Thursday, January 28, 2016

Airlines WANT You to Fake a Service Dog!

In early January, I attempted to book a flight on American from Phoenix to Reno for an agility seminar.  V is too large to be an in-cabin pet, so I need to check a dog.  American has direct flights, so MAJOR score, right?


American inherited USAirways crappy Airbus fleet, and this fleets does not have temperature control.  There are some configurations/variation of Airbus for which this is true.  It appears that American has some Airbus fleet that are pet-friendly.

When you research flights, you only get "A321", and not the "S" or "H".  So... you're supposed to call reservations?

Seeing as how USAirways was headquartered in Phoenix, the majority of the fleet are these crappy Airbus.  Thus, with Delta and United only accepting pets as cargo, Southwest only accepts in-cabin pets, and American not having appropriate aircraft... honest folk are stuck driving or hoping that a smaller airline accepts checked pets. Or, you can do what is popular among the agility crowd...


When I flew Bug to USDAA Nationals for several years, I witnessed it all at the airport.  "Service" dogs panting and freaking out.  A competitor fighting with Southwest Airlines over her TWO "service" dogs.  "Service" dogs playing in the terminal.  "Service" dogs wandering around at baggage claim.  Other travelers at the airport in disbelief over the number of black-and-white service dogs in the airport.  There must be a service dog convention!

With Delta no longer offering checked pets, that leaves American as the last major airline accepting checked pets.  However... they have an Airbus issue.

I wrote American when I was attempting to book a flight, and asked why they weren't upgrading the USAirways fleet.

They took 21 days to respond with a copy-and-paste from their website.  Thanks!  Shockingly, I do know how to read.

Here's my response:

You didn't answer my question about the aircraft. By not retrofitting the USair fleet, you are encouraging fake service dogs.

Thanks for the "copy and paste" response from information I found verbatim on your website.

When I was researching flights to Reno, I couldn't tell WHAT Airbus variation was used. Just A321. That doesn't help someone flying with a checked pet.

So you lost my business to Alaska Airlines.
 Okay, wow, I got a quick response to that.  Not sure why all of a sudden American is interested in my business after taking 21 days to initially respond.
Thank you for contacting us again and giving us another opportunity to take a look at this situation.
As you mentioned, our USAir Airbus fleet is not pressurized for checked pets. For the safety of pets, we do not allow customers to check pets on these flights.
As a pet owner, I certainly understand your frustration and apologize for the inconvenience this is causing you and others when trying to travel with your pet.
Our Reservations team will be happy to assist you with any additional information. They can be reached at 800-433-7300 and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Be sure to have your flight details ready when you call. Calling from outside the United States or Canada? Click here for contact information.
If you have questions or concerns after your trip is completed, we'd be happy to hear from you in Customer Relations.
We appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you onboard.

Actually, when you call reservations to make your reservation, you pay hefty fees for talking to someone.  They also cannot identify which Airbus variation it is.  Just ask someone who flew to AKC/Eukanuba in December with his German Pinscher.  He called, told his flights were friendly, and then American re-booked him on an earlier, friendly flight WITHOUT TELLING HIM.  So sure, that phone call will go over real well...
I talked to someone last night who had issues getting from Phoenix to Orlando despite calling customer service. Almost every flight was airbus, just like the flights I looked at from Phoenix to Reno or Sacramento. I could get one way on appropriate aircraft, but not both ways, or had to change planes in LAX and still not get to Reno. 
You need to do something about the airbus. Period. 
I'll buy a service dog vest for my dog in the future since it's impossible to get a checked dog out of Phoenix. No Delta. No United. No Southwest. No American. No choices. 
I booked a most inconvenient flight on Alaska because that was my only option. In order to go east. .. I'll be stuck driving or joining the masses faking a service dog since airlines encourage this behavior. By not upgrading the airbus, this loss of revenue must be American's business strategy. You'd rather let me fly a large dog in cabin for free than provide appropriate aircraft in Phoenix.
 I bet you are not surprised that American did not respond.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Updated USDAA Spreadsheet Available

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More Reasons to Stay Away from AKC

I ended up a member of a kennel club because of BarnHunt.  Yes, rats!  I kinda had to join to be trial chair at an agility event.  These are a nice group of people, and I am okay with helping them, though still not willing to give AKC money.

