This image has nothing to do with assistance dogs – it’s just a fantastic Texas A&M logo with official mascot Reveille, the First Lady of Aggieland and highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets.
I’m back – well, at least a little, anyway.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve had anything to say here – six months – and I wanted to catch up a little bit, let you know I’m still here and what’s on my mind these days.
On a personal level, I’m still deeply ensconced, i.e., up to my eyeballs, in the graduate level Certificate in Nonprofit Management program at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. A tremendous program at a tremendous university that I have more of an appreciation for and am more proud to be a part of every day. I’m just finishing up Grant and Project Management in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors and will be starting Foundations of the Nonprofit Sector in a few weeks.
As for the assistance dog world, some recent conversations have reminded me just how important it is to me, how much I still care about it, and how important it is for me to continue to talk about and try to influence it. Which is why I’m back here with this latest podcast.
I talk about some recurring themes, things that just keep coming back to me as key areas in the assistance dog community, the core things that really count and we need to concentrate on. While I talk about them in this order and I try to separate them that way, there’s really a lotta overlap among them, and I could’ve just as well started off with Assistance Dogs International first.
- Efficient use of resources. What will be best for the greatest number of constituents in the long run?
- Clarity and focus. You gotta know who you are, what you do, and who you serve. Versus confusion and trying to be everything to everybody.
- Transparency. The standard has to be “We’re gonna talk about it unless we can’t.” as opposed to “We’re not gonna talk about it unless we have to.”
- Visibility. Can I quickly and easily find who you are and regularly hear what you think, directly from your CEO?
- Overzealousness. We need to be very responsible and careful in what we say, particularly in one area – post-traumatic stress and veterans.
- Reasonable expectations on dogs and matches. Service dogs are not magic. Goes hand-in-hand with the previous point.
- State laws. It’s long past time to start evaluating the effectiveness of the existing state service dog laws. Are they working or not? And, if so, how well? Do we know?
- Assistance Dogs International. A great place that needs to ramp up, be more visible and effective, and focus on some specific areas.