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Privacy…the state of being free from…

Privacy.  Let’s see here, Google my friend, what do you say about privacy?  Ah yes, “the  state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.”  Dictionary.com says,” The state of being apart from other people or concealed from their view; solitude, seclusion…the state of being free from unwanted or undue intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs; freedom to be let alone.

However, neither of these definitions included, “unless you have children or pets.” If either of those are a part of your life, you generally have no clue to the meaning of that word, at least, not for many a year.

It began with the dog, you know. He was your dog. Only  three months old but totally bonded to you. You had picked him out of a group of rescues that were up for adoption. He was one of many tiny puppies from a puppy mill and had barely made it out alive. The rescue group came just in time. You adored him and he you. He stayed by your side for everything and you didn’t mind it at all. In fact, you thought it was wonderful.

Recently though you found someone else you adored and invited him over for dinner.  You and your friend were looking forward to a quiet evening on the couch watching movies. You made popcorn, sat down, started the movie and just as the opening scene came on, so did Rover.  Up,on the couch and in between the two of you. If your new friend looked at you or made a motion towards you, the dog gave that look that says, “Just try it.”  Rover just won the key to your private space and he is never going to give it back. You and your friend get through it, everything goes well, friend  becomes your Partner and in doing so  accepts that you, Rover and he  will be a threesome from here on out. Now, “here on out” quickly moves onto, yes, marriage and a baby. Yep, baby. Privacy  is starting to sound like a foreign language at this point. You and Partner often have laughed and questioned if the two of you would ever have any. Meanwhile,  Rover is hot on your heals as you go to get the crying baby from the crib that you just put him in sound asleep. Partner had popped the popcorn, and the opening scene was just beginning, with you, Rover, and Partner all in your respective spots (that’s with Rover in the middle you know) and as soon as your rear end hits the couch the wailing begins again. You bounce, you feed, you cuddle and sing but to no avail. The movie team just became a foursome. Baby on your lap, Rover in the middle, and the popcorn somewhere out of your reach.

Time goes on, the foursome together through it all. Rover whines at the bathroom door, sits by the tub as you take a bath, comes in from outside onto your lap to wipe his dirty feet on your apron and then smiles at you just before he runs to wake the now two-year old from the nap you just put him down for. The rest of the afternoon, Rover on one side, baby hanging on to your strings, you vacuum, dust, do laundry, all the days activities, including those few and far between bathroom breaks when Rover whines and Jr wiggles his fingers under the door saying, “Mommie,  mommie,”

You’ve given up the evening movie and try to work in a bit of news but you aren’t sure whether the police caught the bad guy, the bad guy ran off with the nun, the corner store is having a once in a lifetime sale on police clothing or the nuns are collecting donations for the inmates. All you know is that all those people were somewhere, somehow, involved in that broadcast  but so was Rover and Jr. who both needed a drink of water, a cookie, potty, and had an argument between the two of them about who got the nine by seven piece of baby blanket that had not been shredded through play and use in the two years they both claimed ownership of it.

The years go on and as it always has the privacy you looked for once Rover and Jr were tucked into bed each night escaped you because like clock work the minute you wrapped your arms around each other upon your sliding into bed, you felt the slithering of a little body up through the blankets right between you and heard the whisper of, “I’m cold, can I sleep with you?” as your feet became a pillow for the faithful Rover claiming his spot on the bed. Jr got old enough to handle the night by himself but  Rover took a liking to your feet and never left your bed.

You and partner grew used to the foursome, forgot about privacy, and learned the joys of the togetherness as a family through thick and thin, sickness and health, vacation, school, work, until the word made a comeback during Jr’s “teenage years.” Now the whole world revolved around “privacy.” Can’t I have a little privacy? I’m on my phone, I’m getting dressed, we’re studying, why do you need to know where I’m going, they are just friends, gee what about a little privacy.” You hear it all and wonder where this word came from. It certainly wasn’t one that stirred any remembrance of such a thing. Why, even Rover, knew nothing of what this strange word was about and Rover knew Jr like he knew every hair on his tail, which by the way, had begun to wag rather slowly these days. Rover, still stayed by your side, night time, day time, bath time and yes still even at toilet time. It had gotten to the point you had to stay by his too, especially at toilet time. Privacy wasn’t an issue between the two of you and Partner who welcomed Rover in the middle every chance he got.

