Meet Raimundo (Aka ‘Mundo). He is one of our member’s autism assistance and tracking service dog.
Raimundo is an 18 month old golden lab. He was trained at 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia, OH. He is task trained in behavior disruption, tethering (to prevent wandering) and tracking (to locate our member if he elopes/wanders).
We recently completed a 12 day handler training class with Raimundo so we could learn to be his handler in public. We had to pass a public access test at the end of our training before we were able to bring Raimundo home to work as a service dog. We work as a team – the child, Raimundo and handler.
Because you will be seeing our member and Raimundo in the worship, we wanted to provide answers to some of the most common questions related to service dogs.
1. What is that thing on his nose? The strap you see on Raimundo’s nose is called a gentle leader. It is not a muzzle and doesn’t hurt him. He can eat and drink with it on. It’s a tool to help guide him while we’re out in public.
2. Does he wear a special vest? Under federal law service dogs are not required to wear any special vest or harness. Raimundo, however, will wear a harness (in photo) or a vest when out in public.
3. Can I pet him? The best practice is to never touch or pet a person’s service dog while it is working without permission. You may ask to pet Raimundo if you see us. Although we may have to answer on behalf of the child, please direct the request to the kid, as it is his dog. We also ask that you allow us an opportunity to put Raimundo in a sit or down command before you touch him. Please know there may be times that is either not appropriate or in the child’s or Raimundo’s best interest to allow a stranger to pet him. Please do not take this personally.
4. Can I feed him? No, thank you. Raimundo does not eat any people food. Also, to preserve the bond between the service dog and the child/handler, only the child and/or Raimundo’s adult handlers (currently, mom and dad) may offer him treats.