Sunday, September 16, 2012

When Did You Last See the Bitch Who Whelped You?

Maeve and I went to Loco Meadowsin Selinsgrove PA to see Maeve's canine and human moms. Maeve's canine mom had just had a new litter of pups and was too irritable about other dogs being near her babies for Maeve to visit (this could be the origin of the word bitchy), but Maeve's human mom, Connie Hackenberg, was thrilled to see her. 

Maeve showed off for Connie all day long. She started by exhibiting her Frisbee and jumping skills. Next we went out to breakfast and Connie got to see how so many people smile at Maeve as she waltzes through the parking lot and into a restaurant. As we were seated Maeve scooted into her place under the table and began her prize-winning impression of a stuffed animal. On the way out of the restaurant Maeve switched into her public interaction role and facilitated a conversation with strangers about service dogs and emotional support animals. She performed variations on these themes as we did errands around town. 

This was Connie's first experience out in public with a working service dog, but she is no
stranger to the idea. Four of her poodles have gone into the profession (psychiatric, wheelchair, and seizure dogs), and at least three of them are owner trained. Connie isn't breeding for service dog potential; she's a small scale breeder of champion poodles. She does, however, breed for excellent temperament as well as for supermodel looks.** A dog without the right temperament can't be made into a good service dog even by the best trainer. A poodle like Maeve, with the right temperament and intelligence, is so well-suited to service dog work that even I, a cat person with no dog training experience, could train my own service dog.

In addition to standard poodles, Connie breeds golden retrievers, Arabian horses, miniature horses and miniature fainting goats (so cute!). For more information or to contact her see the Loco Meadows website.

*Although I love to joke about going to Loco Meadows to get my psychiatric service poodle, the name has nothing to do with mental health. It's a combination of Connie's first name and of her husband Lonnie's first name.  

**To give you an idea of how beautiful Connie's dogs are, I was able to buy Maeve because she wasn't up to their breeding standards (pun intended). She would have needed a nose job to make the grade at Loco Meadows.

Joanne Shortell, Maeve's Service Human
call us using "call Maeve and Joanne" at

Joanne Shortell, Maeve's Service Human We would LOVE to speak to your group free of charge

Joanne and Maeve (her psychiatric service poodle) help people with psychiatric disabilities discover their rights to emotional support animals in no-pets housing without pet deposits or pet fees and their rights to service dogs

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I enjoyed your story, I am hoping to get a golden puppy from Connie to be my self trained service dog(diabetic alert) and partner! I have to retire my service dog, so this will be my first time self training( from the beginning), but I know it will be a fun and rewarding experience! Thank you for a great story!