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In Ottawa, Dee-o-Gee is a service dog for Alex Allarie, helping him cope with his anxiety and claustrophobia. "He has helped me a lot. I've alleviated quite a few of my symptoms by having him around." He and Dee-o-Gee are together around the clock, seven days a week.

But out in the world there are people who believe the only kind of service dog that is respectable has to be big, and leading the blind. There are also cretins on this planet convinced that things like anxiety and depression aren't real handicaps hence require no actual assistance.

Keith and Leslie Rouble decided that because Mr. Allarie "only bought small amounts of salt and pepper" from their bulk store, then The Granary Bulk and Natural Food Store didn't want his business or his damned dog. Bare in mind no allegation had ever been made that the dog was inappropriate or badly trained or pissing on the floor or biting people; the main complaint was of Allarie not spending enough money to justify putting up with him at all.

Mr. Allarie showed the owners a letter from his doctor and a copy of the law that prohibited them from banning him and his dog from their store, but they didn't care. When next Allarie entered the store, he made sure Dee-o-Gee was wearing his Service Dog uniform. But for the Roubles the gauntlet was down, and they had no more chance of being reasonable than the sun has of setting in the east.

This time the owners of The Granary, now no longer admitting it was all because Allarie was a small-potatoes customer, began pretending they were "afraid" of Allerie and his seven pound service dog. Even with a sad wee muzzle to insure Dee O Gee's teency teeth wouldn't rip into someone's socks, the Roubles were just too frightened of the imaginary viciousness they were sure was at any moment going to burst forth from thhe dog or the old fardle or boooth. This pretense of unreasoning terror was to justify their persisting desire to have the hated pair out of their store.

When a complaint was made through Ottawa's Human Rights Commission, the shopowners remained intransigent, and decided to fight it out in any way they could muster, believing as they do that they should have the right to pick and choose which kind of service dogs for which kind of medical conditions qualify in their small minds.

Rather than cave in to the law, the Roubles denied Alex Allarie his rights from 2006 until 2009. Ultimately they sold The Granary, they claim, so as to never have to deal with Allarie and Dee-o-Gee and the pernicious Human Rights Commission ever again.

These two people stink to high heaven. I can still smell them all the way to Washington state. They could've done the right thing from day one and never gotten themselves stressed about it. Nothing in the Dee-o-Gee's behavior ever justified fighting against the legality of the critter's service-dog status.

Even with their deep prejudices, they could easily have behaved like closet racists do, and griped among themselves. An old man and his little dog in the store once a week for salt and pepper wouldn't've killed them. Whatever angst and ulcers they ended up with wasn't half punishment enough for dirtbags of unebbing meanness.

Dee O Gee

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