and solid.

    Yeah, Corbett would be high maintenance, plus it doesn’t roll off the tongue.

    Does anything about your process of becoming ready for another dog suggest a name? Anything regarding the city where he was born, the region, a body of water near his birthplace, etc. that would be a cool name? Or, is there anything symbolic about how you found him or the process of him getting to you that might help? And, naming a dog this way may not be your style.

    If you post about him online, I’d love to follow you two.

    Please know Blue’s remembered, Sharon

  5. My long experience with dogs suggests that names with hard consonants are more readily responded to. Think C and K and T. Good luck to you both!

  6. They not only help gimps. I was in a mandatory VA discussion group in 2002 or 2003. None of us opened our mouths for a while. One guy asked if he could go out and water his dog. Everyone but me was from the streets, they all had dogs. A buddy to hold the perimeter while they got a nap.

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