Jr had just had his eighteenth birthday and had asked to have a party  just for he and his friends. Would you and Dad let us just have some privacy to play music, dance and have a good time in the basement room and you guys not be in and out like you always were. “We aren’t doing anything, we just want privacy,” he said.  Saddened but understanding, you let him have it.  Even Rover was banned from the festivities, which he had always been a part of, usually getting more than his fair share of attention because of his cute antics that Jr had taught him to do so well over the years.   You and partner and Rover  retired to the couch upstairs to watch a movie and eat popcorn and occasionally listen for the sounds of the party downstairs. It seemed to be going well.

Now, it was two days later, Jr was in his room  on his telephone with a friend, Rover laid on his blanket underneath your chair at the table while you busied yourself preparing dinner. Partner would be home in about fifteen minutes. Dinner just had to be set on the table. This was a good time to take Rover out for his walk. You got your jacket and turned saying, “Come Rover, let’s go boy. Rover?”   Rover didn’t budge. You stood frozen for a moment then rushed to his side. Nothing, no breath, no breathing, nothing. You gathered him in your arms as you sat on the floor. You yelled for Jr. who, although coming to answer your call, responded with, “Geeze mom, can’t you leave a guy alone for a minute? I said I needed some ……his words trailed off into silence.  Partner walked in the back door and they both stopped suddenly, seeing you on floor with Rover in your arms. Partner helped you up. Jr took your other arm trying to help you lift Rover as you rose. Partner supported your shaking body to the couch and helped you sit, still with Rover in your arms.

“Mom, what can I do? How can I help? Mom?”

Partner, took Jr by the elbow, tears in both their eyes, and guided him out of the room. The room with the couch where you had sat with Rover in the middle, almost every night for the past twenty years.

As they left you heard Partner whisper softly, ” There is nothing we can do now Jr., except  give mom and Rover a little,  privacy.”

 

 

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There is that word staring at me from the top of the page again as if it is just daring me  to put something there. Title, hmmm, what should this one be? Why is it so boldly printed at the top? Why not at the bottom? Far to often I have no  idea what I’m going to write about until my fingers hit the keyboard. From there it seems as if they take on a life of their own, free of me, free of my inadequacies, free of my fears of rejection and humiliation. They type quickly as if racing against my mind to get ahead before I think of some reason not to put thoughts to paper. It’s been a long time again and the notion has been floating in the back of my mind nagging at me to do something.” Just sit down for a minute and it will come to you,” I hear in my head as I’m tending the garden trying to prop up the plants the deer only trampled over rather than eating, of course, only to get to those they obviously love better. The squash, the strawberries and the pumpkin plants all chewed right down to the last few leaves. Maybe, they have time to grow again. The squash still has one flower but hope for the strawberries is all but gone. Still, I fed the beautiful doe and her fawn very well. Why must they smoosh my gladioli and the lilies? Why knock over the frog in the fountain leaving him bottoms up and drowning? Is it because they know that all too soon big dog in the back yard will sound at their presence. She has never been out of that yard or after the deer, but that sound of hers would wake the dead. That is probably my answer right there. The little doe is smart and has connected big dogs boisterous beller to the lights in the kitchen and my presence at the front door. She knows all too soon I will be outside to see what the ears of big dog have heard in the early morning hours even before the birds have started their songs.  She and her fawn must move swiftly to get their breakfast even if it means the death of some of my favorite beauties. Now I’m faced with yet one more question. Which is it that I love more? The sight of the ever so beautiful doe and the amazement I feel in side every time I see her and her youngster along with the excitement of possibly seeing once more the  stout and stately buck that has forbidden me his company except for the one time  when I had emerged from the garage to see him grazing on the front lawn?  All at once our eyes met and we both  froze. He looked me over for a minute then turned and walked off into the woods as if disgusted that I had interrupted his breakfast. I still couldn’t believe that I, totally engrossed in the results of an early morning project, happened upon him standing so proudly not ten feet beyond me. Is it these beautiful wild animals, or, is it the gorgeous flowers  I took so much time to pick out and hours upon hours to plant in my strategically planned out garden plot, which for the first time was really beginning to resemble a true garden, that I love more?  Oh how on earth would one ever choose between the two?  The pleasure that each brings me cannot be measured. Each has its own convincing promise of the joy of future life and beauty around me.  Each moves gracefully  with the breeze across the threshold of my sight and leaves permanent picture embedded in my heart. To choose is impossible so, for now, I will keep my hopes of seeing the buck,  let the little fawn and her mother enjoy my harvest, and while some may be a bit trampled, there are still plenty of flowers blooming all around in my gardens.  I will finish my propping, get my morning coffee and go sit in my rocker on the porch to watch for whatever may come to enjoy my yard with me. Oh, yes, big dog is fed and is napping happily in the early morning sun beating down on her ever so full belly oblivious to anything and everything, for the moment any way.