The chairperson position for a bench hearing was dumped on me, as the club is small, and some members were too familiar with the situation.  So the best person to chair this is the one most apathetic - me!

AKC has a 30-page document of bullshit proceedings for this crap.  In contrast, USDAA has about two pages of general instructions and some checkboxes.  You can guess which one is easier to follow.

Why does AKC make the club do its bidding?  That's the answer I want to know.  30 pages of what is essentially a court procedure where the club is the judge, jury and executioner.  One misstep and BAM!  It doesn't matter.

It should be the licensing organization's responsibility to address the evidence and penalize appropriately.  The club should gather evidence.  Period.

So this hearing was against a woman who reminds me of Dolores Umbridge, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor introduced in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  So I will call her that... Dolores Umbridge.  This lady also has all the charm, personality and temperament of her namesake.

Anyhow, here's my cover letter about the hearing, also forwarded to all AKC board members, legal, etc.  Links to evidence are missing, as are names.

I have competed in agility since 2002, and have participated in agility event committees since 2009.  I compete solely in another agility venue, and have experience in a variety of show positions, including disciplinary action committees.  I quit AKC agility in 2010, shortly after the Canine Partners inception.

My dogs were not welcome at the 2011 Fiesta Cluster agility, and neither Scottsdale Dog Fanciers Association (SDFA) nor Superstition Kennel Club (SKC) could honor me with a reason why.  I led a social media campaign against agility at the Fiesta Cluster, and my friends who normally would enter did not, nor have they returned.  When I relay my experiences, AKC potentially loses active competitors and future ones.

Factors why I do not support AKC performance events:

    * Competitor behavior towards mixed breeds, such as asking, "What is THAT?"
    * Breed Clubs wanting support/donations, yet denying entry to their shows
    * Gate stewards being nasty about the description "canine partner"
    * Gate stewards willing to 10-dog separate handlers, so long as the dogs are not mixed breeds
    * Sneering comments from breed people about my purebred Australian Kelpie "Dobie mix"

I run two dogs in agility, and this represents money I spend elsewhere.  It really is a shame because the lure course clubs have less contemptuous members and competitors.

I am a new member of SKC, meeting club members through BarnHunt.  When I first attended one of SKC's practices, I was openly honest with them about who I was and my campaign against the 2011 Fiesta Cluster.  The members assured me that "things have changed" and that they welcomed all dogs.

I had the misfortune of have the chairperson position dumped on me for a bench hearing against Dolores Umbridge.  I felt from the moment the hearing began, that the AKC organization either did not take this hearing seriously or do not care that TWO of their judges are disrespectful.

Firstly, AKC Person 1 arranged the conference call and from all indications, either he or AKC Person 2 would virtually attend.  Neither did.  We wasted over thirty minutes trying to get either to call and participate.  I was in and out of the conference room for better cell reception.  Mrs. Umbridge chortled, rolled her eyes and kept sighing as we struggled with the lack of support from AKC.  Furthermore, Mrs. Umbridge alluded to her knowledge that AKC Person 1 was retiring and that she has been in frequent contact with AKC Person 2. This gives the appearance that AKC has already decided the outcome of this hearing.  Mrs. Umbridge refused to sign the hearing form.  Yes, there are mistakes, as I took over as chairperson from 
Someone Else.  I am not perfect, nor is any other person on this earth.

I am disturbed that Mrs. Umbridge appeared at the Fiesta Cluster wrap-up meeting on April 2, 2015, with letter in hand from AKC stating that she could continue with her duties as .  The committee had not formalized the benching with AKC, nor had anyone from AKC contacted the committee, yet AKC had made a  decision.  If AKC had already decided to NOT support the hearing and subsequent  benching of Mrs. Umbridge, then why waste the time of all those involved?  I would appreciate a response to this question, as I can gladly bill AKC for my hours of service, currently totaling $455 (7 hours @ $65 per hour).  I am still awaiting a refund for the $70 I wasted on Canine Partner registration fees.

