Monday, April 23, 2018

Lola and Wallace

Wallace and I were invited to Barry and Andy's last night for dinner. We had originally planned to have them over here, but Dick wasn't feeling well all weekend.

Lola was a very gracious hostess! She played with Wallace and even let him play with some of her toys!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Day with Tammy

A movie in an empty theater, a lovely lunch, shopping for Wee Forest Folks for my Mom, and Pho for dinner! It was a great, leisurely day!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Snow!!

Woke up (after 9-1/2 hours of glorious sleep!) to a Winter Wonderland in mid-April!! ❄️⛄️






Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fun with Tammy!!

I had a 9:00am flight (after two hours of sleep) to Chicago. I'm here for two days to visit Tammy. She picked me up, and we headed out to brunch. Super yummy!

It's very cold, a little wet and has been snow flurries all day (but not sticking). Very pretty. We spent the rest of the day hanging at her home, watching WGI shows and catching up. Perfect down day with a great friend.

Headquarters 2

Late Night Fun at WGI Headquarters

Saturday, April 14, 2018

WGI Finals Night

Continuing our tradition of an early dinner at Bravo before watching WGI Finals together. What a wonderful and special group of friends we have. I love spending this time with them every year.

Sal

This is probably the only person that I would so enthusiastically agree to meet for breakfast at 7:00am on WGI weekend (after having only gone to sleep the night before at 3:30). Sal is one of my life mentors, my soul-sister, my dear friend. Thank you for seeing a small light in me so many years ago and for giving me the self confidence to shine. I love you. xo


(Now it's time for a disco nap before going to finals later on today!)




WGI Semi Finals

I was too tired to post last night. Didn't get to bed until 3:30 or so. I had an amazing first day at WGI, even though I have surprisingly few photos to show for it!

Friday, April 13, 2018

WGI, here I come!!!

Good morning!! I'm up crazy early for a 5:00am flight to Dayton, OH (via Denver) for WGI!

I arrived to the airport around 3:30, before the airlines open the check in counters. Pro tip, TSA doesn't open until 4:00am. No need to come much earlier.

I'm on a fairly empty plane. So far, I have the Exit Row to myself!!! Hoping it stays that way. That would be nice!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Follow up from the SF SPCA

I wrote a letter today to the SF SPCA Dog Training Department, and just received a response. I'm actually okay with their response, and feel like I have voiced my frustration and concern. I think it was a fairly thoughtfully written email and that the right actions were made in response. I'll find another class for Wallace to take - they have a Freestyle Heelwork which looks like a lot of fun, and they instructor has actually met Wallace before (on one of our neighborhood walks) and he has asked us to join his class. The schedule of the class has not worked with my schedule yet, so we haven't been able to take it yet, but I'd like to. We also will probably do the Canine Good Citizen Prep Class which would probably be a good fit for us, too.

here's the email that I received:

----

Hi Trina,

Thank you for your email, and I’m so sorry you had a negative experience at class on Tuesday. We have of course processed a full refund to your credit card for this class, and hope that you and Wallace will continue to join us for other classes at the SF SPCA in the future. It’s true that our wording on our website doesn’t specifically recommend against tripods joining class, and I will be remedying that today, because it is indeed a serious safety concern. Our instructors are contractors, and ultimately they have complete discretion over which dogs they allow to remain in class. If they feel like a dog’s well-being is at risk, they may ask a client and dog to withdraw, such as in this case, and we’ll provide a refund. Because this class involves so much balance, climbing, jumping, etc, and because MANY competitive agility dogs (with four legs) have suffered terrible injuries doing agility (including our own instructors dogs), it is actually considered a fairly high-risk class. I think Stacey was just wanting to make sure that there was not going to be any chance of Wallace injuring one of his other three legs. I’m really sorry if her delivery of this information was less than compassionate, I do apologize for that. You were not specifically targeted or discriminated against in any way, it was simply a safety concern, and would have happened to any other three-legged dog who showed up to class – amazingly, you’re the first one we’ve had in all the years I’ve been working here!
Again, we’ve refunded your money, and please let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you. Thank you for your support of the SF SPCA training program and SPCA in general, and I hope we will see you in some other classes again soon.

Ariel

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Also, they did update the description of the course on their website:

My letter to the SPCA

Here's the email that I just sent off to the SPCA regarding Wallace not being allowed to participate in the Intro to Agility Class:

Hello,

I had signed my dog, Wallace, up for an Intro to Agility Class through the SF SPCA a couple of months ago. Wallace is a very active, energetic, young, well behaved and agile dog. He is also a tripod, missing his left hind leg. I was very excited to take him to this class as I thought it would be mentally challenging, and I also thought that he was physically more than capable to participate and learn.

The first session was yesterday at 10:15 am. Our instructor was Stacey.

As soon as we arrived to the class, Stacey took one look at Wallace, pulled me aside, and told me that he would be unable to participate in the course. She first asked me in a fairly condescending way if I understood what an agility class was. I did, in fact, understand, and I thought it could be something that my little tri-pod dog could actually excel at.  She essentially told me that the course would be too dangerous for him, that there were jumps involved, shifting of weight, etc, 

Now, while I appreciate her concern for Wallace’s safety, I would never put Wallace through something that would compromise his safety or health. (although, I also recognize that any time I take him out, whether it be to a dog park, Fort Funston, or even a walk, there’s always the possibility of injury to any dog, whether they have all four legs or not.) Wallace is very active and agile. He runs very fast (much to the amazement of most people who see him at a dog park, Crissy Field, etc.,) and leaps, jumps, and plays with no problems at all. He is around 2-1/2 to 3 years old.

