A State Farm Sponsored Service Dog Tells All
Tavi the service dog bares all in a no holds barked interview.
Folks, we've asked you what kinds of things you wanted to hear about and the results have been resoundingly clear. You want more interviews and stories about adorable puppies. Well, in a real peanut-butter-in-our-chocolate moment of inspiration, it came to us: what about an INTERVIEW WITH AN ADORABLE PUPPY???
You may recognize the name of the furry focus of today’s interview, as he’s been the focus of several of our stories. Tavi is a 1-year-old Canine Companions for Independence puppy. State Farm® sponsors the nonprofit organization that provides professionally trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities at no charge. Tavi, which means “good” in Hebrew, was kind enough to sit down with us recently to catch up on what’s been going on, what it’s been like being raised in a foster family and what he thinks about going to service dog school.
Q: You recently turned 1…or is it 7? We forget how dog-years work. Anyway, how did you celebrate?
A: My hooman parents bought me a puppy birthday cake – peanut butter flavor, so yummy!! My State Farm sponsor family had this big celebration at CityLine campus with cookies and cupcakes (they should have been pupcakes) for all the friendly faces who have been supporting me. I also showed off my sit, down, visit and other commands I have learned!
Q: Sounds like quite the party! Who taught you those commands and why?
A: My Birds taught me, and I know what you’re thinking, dogs are supposed to chase birds, but these Birds are different. My Birds are hooman and have a bunch of classes they attend to make sure I’m ready to go on to service dog training in February. They’ve got to teach me about 30 different commands, which I guess is a lot, but I don’t really understand numbers too well, so who knows? One of the biggest things I’m getting out of my training is learning more self-control, which can be ruff.
Q: Talk about your future plans. What’s next for you?
A: Well, once or twice a month, we go to this puppy class where I get to see other dogs like me and we do more structured practice. It’s kind of a big deal, because it’s supposed to get me ready for service dog school. That’s where me and the other dogs learn to help people who can’t do things for themselves. I’m excited to go, even though I’m going to miss my Birds. I’ll still get to visit them, though, which is great!
Q: Thanks for sitting down with us, Tavi. Anything else you’d like people to know?
A: Just that I’m thankful to the Birds, Canine Companions and State Farm for giving dogs like me the chance to help people who need it. It’s a really great deal, and I’m proud as a puppy to be a part of it. Oh, and also that you don’t always need to ask us dogs “Who’s a good boy??” We know it’s us!
Ask Before You Pet
Brooklyn Mobley is State Farm employee in Dallas who’s legally blind and is accompanied to work by her service dog, Liam. The two shared some handy tips on how folks should interact with service dogs and their owners.
- Ask the handler/owner if you can pet the dog. Don’t be offended when you hear “NO” because the dog is working.
- Speak to the handler/owner and not the dog. You would be surprised at how many people talk to the dog first!
- If you ask the handler/owner if they need assistance and they decline, trust that they don’t need help.
- Respect the handler/owners’ time. When they are at work, they can’t stop to answer frequent questions about their dog.
- Service dogs are often on a strict diet. Don’t give them treats or try to feed them without permission from the handler/owner.