Now, where was I?  It had something to do with a title. Oh yes, this is the point in my story when it usually comes to me and this one shall be, “In the Eye of the Beholder.”  YepDSCN6344 - Copy, I like that.

I’m A Foster Mom

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the fact in any of my writing here on my “Blog” that I am a foster Mom. Yes, a foster mom and so blessed. But this foster story is a little different. My fosters are dogs. At this point in my confession of this fact, people usually ask, “How can you do that?” “How can you take them in and then give them up again?” Then they add, “I just couldn’t do that.”

That’s what I thought at first too. In fact, our first attempt failed. By failed, I mean, we ended up adopting the first two little ones we took in. At three and five pounds they became “Pinch and Pebbles.” We adored them. We already had two dogs. Brussels Griffons, both of them, and so dear.  Rosie, we got at seven weeks, only to find out she was extremely ill. Another story there, but at least you know at this point ,she survived. The other one at two years old, having been born and raised in a puppy mill  then shipped to various rescues, never having had a home during those first two years. I fell in love with her at first sight and immediately set forth to make her ours. Okay, now we had four dogs. But, the need for help is so bad. There are so many homeless and abused dogs everywhere. I couldn’t ignore it. I set out to prepare my home to take more. Before I was ready, two more were brought to me by the rescue group I was working for. Babies, at least that’s what we thought. Two little Pits. However, it was discovered they were nine months old instead of the four we were told. They had been starved, abused, never been outside, bathed or anything else that one would do with their dog. They were fearful of everything. So the bonding began. Every day, each morning, I took them out on a leash and walked with them. Coaxing, encouraging, enticing them with treats. Then it was back inside to their playpen, which I crawled into with them and hand fed them from their bowls, petting and talking the whole time. The goal was to teach them, the food was there for them and wouldn’t be taken away. Also trying to avoid food aggression. By touching them, putting my hands in their bowls, being close, yet never removing the food from them they were learning it was safe to eat with others at hand. The training continued from there. Basic obedience commands, then socializing and lots more.

Since that time, I think we have taken in about twenty-five or so dogs. We’ve seen cases of filth and severe abuse. Dogs afraid to even look at us. Dogs we were unable to even touch. Each time, each case, it broke our hearts. But with time and patience, each one of these innocent little beings, eventually came around. Each of them learned, in their own time, love was real, love was good, and love has no conditions. Some started responding right away, with in just hours or days. Others, well, we had one for nine months before she was ready for adoption. Then, there was Rita, who had been so severely damaged physically, even after seeking out the help from the best specialists, we were unable to save. Yes, it’s hard. Some cases almost unbearable. However, mostly, you do as much as you can for them, they respond, and they move on to a “Forever” home with in two weeks to two months, usually the shorter of the two. You hug, you cry, you see them off. Then you remind yourself. You did what you could do. You helped them become adoptable. You brought them out of horrendous living conditions and sent them to loving,caring homes, forever. You know, you can’t keep them all yourself, but you can help them find that perfect someone who will love them forever. That is my reward in all this. I have made a difference. I have helped where once there was no hope.I have saved lives and I have held, comforting and caressing, whispering softly until the end.  I have taught love and companionship. I have gained much more than I have given.  I, have been blessed.

Just a few of my foster babies…..

006          022

Sweet Lucy  …Unwanted                     Tippy …Elderly owner couldn’t keep.

