>Can They Train A Dog To Help People With Conscience Damage?

>This just makes me angry. I saw this a couple of days ago, but I was either running out the door or too tired to try and post about it.

This whole thing started when a Hamilton woman wanted to find a trainer to train her family dog to perform some kind of tasks for her son who was severely brain-damaged. She found Jacqueline Wilson, who turned out to be a con-artist. Wilson said she had 20 years of training experience, which she didn’t. She took $6000 from the family, and helped them raise $9000 more from the community. Then she took their dog to train it, and didn’t give it back at the specified time. They had to track the dog down with the help of the police. The poor thing not only hadn’t been trained, but it hadn’t been properly taken care of either.

Now, the woman filed a complaint, and it ended up going to provincial offenses Court. Wilson didn’t bother to come to that hearing, but was convicted anyway, and sentenced to 15 days in jail, 24 months probation and $10000 restitution. The police tracked her down 12 days later, and threw her in the big house.

How low could she possibly go? Not only did she screw over a family who was obviously in need, and exploit a generous community, but she neglected their dog too. That poor beast. Who knows if it had become aggressive because of the neglect.

And why the hell isn’t she required to pay back the whole $15000? She took 6 grand from the family and 9 grand from the community. She should be required to pay back every red cent.

I feel for the family. They were likely looking for hope, and she seized the opportunity and took them for all they had. I mean, who knows if their family pooch *could* be trained to perform tasks and be socialized to the public. How old was the dog? What kind of temperament did it have? Was it already exposed to a lot of stimuli so that going everywhere would not be a problem? I think of that disservice dog I met last year, and wonder if it was a family pet that the person had trained, and *thought* it was ready to go out in public and function as it should. People think that any dog can be trained to do anything. They don’t know how many dogs at school get career changed. They just hear about lots of dogs with jobs and think they all can do it. And that’s probably what this family thought. If Wilson was a decent trainer, she should have warned them that this dog may not be able to do what they want, and taken the dog’s age into account and all that stuff. But we already know Wilson was not a good trainer.

And please don’t think I’m blaming the family with my next little passage, but how much research did they do into this trainer? Did they find other clients? What had she managed to train their dogs to do? If you’re going to place your dog in the hands of someone who is going to do a pretty sophisticated task, and pay them a significant amount of dough, make sure they’re up to the challenge.

Also, what did the family know about service animals? What did they know about what they’re required to do, what behaviours were unacceptable? How did they want the dog to help their son? Is what they wanted even in the realm of possibilities? So many people go into getting a guide dog or any assistance dog with rose-coloured glasses on. They feel the possibilities are infinite. There’s a lot of possibilities, but it’s all about the team. The person, the dog, the environment. If one of those is off, it’s not gonna work.

I’m not saying this to necessarily criticize the family. I feel for them. But I’m saying this to open other people’s eyes so that maybe, scumbags like Jacqueline Wilson can’t take them for all they’re worth too.

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