In addition, Mrs. Umbridge's husband, Mr. Umbridge, acted as her attorney.  Despite only being available to her for consultation, he had multiple outbursts, and I admonished him for tossing papers at me.

In dealing with the FACTS of this case, multiple unofficial photographers with no written consent were at this event, including Person A, Person B, and The Harassee.  Person A takes photos for
Free Publicity 1, and sells photos from events.  Person A's photograph of Mrs. Umbridge appears on the Free Publicity 1 website. Person B's photos appeared on the AKC website.  The Harassee, a journalist/photojournalist, shoots for Free Publicity 2 and herself.  These photographers offer FREE PUBLICITY AND PROMOTION of AKC and the Fiesta Cluster.  Free Publicity 2 feels slighted with respect to other media outlet.

Person C's testimony indicates that Mrs. Umbridge harassed
The Harassee based on a federally protected attribute (race), and AKC's own harassment policy for sexual orientation.

In response to the outcry on social media regarding Mrs. Umbridge's actions towards
The Harassee, SKC reimbursed Ms. Han for over $700 in expenses to help with damage control.  Regardless, Mrs. Umbridge's actions cannot be undone, and SKC's reputation is tarnished from a non-member.

AKC makes money when clubs make money.  It is a simple business principle: have a successful event and grow.  A successful event includes more than competitor entry fees - it includes vendors and spectators.  An event like the Fiesta Cluster should be a celebration of dogs and a vehicle to get spectators interested in AKC events and purebred, AKC-registered dogs.

When AKC gives the appearance of a "Good Ol' Boy" network, reminiscent of the 1950's South, by protecting their own, it makes people like ME, a non-AKC participant, who can participate, choose otherwise. People like ME represent your untapped market that will continue untapped until AKC chooses to change and treat all with respect.

It is none of my business how AKC chooses to run theirs... you can choose to be proactive, progressive and welcoming to all, or remain stuck in a bygone era.

While the pomp and circumstance regarding hearings appears noble, it still allows and condones ill behavior by those associated with AKC and those participating in AKC events because of convoluted, archaic procedure.  The club's responsibility should be the event.  The 30-page "Dealing with Misconduct" document can be narrowed to two pages of mostly checkboxes, making this process easier for all those involved, including AKC.  The licensing organization, AKC, should ultimately address the reported behavior.

I respectfully ask that you take this bench hearing and evidence presented seriously. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

FOR SALE: UNUSED Channel Weaves made by someone who doesn't know how to paint

Three coats of paint that do not adhere to metal.  Three.  My 14 year-old car has three coats of paint (base coat, pearl coat, and top coat), AND it's not that thick AND has survived the elements.  Three thick layers of paint ADD to the width of the metal, thus the parts do not glide easily.  Of course, if there weren't so many globs of paint adding to the width/height, the pieces would glide easily.

I was accused of keeping these out in my landscape in standing water.

Nope, these parts don't move not because of RUST, but because of sub-standard painting.  And don't play that "offered powder coating".  Because I wasn't. REDACTED said that he doesn't powder coat anymore because it's too expensive.  Shouldn't that have been my decision?

In any case, I'm not willing to invest any more money into these.  I am not willing to strip the paint and re-paint or powder coat.  $75.


I am really disappointed in these channel weaves.  Not only is ALL the paint chipping off, I struggled for over 30 minutes this morning trying to get the channel part to budge.  I tried silicone lubricant.  I tried hammer.  I cannot get this to budge.

These weaves look ghetto because I re-painted the parts where the paint is chipped, and does not appear to be bonded to the metal.  They are unusable, and I'd like to return them, either for an unpainted set or a full refund.