004 Snickers, rescued from a high kill shelter. His time was up. How he loved his morning rock and nap in my lap.

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Baily Boy, Angel, Kory Ann and Kipper. This litter was thrown out in the cold December weather at 8 weeks old and left to find their own way. They came to us afraid of everyone, hungry, un-trusting. Eventually they got better. Angel took a full nine months to rehabilitate and become adoptable. But they all did find homes with loving, caring families. These, all of these, were some of the lucky ones.

Just a Walk On The Beach

Ziva, Belgian Malinois 65 lbs and Lollie, Border Collie/Lab 85 lbs Both are two years old this month. Great dogs!

Ziva, Belgian Malinois 65 lbs and Lollie, Border Collie/Lab 85 lbs
         Both are two years old this month.   Great dogs!

I love to walk along the ocean beach

feel the spray upon my face

water droplets dancing on my skin

like Tinkerbell flittering all over the place

To view the blessings from the Lord

to breath in natures sea air

watch cotton-like billowing clouds

floating gracefully every where

The waves roll in sounding like

horses stampeding on an open plain

they arrive with such driving force

then gently retreat to the sea again

I used to come here alone

and quietly take my walks

and sometimes with the Lord

have some little talks

Today I came here with my dogs

to take them for a stroll

at least that’s what I thought I’d do

but the girls just want to go

As fast as they can

running wildly everyplace

I hang on tight to the leashes

fighting to keep up the pace

We rush along the seashore

darting quickly here and there

my walk is a run and my talk with God

has now become a prayer.

This Feeling Will Never Get Old !

Third Poem Published

Third Poem Published

I really am having a hard time believing this myself.  Do any of you remember my post, “I’ve been published?” Do you remember the circumstances? I had sent in a poem to the local Newspaper for consideration for possible publication. Well, I did it again. This is my third time to send in a poem for the “Poetry Corner” and it’s my third time to have mine published. Wow, what a great feeling. I am ecstatic!  What an inspiration for me to keep writing. I am still working on that first “novel” I mentioned a while back but haven’t had time to put too much into it lately. I’ve only gone as far as finishing Chapter three. How many chapters will it have? I don’t know yet. Where are my characters headed and how will it end? I’m still introducing characters into it and giving them some background. It’s all still in the planning stages. I do have an idea of where it’s going and how it will end but that could all change. I’ll just have to see how my ideas develop and where they take me.  I’ve never tried to write fiction before so this is really an undertaking for me. I have written poems. I started a children’s story but got side tracked  so it is sitting on a back burner. This novel, this I would like to do. It’s proving interesting as I attempt to bring new and interesting characters and situations into it. One point I discovered, introducing fact. I have already noted several places which I need to re-address and pay attention to actual real life facts on that particular subject.  I’m learning as I go. From here, I guess we will all have to just wait and see what happens and when, as I understand these things can take months, even years. I probably should continue putting my book of poems together too. They are all written, put in chapters according to subject, art work done, and most of the pictures included so not much left to do except publish.  I hadn’t planned on making this one public. It was more for my family than anything but I think I’ve decided to try to get it published. My husbands enthusiasm has much to do with that change of heart. Now all I have to do is figure out how one goes about getting a book published. I’m investigating the prospects……stay tuned.

The Odd Couple

This morning, I’m pulling from my files a short story written back in 2012, which I have included in my , unpublished as of yet book, “A Little Bit of Me.” It is a book, mostly written for my children, about my life. It includes poems, most of which tell a story, short stories, pictures, and some drawing and art work. I’m hoping, now to have the book published someday. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this short, but true, story about a cat and dog that were truly a blessing to our lives as they supplied endless hours of entertainment and love to us.

The Odd Couple

The Siamese cat and the Rottweiler dog don’t seem like a very probable pair.  Frankie, the cat, likened herself to a princes, extraordinary, noble and certain that mousing was beneath her. She appeared to think she ruled the house and we, including the dogs, were just her attendants. In her case, I believe this assumption, was mostly true.

Blossom was a one hundred and thirty pound dog engaging and delightful in disposition. Her immense, resplendent, brown eyes engulfed your senses and turned even the strongest of men into adoring, belly rubbing, playmates. Loving every one and every thing, this robust girl didn’t have an unkind bone in her body. Her only resolution in life was to please.