I’m attaching the web site description of the Intro to Agility Class. No where on it does it say that the participant must not have any physical disabilities. I made certain that Wallace met all of the prerequisites. He has graduated from two of your training classes: Just the Small Basics, and Just the Basics, Two. Wallace is a very well behaved dog and he loves the mental stimulation of taking classes at the SPCA.

I’m mainly writing because I am very disappointed in how this situation was handled. Frankly, I feel like we/Wallace were discriminated against, and were not given the opportunity to show his abilities. I think there are many ways that this could have be dealt with. Ideally, I think she should have told me her concerns, had me sign the waiver (which I would sign) and let Wallace participate. If there were some specific components that she had particular concerns about with him, I would hope that she could have either modified them a bit, or simply ask us to not partake in those specific ones. I really would have hoped that she would have at least observed Wallace for a session to see what his abilities and level of comfort were. Instead, we were told as soon as we walked in that he would not be able to attend. To be fair, she did invite us to participate in the first session (while being very clear that it would be the only one that we would partake in), which I think Wallace did very well in. She did not let him participate in one component where he would be on an unstable board, which, while I think he would have been absolutely fine with, I was agreeable to not have him do it.

I’ve even talked with a friend whose dog competes in Agility. She was very upset and didn’t understand why Wallace wouldn’t be given the opportunity to at least try. Given all that she has seen of Wallace, she thought it would be something he would excel at.

I’m wondering if this is a general policy at the SF SPCA for all of your Agility classes, or if it was that of this specific instructor? If this is policy,  I definitely think you need to re-write your course description stating that the class requirements does not allow dogs with any kind of disability. IF there are other Agility instructors at the SF SPCA who would welcome Wallace into their class, please let me know. I still think that he would enjoy and excel in a class like this.

I still intend to sign Wallace up for other classes at the SF SPCA, even though I’m very disappointed on how this situation was handled. I believe in your organization and think that you offer wonderful classes and opportunities for dogs and cats.

My husband and I are huge supporters of the SF SPCA. We have adopted three cats, and our dog, Wallace from your shelter over the last 16 years. We adopted Wallace nearly two years ago, and the whole experience with the SF SPCA has been fantastic. Wallace and I try to go back to the Mission Campus to visit the staff and volunteers who helped him adjust after his amputation and before his adoption. There are a few staff members, most notably Dirk and Christine who we have maintained a very lovely relationship with. They were very involved with Wallace’s recovery experience while he was at the SPCA, and know personality and disposition very well.

Lastly, I am writing to request a refund for the $175 fee that I paid to take the Intro to Agility Class. This was something that the instructor, Stacey, did offer. Please let me know how best to proceed.

I would love to have a conversation with someone on your staff about how this was handled, and any suggestions on how we should move forward. Please contact me here by email: trina@trinachow.com. I’d be happy to bring Wallace in for an assessment, or just for a meet and greet. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Trina Chow





Wednesday, April 11, 2018

No Agility Class for Wallace

I had a bit of a disappointing experience this morning: I had signed Wallace up a two months ago for an Intro to Agility Class. Today was the first of 6 sessions. When we arrived, the instructor pulled us aside and asked me if I understood what an Agility Class entails. I do, of course, and thought it would be something Wallace would enjoy and would be good at. I  thought maybe for high jumps, or things that may not work great for him, that they could modify it, or have us just sit out of a few things. Anyhow, we were told that because of Wallace's  3-leggedness, he could not be in the class, but they did let us stay and participate in the first session. (Wallace did great!) It's the first time that we've been told that he couldn't do something because of my amputation. I think that was a little bit of a shock to hear, and I felt bad. 

I'll find another class for us to take, because Wallace really loves the stimulation of learning new things.


I'll have to request a refund for this class, and will insist that they change the description and requirements of this class to explain that dog's with any disabilities (amputation, deaf, or blend) are not allowed in. I get it, by the way, for liability issues, etc. I would never want Wallace to be in an activity that may pose any danger of injury. But still, it's disappointing.


If you've seen Wallace run around, you know that he's very agile and very fast. He's also pretty young and energetic, so we were really hoping this class would be a good fit for him. Too bad






Sent from my iPhone- please ignore any inadvertent  autocorrect typos. :)

Monday, April 09, 2018

Happy Homecoming #2

Wallace hasn't stopped smiling since we picked him up from his Auntie Jackie's two hours ago. He's so happy happy to be back home with his kitty and his people.

Jackie gave him a bath, blow dry and a good brushing this afternoon before we picked him up. He looks extra fluffy and handsome!

Happy Homecoming #1

Happy Kitty! 😻

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Sunday Roast

Our last night in London and we finished our trip with a Sunday Roast from our neighborhood pub. I will go home happy and full.

Rainy Day in London

Our last day in London was a little rainy, but that didn't stop us from having a great time walking and exploring familiar and new places. We even went to a new part of town (to us) to find some Indian Chaat and Pani Puri!!