You think what you see is what you're going to get.
Back in 2011 I sat among friends at a conference for D.A.D handlers and on-lookers. As the lunch hour began to clear out, one woman in particular had my interest. Her son is just a bit older than mine, and they were finally hanging out. I picked her brain on what it meant to have a DAD, since they had theirs over a year and we were just "observers" that weekend.
This clever mom mentioned something very REAL and enlightening. She had been asked to speak to a group of women about her son's DAD, and said (in paraphrase), "I spoke about the romanticism of it. How it looks versus how it is...." How real is that? I appreciated the insight and rest of her perspective. What I thought I knew of her, and saw of their DAD experience was forever changed.
If you've been following my blog, you know I operated a successful "cake-poppery" for over a year. I made cartoon, event themed, delicious home-made creations and flavors that...well, would blow your mind. It was a lot of fun. Always busy, always delivering on EVERY order. The FOOD NETWORK producers invited us to audition for "Cupcake Wars."
Many friends saw what I was doing, got inspired and bought the kit to "DIY" for their own events. One by one, I'd receive a "should have just ordered from you", message.
I never knew what I was capable of until it got going and I got inspired. My fee was less than if anyone were to buy all the stuff and try it themselves. And it always turned out better than any of us could have imagined. So I opened up to orders and saw myself as providing a unique service...Until one day I couldn't.
I lost my baker for the afternoon, and I couldn't follow through on an over-night order. I lost many hundreds of dollars and my reputation to that client. It was awful & I cried like a baby. Up until that order, we had a fine-tuned system and "never said no." It was a confident place. Then it was over. Too much $$$$ to get a shop, or a truck...It would have to become "my everything" in order to keep going. And I just couldn't, after a series of health issues and diagnosis to add to the year.
That was that. I had to be mom.
My dear mommy-friend has a handful of babies like I do. And let me assure you. It wrecks the bod to deliver. Natural, c-section, it just doesn't matter! Things hang, deflate, or grow that were...never meant to? Or were they? Well no matter, we have a solution for all that delivery mess and it's called PLASTIC SURGERY.
This friend had been given the "green light" to get whatever needed fixin', a good fixin'.
Her potential surgeon gave her access to pictures of before and after (tummy, breasts, you name it) of clients who had her similar body type and situations she was looking to operate on.
She was not impressed. We had a long talk about it. Be comfortable with what you have? Or slice it up, maintain it (yes, some surgeries require maintenance care) and "get your groove back?"
This friend already has her groove. She lights up a room, her laughter is contagious, and she is gorgeous as is. (I'm not saying this to flatter her, it's just the darn truth). When I met her over a decade ago, I hated her 5mo belly bump coz it compared to my 8 week bump. She is just blessed like that, and I am not.
Those thirty-40 somethings know what happened to Tara Reid and Kathy Griffin, right? But we are flooded with images like this instead:
We think we what we see is what we will get.
How on EARTH does this connect to diabetic alert dogs, you say? Well... This industry is meant to be ran like a business. You pay, you receive. But think of how personal each team is to the organization providing the service, and/or you!
You get a picture of a puppy and you're HOOKED. DONE. "This is our D.A.D!" Videos, pictures, and testimonials pop up all over FB.
It's beautiful and we all want to "Like", follow or share in your joy. Some of us, "Want that too."
Who wouldn't? A furry, affectionate canine companion for my diabetic child? COUNT ME IN.
"But where do I start? How do I GET A DOG? Do I hire someone to do it? Can I do it myself? What does it cost? Where did THEY get THEIRS. That looks good."
The problem with this industry being so personal is just that. It's personal. So if one person had a bad experience (like my poor client who got late pops) they will want to TAKE THAT ORG DOWN.
But no two people or experiences can possibly repeat! So is that really fair? Oh, but Warren Retrievers... (we get a free pass to complain about his org publicly, if not already clients) Have you noticed that? He is finally under Federal Investigation. I know more people online than in person who have been wronged by this man. I also know two local handlers that are more than pleased by their dogs from him. So much to say, he has been in prison before, he may be there again. He keeps producing dogs and families keep flocking.
IF HE CAN STAY IN BUSINESS, ANYONE CAN.
I receive correspondence from people wanting to leave their current organization. They heard through the grape vine how I left our first organization successfully. So we consult.
I do not bother sharing anything negative or even mentioning my first company. I gleaned a WORLD of perspective from that experience and wouldn't take it back. So I share that perspective.
What you see is not what you are going to get. Most likely, you are the parent of a Type 1 diabetic and you never knew this dog/DAD thing existed until you were exposed to it.
Now your world and the dog world are going to collide. It can be awesome, it can be messy. It can be painstaking for either party.
I also receive correspondence from organizations wondering how to get rid of their clients. I'm not joking. We, (yes, I'm including myself), can be pain-in-the butts! We have a foot in everything, we follow and inquire everywhere... it's A LOT OF MONEY, TIME, COMMITMENT, etc. Why wouldn't we be "all up in it?"
Where's the research? Where are the "this organization sucks, don't talk to them", reviews? They are few are far between. And maybe worth a glance but not an investment.
You have to find the right fit for you. That's agreeable on both sides. Do you want a business experience or a personal experience? Do you want to get a "started pup", pay, walk out and follow up at home? OR do you want consistent follow up care AT HOME. From the start? Do you want a mature dog that is "finished" and you have the follow-up care to now learn?
Are you interested and ready to attend conferences, travel by plane, and spend much more out of pocket cash? Can you include/afford vet care if you decide to self-train? Don't forget PET INSURANCE! We all need that!
Do you know your resources and have help lined up?
Stop getting warped by "this is my adorable dog" and think about the reality. There is no romance in adding another life to your family unit. Especially while one is disabled and maintaining their health on an hourly basis.
Know you're doing it the right way, YOUR WAY. Then you know what you're getting!