One early spring morning while sitting in my easy chair reading, Blossom at my side, I noticed Frankie saunter into the room. As usual, she held her head high, but for some reason appeared to be extra dignified that day.  She paraded, gingerly over to Blossom, rubbing gently from Blossom’s shoulder to her hip and back again, purring quite loudly. She repeated the action once more. Suddenly, I heard a very sassy meooow, then another and another as she looked at the dog with her intense, piercing, blue eyes. Blossom hadn’t been paying any attention, but now, she was sitting upright and taking notice, as was I. The cat sassed urgently and this time rubbed under Blossoms chin. With that, Frankie retreated slightly, meowed insistently, raised a paw with claws extended and slapped Blossom fiercely across the nose. She then meowed once more and rubbed Blossom’s chin. Blossom shook her head portraying a look of what seemed to be sheer amazement and I’ll be darned if she didn’t begin bathing Frankie right then and there. After a few minutes, Blossom hesitated slightly, as if contemplating her progress, and likely anticipating permission to cease. Instantly, here it came again. A meow so sassy you’d be taken aback to hear it. Without hesitation, Blossom returned to bathing the cat. Frankie was luxuriating immensely in the whole bathing process, only shifting positions occasionally, to allow Blossom the ability to wash every inch of her. This went on for nearly a half an hour until Frankie was visibly wet. Finally, she arose, sporting what appeared to be a satisfied smile, meowed softly and yes, even pleasantly, rubbed Blossoms chin and without further adieu, pranced away. From that day forward this became a daily ritual between the two of them. Frankie would approach Blossom, rub her gently, and Blossom would respond immediately to the cats wishes, without the sassing or the slap, of course. The two of them shared many other encounters and rituals during their time together. This is but one or their stories.

August, 2012The odd couple picture

Trust, Respect, Love and Total Obedience

Ziva, Belgian Malonois. Ziva is 1 year old.

Ziva,   Belgian Malinois.

I am left today with two ideas to express  my thoughts on, both of them tugging at my sleeve saying, “Choose me, choose me!” Both are dear to my heart, one being my husband and the other being my dog. Both are works in progress, however, I think my husband would like to share some of his own life experiences, so I’m going to choose my dog.

My husband says I choose my dog because of my title to this blog. He say’s,”After all, I’m not totally obedient.” (The title actually came about after writing this.)

My thoughts are not just of my dog today, as I am taking this opportunity to write about my feelings about Service Dogs and to give you some facts about them and their training, or lack of.

First, what is a service dog? It is a dog that is specifically trained to perform  a task for  its handler.

What is the difference between a service dog and a companion dog? A companion animal need not be able to perform a task. It is there solely to comfort it’s handler emotionally.

Are the two treated the same in respect to where you can and can’t take them. NO.  A service dog can accompany you anywhere, but a companion dog has some limitations. A companion dog is also sometimes used  as a therapy dog in nursing homes and hospitals and such.

My dog, Ziva, is a Belgium Malinois (pronounced Mal-in-waa).  This breed is known for police work and service dog work. It  very much resembles a German Shepherd in size and nature. They are intelligent and alert, appearing regal in their posture and expression. and thrive on attention. Some dogs live for toys. Some go crazy for treats and will do anything to get them. Ziva just wants love. That pat on her head, or to lay her chin on your lap makes her happy. She has huge, questioning, brown eyes, that just beg you to adore her. She couldn’t care less about the toys and treats are okay but your hand touching her is her ultimate pleasure. Ziva, is eighteen months old so really not much more than a puppy. In training though, we are far behind. I didn’t get her just for a pet. I had other motivations and had to have just the right dog to serve my needs. It only took me a minute to decide she was the one. Those eyes I think, yes, the eyes. She was mine the minute she looked at me. This dog, would be my Service Dog. She was three months old and pretty much a rescue. The people didn’t want her any more. After bringing her home I figured out why. We spent the first three weeks battling diarrhea. She was not well. I was worried. We finally won that battle, got her on the road to wellness and haven’t had one problem since.

As far as confirmation, Ziva fits the standard to a T except for her ears. The ears should be upright, stiff, and pointy. Hers,are flopping over in the middle..So winning any conformation contests would be out of the question but not to worry, as that isn’t why I got her.

The alertness, the desire to please, the devotion and the stamina of the Belgian Malinois makes it an excellent choice for a service animal.

