Danica Dutt was excited to take her 11-year-old brother, Kai, to a trampoline park on the evening of Wednesday, January 2, 2019. But the fun was stopped short when staff members at the Langley, B.C., location of Extreme Air Park refused to allow Kai’s autism service dog to enter the facility.
“We were approached by one of the staff members,” recalled Danica, “and the staff member told me that the dog was not permitted, and I said, ‘Okay. She’s not going to be jumping. She’ll be in the waiting area.’ They said no, that management said that wasn’t allowed.”
Kai sometimes suffers from meltdowns and outbursts, so he requires the aid of a service dog named Rosie to keep him calm and help him deal with situations he finds stressful.
Danica and Kai’s mother came to pick up Rosie at the park and took her home. While at the park, she filmed a short encounter with a staff member and received another unsatisfactory explanation of why Rosie wasn’t allowed in the park.
“I’ve talked to both our managers and the owner,” said the staff member. “We just don’t allow it, just in case somebody has an allergy.”
Danica and Kai continued to play at the park while their mother returned home with Rosie in tow. Luckily, all went well, and Rosie wasn’t needed. But Danica feels the way they were treated was still unfair.
“I felt like Kai’s disability wasn’t valid,” she said.
She was also unhappy with the way the staff member approached the situation, specifically refusing to allow Danica to speak to a manager.
Danica had Rosie’s paperwork with her that day and presented it, but staff still refused to see her point of view. According to an email sent by Extreme Air, it seems there was a misunderstanding regarding which areas of the park Rosie should be allowed in.
“The incident arose from a dialogue about the dog going onto the trampoline area,” claimed Extreme Air in the email. “Service dogs are welcome, and we do our best to address and accommodate all our customers’ needs, including those requiring special care.”
Luckily, William Thornton, CEO of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, is on the case. “We work on these situations, so we will be speaking to the company involved, in fact we have spoken to them, and we will follow up, and we will see that they make improvements so this doesn’t occur again.”
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Daisy has now been back at the shelter for 100 days, and during that time, not a single person has expressed any interest in her. As a puppy, Daisy barely had to wait for a family at all, but because senior dogs are often harder to adopt out, poor Daisy is stuck waiting, not understanding why she is back at the shelter after having had a family for so long.
“Many people prefer to rehome puppies and younger dogs, so that they can have them for their whole lives,” Steve Craddock, center manager at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, said in a press release. “But people often forget how much time, training and exercise younger dogs need. Older dogs are often much more relaxed than younger dogs, and in a lot of cases they would rather just have a cuddle on the sofa and some human affection than be running around chasing tennis balls all day.”
Despite her age, Daisy still has a ton of energy, and seems to think she’s still the year-old puppy she was when she first arrived at the shelter eight years ago. She has so much love to give, and is willing to give it to anyone who wants it.
“While Daisy is in the twilight years of her life, she still acts like a big baby,” Craddock said. “She loves to bounce around and play with her favorite people, curl up for cuddles and is always most comfortable carrying around one of her soft toys.”
Daisy has had to adjust to a lot of change since leaving the only family she’s ever known and arriving back at the shelter. In order to help her cope, she can often be seen carrying a toy around with her to make her feel safe and a little more secure.
Daisy was the perfect family pet for eight long years, and now, she just wants a chance to show another family what a wonderful dog she is.
“Older dogs have a lifetime of love to give and will cherish every moment spent with their favorite people,” Craddock said.