If they set out in the weather and in the irrigation that is what happens, I am not responsible for your abuse of your equipment, you did not request powder coat paint which would cost another $100.
Use Break Free on the bolts and inside the slides, once they lock up from rust and neglect it will have to set 24 hrs to free up. I have to do the same thing for mine.
And if they are powder coated and abused they will also rust, just a few months slower

They do not sit in the irrigation. Why am I responsible for paint globs? That's why the channels don't move. The paint had been peeling ever since I brought them home and in my garage. I complained then. You should stand by your work. That's the worst paint job I've ever seen.
 If you want them repainted I will but only one time. I use the best quality rust preventive paint I can find.
Repainting will only help if the paint is stripped.  Another layer and these are stationary weaves.  And why is this so thick?
 I'd prefer to have the paint stripped to bare metal, and I will either take them to be powder coated near my home, or I will paint them myself.
To which I received no response, thus, these need to stop taking up valuable space on my block wall fence.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

DABAD: One Small Success for Dog, One Giant Success for Team

Success doesn't have to mean winning it all.  It doesn't have to mean standing on the podium.  I measure success based upon overcoming struggles I have in training my dogs.  Big success comes from accomplishing small successes.

When Scout was nearing the end of her career, I ran her in a few Veteran's classes.  The dogwalk was the next to last obstacle.  She blew the contact.  Someone came RIGHT up to me after the run and snapped, "It WAS a nice run until the dogwalk." 

I retorted, "She's 12 and a half years old, she can do whatever she wants."

My version of success:  My dog can still play with me enthusiastically. Scout earned her PDCH-Platinum, VVD, and LAA-Gold.  One missed dogwalk contact is nothing.

Boo, the little white scruffy dog, has been a challenge in training.  He did not enjoy a group class format - he'd return to his crate for his turn, so he was primarily trained in my backyard.  He does well at private lessons.  He has been a struggle from Day One:

  • Boo is fearful.  It's a big world for a little dude.  I had people give him treats at trials to overcome his fear of strangers.
  • Boo is terrified of the teeter.
  • Boo is selective about how fast he will run and when.
  • Boo is distracted.  He sees lots of shiny things.  And then visits them.
  • Boo is a clown... he wallows in the grass as his start line.  I sometimes abandon the lead out to bring him back to this planet.

  • Boo likes to down on the table, then poke his butt up in the air, wag his tail, and laugh at me.
I chose not to give up on this dog.  He is what he is, and things will come when he's ready.  Boo has had great PGP runs... until he ran off to take his favorite obstacle (A-Frame).  Here were our successes:
  • He ran full-speed.
  • He made course time even with the off course.
  • He bounced the weaves.
  • He performed the teeter with confidence.
  • He stayed with me (except for the A-Frame... it was shiny!)
Heck, he even got a teeter gamble at the same trial!

Boo loves Snooker.  Boo doesn't do well in Standard and Gamblers.  Naturally, I was tickled when he started getting a few Standard Qs.  Then a few Gamblers Qs.  Next thing you know, it's PDCH Boo!

When my students finish a run, I never talk about what needs improvement - for the most part, they are already aware of that.  I talk about what went right, especially if the team has been struggling on a particular move, sequence or obstacle.  Eventually, more and more things will go right, and each student will have a BIG success.

Start measuring small successes.  It will build your confidence.  Larger successes will naturally fall in place.

This blog entry is part of the Dog Agility Blog Action Day: Success!  Read more here:

Monday, May 12, 2014

USDAA Title Worksheet - Updated Again

Updated again.  Turns out the Masters Challenge classes go towards you Standard and Jumpers titles.

This will be the last update.  I am converting the spreadsheet into a JAVA app so no one, me included, has to re-enter data due to changes.

Get It Here

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I Got My First Puppy. What Was I Thinking?

My 40th birthday present to myself:  Puppy! 

She looks really sweet, and, for the most part she is.   Until...

We put holes in clothing.

We get stuck under nightstands.

We refuse to get out of the dishwasher, regardless if the dishes are clean or dirty.

Need a paper shredder?  Toilet paper, envelopes, paper towels.  You name it.

We dumpster dive.

We hate dryer sheets...

And door trim...

And wood...

And tree roots... (from a tree that I removed)

And Lantana with red flowers (purple, yellow, and orange are okay).

She is an expert counter surfer.

Don't get me wrong, I love this dog.  However, getting a puppy has made me appreciate my rescues even more.  Someone dumped my other dogs AFTER they got through all the crap I chronicled above - when they were just right.  AND they were, for the most part, house-trained.