Why do I want, no,  actually, why do I need a service dog? Most people, even those who know me well, don’t know that I suffer with panic disorder. Along with that, I have in the last several years become asthmatic. The two problems together can be most overwhelming. Asthma is one of the disabilities that is considered a disability warranting a service dog. There is a list of disabilities on the net that are for service dogs and another for companion dogs. This can be found on the ADA  (Americans with Disabilities) website.

What do you know about service dogs. Are you considering the possibility of getting one? Or, have you considered just getting a vest so you can take your dog (your pet) into stores and places you frequent? Please give that question a second thought. If you NEED a service dog, by all means, get yours trained to be one, or get a trained service dog. Legally, the dog does not require any special training or certifications but, it is just good sense and doesn’t take a lot of effort to realize that it is much safer to take a well trained animal into a public situation than it is to take an untrained one.  How much training ? First of all, it is required that your service dog is able to perform a task that is specifically to help you in your everyday needs. That being said,   I must ask you, can you absolutely swear to the fact that your dog will do a down stay, and not break no matter what happens, or who goes by? Can you give your dog a command and know that it will do as you asked no matter what else is going on? Does your dog stay focused on you at all times? Is your dog trustworthy around children and other dogs? These are the questions one must ask themselves before taking their dog out in a public place, service dog or not.

More questions? Does your dog need a certificate of training for service dog work?  NO. The dog is not required to have a certificate in the state of WA.  However, if you cannot answer yes to all the questions in the above paragraph, you should not be taking them out in public.Is a Service dog allowed on airplanes?  Yes. But give the airlines a courtesy call before your flight and explain the situation. Usually they have special seating arranged for those with service animals. Can you take your service dog shopping? Yes, but he must not approach other shoppers at any time. How about restaurants ? Yes, but he must be clean and well-mannered. He must not try to mingle with the other guests at any time. In short your service dog can go with you any where you need to go. A proprietor may ask what task the dog performs but cannot ask what your disability is.

In my opinion,  the absolute best thing to do for yourself and your dog, if he is to be used as a service dog  is,  get the vest, get your dog used to it, and  train your dog in obedience. Then have him trained as a service dog and in doing a job for you. Take him to the Good Canine Class in your area. Get whatever training and verification of training you can get on your dog. Next is to get a letter from your Doctor stating  your need for a service dog.  Finally, know, without a doubt,  that you can trust your dog, in any given circumstance, to obey your commands.

It is also a good policy is to carry a copy of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 with you at all times. (A card you can get offline, or print yourself after looking it up.)

So, if you truly need a service dog, GO for it, but if you are one of those people just looking for a way to get your dog into places by passing them off as service dogs,  again,  please re-think. People are doing this with untrained, unpredictable animals and it is making it difficult for those who need their dogs.It is giving service animals a bad name.  I myself, need my dog. She has her vest, tag,  a copy of the ADA statement and a letter from my Doctor.  I will not, however, take her out as my service dog yet, as she has not had the proper training. I cannot trust her to do all the things I have mentioned in this article. What if she inadvertently bit some one or broke away in a strange area. I don’t think it would happen but I can’t say positively that it won’t. I could be sued for anything and everything I have and more and they would probably win their case, even if they had instigated the confrontation.  Or I could lose my dog and never get her back. So, Ziva will continue her training for as long as it takes. I am training her here at home and will then place her in appropriate classes to get certificates and we will do the Good Canine Citizen Class. When I know I can trust her to follow commands effortlessly and without fail, when I know she will not break, when I know she will respond to my needs, she will then be my “Service Dog.”

If you are thinking of having a service dog, please look up more information on the internet. Please insure that you are well informed on all aspects of owning a service dog.  Make sure you are ready for the responsibility that goes with having a dog that is subjected to public confrontation. Make sure you have a dog that actually thrives in performing this job and make sure you have invested the time into your dog to insure that you and it have an unbreakable bond of trust, respect, and love. When you have established this kind of relationship with your dog, together, you will not fail you.

More information can be found under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Or call the Ada at 1-800-514-0301. The ADA is an agency of the US Department of Justice,Civil Rights Division.

Foot note: I advocate obedience training for all dogs, even if they are pets and will always remain pets. Once you have done it, you will understand.